Thursday, May 1, 2014

Batman Eternal #4 Review

Written by: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV and John Layman
Art by: Dustin Nguyen
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: April 30, 2014

Dead Meat Walking

Batman Eternal has been speeding along a breakneck speed since it left the station.  Seriously, it hasn't come across as a weekly book lasting over a year, but more like a book rushing to finish ahead of the pack. Everyone knew that Snyder and company couldn't keep this pace up, but many wondered how good the book would be when it had to slow down a bit.  Well, this week's issue shows what kind of book Eternal can be when it slows things down and gives us less explosions and more character study.  Surprise, it's still a pretty good book.

The star of this issue is Batgirl.  We get to see her reaction to her Father's arrest and it's not pretty. She is pissed off and looking for blood and doesn't care whose it is.  , not even a Dark Knight's.  Like a loving daughter, she will stop at nothing to clear her Father and uses her strength and intellegence to try to do just that.  However, she may be taking it too far.  The book started as more GCPD, but this issue may signal a move toward more Bat Family moments.  I would not mind that one bit.

Meanwhile, her Father is having a few reunions at Blackgate Prison.  Being Commissioner (and more importantly, an ally of Batman) has made James Gordon a hated man.  What Eternal has shown us so far are these enemies aren't all super villains, but include a handful of "regular" people who have had their toes stepped on by Gordon as well.  Of course, the villains hate him too and in Blackgate there are plenty of them.  Gordon always keeps a hard facade, but he is in for a world of hurt if he isn't cleared soon.

Of course, the book is "Batman" Eternal and we get a little Batman.  He drops in on Falcone, gets punched in the face and yells at Batgirl.  After 4 issues, this book has not had a lot of Batman moments and has pretty much had him sitting on the sidelines.  Sitting and scowling...he's good at that.

The final piece of the puzzle this week is Stephanie Brown.  After seeing (and running from) some serious shit last week, she tries to get help.  The saying "be careful who you trust" comes to mind.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure Stephanie ever heard that.  So this week we continue our look at the most screwed up family in the DCU.

Overall, I liked what we got this week.  The slower pace lets everyone catch their breath and the smaller character moments show how much the events of the first three issues are impacting certain people.

Dustin Nguyen takes over on art and it's fine on it's own.  It's clean and easy to follow, but it is a jarring difference from Jason Fabok's dark and gritty style.  Maybe it's the fact that it's only been a week, but some characters look very different and the change is very noticeable.  I'm sure by next week I'll be used to Nguyen's style and will better appreciate it.  In a weekly book running this long I know artist changes are necessary, but I also know it will throw me off more times than not.

Bits and Pieces:

Snyder, Tynion and company slow things down a bit to show some fallout from the first three issue.  I loved seeing Batgirl kicking butt and seeing James Gordon's situation in Blackgate Prison ups the tension to clear him soon. Dustin Nguyen's art is good, but the differences from last week are a bit jarring.  Overall though, I think this was another good chapter and fans reading the series will not be disappointed.


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