Batman: Eternal #1 did a fine job kicking off the latest series starring the Dark Knight and Gotham City’s cast of colorful characters. Scott Snyder and James Tynion, with help from Ray Fawkes, John Layman and Tim Seeley as consulting writers, established a Batman story that we can be quickly invested in. Not only that but they also established a reason for the Batman Family to be part of this story with the actions committed by Commissioner Jim Gordon. Now see if Batman: Eternal #2 can continue the momentum the first issue created.
Story Writers: Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV
Consulting Writers: Ray Fawkes, John Layman, and Tim Seeley
Artist: Jason Fabok
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Review: After establishing what Batman: Eternal will be about Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV take their foot off the accelerator in order to slow down the story with Batman: Eternal #2. With the story slowing down we got to see Batman, Commissioner Gordon, the GCPD and Batman Family react to what just happened. This helped get us into the heads of a few key players of the story ahead of us. At the same time, this issue highlighted one of the biggest problems facing Batman: Eternal as a whole.
Batman: Eternal #2 does not shy away from this being an issue that covers the aftermath of Commissioner Gordon causing the disaster in Gotham City’s underground subway system. From the start of this issue, Snyder and Tynion establish Commissioner Gordon allies and adversaries in the GCPD. It’s a different way to give us a look into the politics that exist in the GCPD, which we haven’t see much of since Gotham Central.
It also helped to highlight how this may be the low point in Commissioner Gordon’s career. His entire demeanor in this issue is that of someone who has been defeated completely. And Commissioner Gordon’s attitude put Batman in a unique position where he had to give hope to someone. We are used to seeing how driven Batman is with his cases but when it comes to personal cases, such as what happened to Commissioner Gordon, Batman is on a completely different level with how far he goes. We saw that with how he believes someone other than Professor Pyg is responsible and how he interacted with Catwoman. And seeing how all this ties back into the reappearance of Carmine Falcone and Deacon Blackfire what happened to Commissioner Gordon will be interesting to find out
Unfortunately with all the intriguing aspects of Batman: Eternal #2 there was one key weakness in the story presented. While I’m fine with Commissioner Gordon acting as the lightning rod for this story I am not interested in seeing another Batman and Commissioner Gordon focused story. We are already getting enough of that in other titles, such as Snyder’s current Zero Year storyline in Batman. As one of the writers of the story I expect Snyder to make it so that Batman: Eternal stands out from his other work, but so far it doesn’t feel that way.
The other worrying aspect of Batman: Eternal lies in the fact that there is such a large cast of characters involved in this story, which will only grow as Stephanie Brown is about to be introduced. Even when Snyder and Tynion had the opportunity to bring in other characters into the story they relegate them into being nothing more than side characters. When you have something big happen to Commissioner Gordon I would think that we would see Barbara Gordon involved more in this issue. But that isn’t the case as Barbara is only given two small panels to react to recent events. As things progress Snyder, Tynion and the other writers involved will have to find a better way to integrate the Batman Family into the story.
On the upside, Jason Fabok once again stood out as the star of this issue. His artwork was the key to getting over the state of mind every character in this issue was in. Without the great facial reactions, Fabian and colorist Brad Anderson gave the story wouldn’t be as effective as it was with character emotions. Of particular note, I enjoyed how Fabok gave Batman such a stoic composure during his conversation with Commissioner Gordon. It made Commissioner Gordon’s comments on how Batman was acting in front of him after the events that just happen feel real.
Overall: Batman: Eternal #2 is an enjoyable issue that continues the plot threads created in the first issue. It also introduced us to a number of new players and get hints at the sides certain characters will be taking during the course of this weekly comic. But as the story progresses, I am worried about Snyder and company trying to use too many characters for this story. We can already see how big the cast is going to be and it will only grow. This issue definitely made me see how problematic things could get with characters getting enough screen time to adequately involve them in the story. If this isn’t corrected quickly Batman: Eternal will be in danger of becoming turning into yet another Batman and Commissioner Gordon story, of which we are already getting in Snyder’s Zero Year storyline. Hopefully, that is not the case as we move forward with this weekly comic.