Comic Review – Batman Eternal #52

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he is going to attempt a mini review of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

There will be definite spoilers

This week saw the finales of all three of DC Comics’ weekly series, before the Convergence event starts next week. As I have kept up with two of them since the beginning, I’ve decided to review both of them.

Batman Eternal #52 saw the end of the year-long Batman epic. As with the whole series, the story was plotted out by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV, but Tynion IV wrote the actual scripts, with Ray Fawkes, Kyle Higgins and Tim Seeley on as consulting writers. The art throughout this final issue was shared amongst Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira, Robson Rocha, Guillermo Ortego, David Lafuente, Tim Seeley and Ray Fawkes, with Allen Passalaoua, Gabe Eltaeb, John Kalisz and John Rauch on colours and letters from Steve Wands.

Batman Eternal started back in April 2014, opening with a defeated Batman and a city in flames, while a hidden villain pontificates and gloats about his victory. We finally caught back up to that point two issues ago, with the person pulling the strings being revealed as the mostly forgotten Cluemaster. His plan was to use invitations to all the other rogues of Gotham, convincing them to spread chaos over the city all at the same time as a distraction. Then, with his resources spread thin and mind occupied, Batman was taken down by Cluemaster… until his benefactor Lincoln March/Owlman/Thomas Wayne Jnr. turned up, took out his gang and easily dispatched Cluemaster, facing down an exhausted and battered Bruce. Cue their rematch, set to a backdrop of a newly freed Jim Gordon rallying the city behind Batman to control the riots and the fires, with a few villains even helping to pull people out of burning buildings. On the edge of defeat, Batman’s allies arrive to help, chasing March as he escapes into the sewers. Through the combined efforts of Gotham’s protectors, its people and a few of its more unsavoury characters, the city gradually starts to pull itself back together,

Considering the number of different plot threads that all led up to this final issue, there is more here that ties back to the Court of Owls storyline back in the main Batman title over the events of the last year of Eternal. If anything, it makes this finale more accessible to anyone that hasn’t been keeping up every week, but it does remain a satisfying conclusion. The writing from Tynion IV has been solid all throughout the series, but shines here as the disparate story arcs have already all met and a single narrative is played out almost for the first time.

The art stays at a pretty high quality throughout the book, considering the number of different artists involved. Pansica and Ferreira, along with colourist Passaloua, competently handle the bulk of the issue and all of the action. Their flaming Gotham is a great background for this, and the splash page of the city and all the signals is excellent. Most of the rest of the issue is taken by Rocha and Ortego, with colours from Eltaeb, which focusses more on character work and darker scenes. The facial work is particularly strong in those pages, and the final fate (for now) of March is chilling.

After a year long arc, Batman Eternal manages to wrap up well. Many of the characters that appear in the series already moved past these events months ago, which makes it difficult to place Eternal with regards the continuity, but it has been a good weekly series that I would say overall is worth picking up when it has been collected. Apparently there is going to be a season 2 of Eternal, but for now as a finale, issue #52 hits all the right beats for a satisfying conclusion. Pick it up at your LCS or digitally.

Score: 8 Bat Signals out of 10

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