May 17, 2014
SYNOPSIS: Something hellish is brewing in the tunnels under Arkham Asylum…and Batman’s going to need the help of The Spectre to stop it!
Ray Fawkes delivers his first script for BATMAN ETERNAL with issue #6, and again some new players are added to the game. Something (potentially) supernatural is taking place deep in the bowels of Arkham Asylum. We've seen hints in previous issues, but Fawkes gives us our first real look into it. Not sure yet how this ties into the escalating corruption and violence in Gotham City, but you can bet they are not isolated matters.
The Spectre pays a visit to Bruce Wayne (preceded by Gentleman Ghost on the previous night's patrol – presumably just to introduce the supernatural element to our heroes), and is gravely concerned about the happenings at the asylum. Bruce, acknowledging the situation, regrets that he simply doesn't have the time to investigate it at the moment, since the city is about to be overcome by a gang war--and both its elected officials and law enforcement are simply standing by.
Bruce does, however, offer the assistance of one of his "agents" – and Batwing (AKA Luke Fox, son of Lucius) enters the fold. Now, I've never read an issue of BATWING, so I've gotta give Fawkes props for making this new addition an easy character to follow. Also, I love the new (post-BATMAN INCORPORATED) Batwing suit! It looks like an early prototype of what will become the Batman Beyond suit. Only thing I'm wondering is why isn't Bruce wearing it?! I understand that it deviates too far from the Batman standard that we know and love, but I have a hard time believing Bruce would commission something like this and give it to some newbie. Nothing against Luke, it's just how I feel.
Anyway, The Spectre and Batwing are going to investigate the Arkham situation, and we get a glimpse of some lesser-known Bat-rogues, including Doctor Phosphorus and "Joker's Daughter"; the latter who appears to play a major part in this endeavor.
The review continues after the jump!
BATMAN ETERNAL #6 cover
This issue was certainly a departure from the "crime and conspiracies" theme BATMAN ETERNAL has been dealing out thus far. That's a good thing though--even though I'm not particularly a fan of fantastical things happening in Batman's world, this story needs a variety of themes and threats to stay interesting. And I'm truly curious as to what will tie all of these plot points together, fingers crossed that it's a brilliant revelation I never saw coming!
On the visual end, I love me some Trevor McCarthy! The artist makes his series debut this week, and makes full use of his greatest strength: dynamics. The nighttime and especially Arkham Asylum scenes are drawn rather scratchy and heavily-inked, while the daytime/Bruce Wayne scenes are clear and concise, while maintaining a cinematic lens and fluidity. This is a tactic that made me fall in love with his work on the 2011 GATES OF GOTHAM miniseries, and I'm thrilled to see he's still utilizing it.
Before we wrap it up, let's take a moment to clear up any potential confusion: Jim Corrigan is The Spectre and has no relation to "Jimmy" Corrigan from Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker's brilliantly executed GOTHAM CENTRAL series (a character who was apparently renamed "Dan Corrigan" by Scott Snyder in the pages of "Zero Year" in order to separate the two). Probably not a problem for most ETERNAL readers, but I got a freaking headache trying to figure it all out, so I figured I'd save anyone else the trouble.
All in all, issue #6 delivers a welcome change of tone for this weekly series, and offers readers their furthest glimpse yet from its main (Batman-centric) narrative. - Bobby Barrett