Effect vs Affect
Written by: Genevieve Valentine
Art by: Christian Duce, Gabe Eltaeb and Saida Temofonte
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: March 9, 2016
Well, what can I say that hasn't already been said in my other twenty two introductions to this weekly series. I guess I could give you a full recap, crack a couple jokes or commiserate with you fellow Eternal readers about the long, strange trip it's been. I'm not going to do any of those and instead I will try to rally the troops for what is this book's stretch run. This series hasn't been all bad...we've learned a lot more about Harper Row, got Cassandra Cain back in the DCU and should leave this behind with Dick Grayson's identity restored and ready for some Nightwing action. That's pretty cool, right? Come on, I'm trying to stay positive and all you guys are just sitting there, staring at your screens, looking all pissed off. Turn that from upside down people and let's jump into this week's issue of Eternal. It can't be that bad, Midnighter is on the cover. Midnighter, guys...Midnighter.
The issue starts off with something that I think the last twenty or so issues has neglected and that is Harper checking in with her brother, Cullen. Genevieve Valentine does her best to fool us into thinking Harper had always tried to stay in touch, but we all know better. While this is going on, we get to see that Mother's signal is working it's magic all over the world.
This is the first bit that confused me. Does the satellite affect certain cities, or the entire world? Last issue, the Robins made it seem like it would be a city-by-city thing and the beginning of this issue suggests that as well. However, when Tim Drake doors into the apartment to get Stephanie Brown and Cullen, he says "Because of a radio signal, every child in the world has been ordered to kill their parents and join the New Order..." Isn't that special? Why isn't it affecting Cullen, Stephanie and Tim? Later, it isn't affecting Damian either and I'm yelling BULLSHIT at the top of my lungs right now!!! I was really close to just giving up and not reading or reviewing this book anymore...but, I am going to finish what I started. It's still bullshit, though.
Tim sends Stephanie off to watch over Scarecrow and takes Cullen with him to...Midnighter's apartment. I'll tell you that Midnighter is the best character in this issue, but really, the only reason he is in this series at this juncture is to provide a means for the characters to get wherever they want to (or damn close to it) at a moment's notice. Yes, it is very forced.
We see that the Robins have been busy recruiting an army that includes some pretty cool characters, including Batwoman, who are going to help fight Mother's children. That's when it seems like the signal is again only affecting certain cities, but with all the made up scientific mumbo jumbo being thrown at the reader, I'm not even sure anymore.
We then head off to see Stephanie and Scarecrow and again, it's such a forced scene. It's also a waste of a couple pages as Scarecrow tries to mess with Steph's mind and nobody is fooled in the slightest. That's when Jason doors in and grabs Crane. This part of the issue makes complete sense, yet it still conflicts with what we've already seen. Jason tells Crane that with his help, they will make enough trauma toxin to disrupt Mother's signal, but Crane doesn't want to help. Jason does threaten him about Mother finding him, but what about when Crane went on and on with Batman earlier in the series about wanting to stop the signal because he couldn't stand to live in a world without fear? That's when this whole toxin thing started in the first place, but I guess Crane forgot. Jason even brings it up, but needs to push Crane a bit more to get him to agree.
We then see everyone on Team Robin suit up and head off to combat the kids. Remember when I yelled BULLSHIT up above? I'm doing it again because we see Duke Thomas, Tim and Damian head right into the fray...without being affected by the signal in the least. I'm sorry to bring it up again, but this is just ridiculous! The issue ends with the battle in full effect and Dick Grayson taking the fight to Mother's doorstep.
After all the inconsistencies that this book has thrown at us each week, you'd think I'd be immune to it all, but that's not the case. I'd love to say that this is the last straw, but I think I ran out of straws a month ago. The book hinges on a couple big ideas and one of them is who gets affected by Mother's signal. This issue punches that idea in the gut, throws it on the ground, kicks it in the stomach and then spits on it. This is not a nitpick...this is unforgivable! Add to that a bunch of forced in scenes and characters and an issue that doesn't push the story forward at all and you get a recipe for a really shitty cake or pie...or cookies. Whatever the hell it is, it's shitty!
I did like the art this week and have to tell you that Christian Duce saved this issue from being a complete disaster. While the issue tries to fool you into thinking there is some big action going on, his character models are really good and are the highlight. Maybe the only highlight.
Bits and Pieces:
I have gotten used to the disappointment that this book brings almost every single week, but this issue is just too much. It's as if all the writers have been leading us on so they can laugh at us when it's all over. I don't know about you, but I don't like getting laughed at.