Sunday, January 11, 2015

Batman: Eternal #40 Review

Written by: Ray Fawkes
Art by: Davide Furno and Paolo Armitano
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 7, 2015

Lock, Stock and about a Thousand Smoking Barrels

Last week's Eternal ended with Batman and the Riddler caught in an avalanche, a slew of Gotham's Most Wanted (and even some Least Respected) getting some hands on time with Batman's best gadgets and weapons and Vicki Vale staring down the barrel of a gun.  I enjoyed the issue as a fun little diversion and thought that Ray Fawkes nailed the Riddler as an outsider pissed off at Batman's fall from grace and inability to figure things out.  This week continues with more of the same, which is a good and a bad thing depending on how you look at it.  

The issue opens on Miller Mountain and you are not going to believe this...Batman survived!  He's a bit worse for wear, but he is vengeance, he is the night, he is...still stuck on a mountain side. Luckily he still has some gadgets and one of the sweetest rides in Gotham.  He gathers up Nygma and off they go.  I mentioned earlier that I enjoyed the Riddler in last week's issue, but that isn't the case this week.  If I'm correct, he triggered the avalanche and yet he seems upset at Batman.  He comes off like a whiny jerk.

Meanwhile, the Gotham Villains are still laughing about their good fortune, but they take time out to insult each other as well.  It's nice to see that the Cluemaster is a joke to everyone, not just us readers.  While this is going on, Catwoman shows she's the only one with vision and offers them all an opportunity they obviously can refuse.  In fact, her offer (and maybe herself) get blown to bits thanks to a missile shot from Firefly.  All this is good fun, but the best parts for me were watching Clayface slowly transform into Batman during all this and Joker's Daughter.  Yes, I hate Joker's Daughter with a passion, but while all this is going on, she is just carrying bombs around while mugging at the camera.  When the scene ends, we see the results of her narrow minded plan. Hilarious.  

Then we get to Vicki Vale.  I'll admit it, I really didn't care if she lived or died. She has been used more as a narrator or a forced plot developer than being a fleshed out character of her own.  That continues this week.  She shows she's one tough cookie, but then makes a grand statement about Gotham and it's problems.  Again, it all seems unnatural.

Speaking of unnatural (segue people), we finally get some more Jim Corrigan action.  You can tell it's been a while since he has to announce himself by name.  I don't want to think of the Shawshank escape he had to pull off to get free, but I'm glad he's back. The issue ends with yet another forgotten plot point seemingly coming back to haunt everyone.

I like this issue for the fun ride it was.  Seeing Batman's Rogues Gallery with his gadgets is a sure hit and I loved how Fawkes portrays Catwoman.  While we finally get to see the events leading up to Batman #28, this issue still felt more like filler.  I didn't liek the Vicki Vale stuff and the Batman/Riddler feels like it's come to a sudden deadend.

I really liked the art of Davide Furno and Paolo Armitano with one huge exception...Scarecrow.  It looks like they couldn't decide between Blackhand and Dr. Crane so they just combined them into one.  It wouldn't have been that bad, but he has some pretty cool moments and lines.

Bits and Pieces:

This issue continues the up and down nature that this book has suffered from since it started.  Ray Fawkes gives us a fun issue that just felt like setup at best.  With twelve issues left, this book better buckle down and finish strong.  I really liked the art team of Davide Furno and Paolo Armitano as long as they promise never to draw Scarecrow again.  Overall, this was yet another forgettable issue.


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