BATMAN ETERNAL #12 Author: Bobby Barrett (Follow @BATBOBBY)
June 28, 2014
SYNOPSIS: Jason Bard makes his big play to end the gang war once and for all. And Jim Gordon’s trial becomes a family affair!
Head writer James Tynion IV takes the reins in the twelfth installment of BATMAN ETERNAL and delivers a remarkably solid read. In its attempt to get the ball rolling and show readers the scope of both the overall plot and the amount of characters involved, this book has sort of veered all over the place, lacking a sense of focus for a handful of issues. However, the past few have been refreshingly tight-knit, and this week continues that trend. Tynion boldly makes use of nearly all of ETERNAL's primary characters, giving each at least one page's worth of scene and tying the various plot threads closer together - not to mention helping the reader to keep track of all of the wheels currently in motion.
As the trial of Jim Gordon commences, we get a little more insight on the history of Carmine Falcone and the powers that be in Gotham City - backstory that is revealed to take place immediately following "Zero Year." Likely these events will be elaborated on further (to what extent is anyone's guess); but it is clear that, true to the Falcone legend Batman readers have come to know so well over the years, an alliance between The Dark Knight, Jim Gordon, and Harvey Dent took place to take down the crime boss. It looks like The Penguin played a significant role as well, being one of The Roman's underlings who was hungry for more power. This explains why Falcone has been targeting Oswald Cobblepot's operations so heavily with his hired hits - it's a power play, but there's definitely some revenge being had as well.
It's great to see Tim Drake (a.k.a. Red Robin) playing a significant role here. Tynion portrays Batman's third sidekick just as those who grew up reading his exploits would hope for, and any tricky New 52 tweaks to the character beyond the superficial (costume) level do not present themselves here. Tim's genius (rivaling even Bruce Wayne's) and technological savvy get some well-deserved attention here, as Harper Row attempts to hack into Red Robin's network and the pair race to out-maneuver the other.
BATMAN ETERNAL #12 cover
This issue's most welcome development comes in the form of Jason Bard and the few decent folks on the G.C.P.D. - namely Maggie Sawyer and Harvey Bullock. Bard shows his true potential as someone who was hand-selected by Jim Gordon by initiating his own plan to take back the streets of Gotham…and not being afraid to get Batman involved. Obviously, we're still a fraction of the way into ETERNAL's overall story, so it's clear that the conflicts are far from over, but it's great to see the heroes of Gotham taking a stand rather than continuously getting beaten down by their situation time and again.
Mikel Janin (JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK) steps into the artist's chair for this one and one would be hard pressed to argue that his characters don't look fantastic. Definitely not getting the illusion of movement from him, however, which takes a slight toll on the overall book (particularly the action scenes). His design work is top-notch though, would not be at all upset to see him come back for more.
Bottom line: BATMAN ETERNAL has spread its wings and appears to be ready to soar forward with what it's established so far. If the team involved can maintain this sense of fluidity throughout the process, this will hopefully prove to be a unique experience in Batman storytelling that takes its own place amongst the character's most famous published works. - Bobby Barrett
Bobby Barrett is a lifelong Batman enthusiast living in Fresno, California, with his wife and several cats.
He enjoys reading, writing, acting, and playing very loud rock music.