Friday, February 13, 2015

Batman: Eternal #45 Review

Written by: Ray Fawkes
Art by: Javi Fernandez
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: February 11, 2015

Time to Change

I was not a fan of last week's issue of Batman: Eternal.  Just when I thought I had a grip on the nature of this weekly, Ray Fawkes and ACO jumped on board and threw me for a loop.  It was so different from the previous week in look and tone that it almost felt like I picked up the wrong book at the comic shop.  There was also the problem that with the series coming to a close soon, the issue felt like too much setup.  With another week to settle in, Ray Fawkes does a little better, but was it enough to energize the book for the stretch run?  Let's find out, kiddies.

This week's issue opens with Batman where we left him, on the runway of the Gotham International Airport fighting Milo and...ghosts?!?  I paused there because the jump from last week's cliffhanger to this issue felt like we missed something really important.  The change in artists didn't help, but when the ghosts of Bruce's parents I was confused about what was going on.  I was still wondering what was happening when we find out it's Mister Bygone's doing and then Batman knocks him out cold. This was a very odd opening indeed. The rest doesn't get much better.

You know who I love?  Batwing, that's who.  I always hope for some Luke Fox when Ray Fawkes is writing Eternal and thankfully, we get more than we did last week.  He's still busy punching ghosts and that got a chuckle out of his buddy Jim Corrigan and a certain comic reviewer.  I like these two together, even if the dialogue felt a little forced and hokey.  While there presence here felt a little like a square peg in a round hole, I hope we get more.

Back to Batman, he's grabbed Milo and is taking him to talk to Jim Corrigan.  At least I think it's Milo.  In a crazy example of confusing art, he looks so different I wasn't sure if it was him or Mister Bygone (or someone else) with Batman.  When they arrive at their destination, he looks different again.  What gives?!?  While Corrigan questions him, Batwing and Batman have a heart-to-heart that was nice enough...and then Corrigan knocks Milo out.  There were so many one punch knockouts going on, I was looking over my shoulder for Guy Gardner.

We then join up with Harper Row and Stephanie Brown.  I love Harper and it looked like her and Stephanie were going to make a cool 80's movie high school drama team up a couple of issues ago, but Fawkes tore them apart last issue and they continue arguing.  The subject is Bruce Wayne's involvement in Gotham's troubles and while Harper still doesn't buy it, the scene ends with hope for the team up yet.

The issue ends with Batman finally doing his homework and figuring out who has been pulling the strings all along.  I say that with a grain of salt because I have written a variation of that sentence a bunch of times over the course of this series.  With seven issues left, I think this may be the Big Bad. I don't like it.  I don't like it at all.

I also didn't like the art too much this week.  I've said it a couple of times already, but Javi Fernandez's art was often confusing and just not that good in general.

Bits and Pieces:

This was another disappointing issue of Batman: Eternal.  Ray Fawkes doesn't do much to push the story forward until the "shocking" cliffhanger that felt like a too little, too late situation in this issue and the series in general.  Javi Fernandez's confusing art was just the cherry on the mediocre sundae. I hope things get better rally quickly or a year's work may just go down the drain.


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