Home > Comics, Reviews > Comic Review: Batman Eternal #2 is a few brushstrokes in a larger painting

Comic Review: Batman Eternal #2 is a few brushstrokes in a larger painting

Batman Eternal #2 cover New 52 Jason Fabok

There’s no doubt about it: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV and their Bat-team of writers are playing the long game with Batman Eternal.

And that’s what issue #2 is all about: the long game. Issue #1 gave us an inciting incident – James Gordon hypnotized and framed for a train crash – while issue #2 places all the chess pieces on the board for the grand story Snyder and company have planned.

Those chess pieces include the entire Bat-family, from core players like Red Robin and Batgirl to peripherary figures like Batwoman and Harper Row. And as they all react to Jim Gordon being thrown in jail, the enemies start to reveal themselves, too.

And there are a lot of them. At the top is Carmine ‘The Roman’ Falcone, the New 52 iteration of Gotham’s claw-scarred, rose-loving mobster, and the man who is pulling the strings on the city’s mayor.

On the edges come the secondary characters – Deacon Blackfire (maybe?), a mysterious hypnotist, and the small-time thug who Gordon shot at. They all appear in fleeting, seemingly unconnected moments, and while they’ll surely tie together in the future, this story is still very much in its infancy right now.

More than anything, you can feel the planning at work in Batman Eternal #2. There’s a whole lot of setup and not a lot of payoff or time for Batman himself.

But for the mostpart, Batman isn’t all that important in this chapter. It’s the pieces lining up against him that we’re supposed to take note of.

Artist Jason Fabok gets the most benefit from the spread out narrative, as it gives him a chance to draw plenty of diverse scenes. He’s no stranger to the Batman world (he worked with John Layman on Detective Comics, after all) and that’s obvious in the grit he brings to every panel. His scene with the Roman is particularly nice – plenty of shadow and roses – until he reveals Carmine wearing a rose T-shirt under his jacket.

As with the rest of this comic, there’s enough to love and a few things to get annoyed with in Fabok’s work.

It’s a lucky thing this series ships weekly, because at the slow pace of the narrative, DC would probably lose readers with month-long gaps in between.

As it is, I’m certainly willing to stick with the story. The writing itself is solid and doesn’t get bogged down in cliches. It’s evident Snyder has this whole thing already written and sitting on his shelf, and he’s merely doling it out slowly because he has the space to do it.

So hang in there for these setup pieces, or wait until this is a trade paperback.

Batman Eternal #2 is a few brushstrokes in a much bigger painting.

7 out of 10

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