Yes, I know. After doubting the merits of Batman: Eternal as a weekly investment last week, here I am writing about the second issue. But as an ongoing weekly series, Batman: Eternal deserves the same fair shake I would give to a new weekly episodic TV series—so about a month worth of viewing—and I will decide at that time whether or not to stay on board. That said, Batman: Eternal #2 is a more thrilling issue than its predecessor, offering up the kind of breakneck pace that I first suspected this series to have and found lacking in the first issue. Dozens of characters are pulled into the mix and while this menagerie of new faces can be a little hard to follow at times, the extra ingredients in this story really thicken the plot in the right kind of way. Whereas I was indifferent toward the series following the first issue, Batman: Eternal #3 now can’t come soon enough.
Jim Gordon and Batman are largely the focal point of this second issue much like they were in the first, though the dichotomy of their relationship has greatly changed with Gordon being on the wrong side of the law and the vigilant Batman looking for the individual truly responsible for besmirching his friend’s good name. Pulling in various members of the Bat-family (as well as Catwoman) to assist Batman with his cause helps to define the importance of what has to be done, and I have to give credit to writers Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV for resisting the urge to make any kind of mention Nightwing during the proceedings. His fate from the end of the ongoing Forever Evil event has already been spoiled elsewhere, but at least one book is considerate enough to let it still be a secret. One glaring omission in this issue though is Jason Bard, who was introduced at the start of last issue as our gateway character into this new series but has no presence in this second issue whatsoever. Instead, Snyder and Tynion IV introduce a cavalcade of new characters as their story jumps around from various locations, from the Gotham Gazette to Arkham Asylum to the Mayor’s Office, creating a series of cliff-hangers on virtually every page.
It is imperative for these new characters to be well defined in the series moving forward because most of the plain-clothes personalities that we meet within this issue are virtually identical in their presentation. That’s not necessarily a fault of artist Jason Fabok, who does the best he can with the script, but I can’t imagine I’ll be able to remember what the editor of the Gotham Gazette looks like next time I see him show up in Batman: Eternal unless he has a much more prominent personality. Fabok’s art is still stellar, I just hope he is able to draw larger personalities in the future. His work on the two new villains introduced in this issue is quite good and should add some much needed pizzazz among a sea of more common looking civilians.
GNN Rating for Batman: Eternal #2: [usr 4]
Batman: Eternal #2 is a better issue than the first, which can mean either great news for someone looking to stick with this series on a weekly basis or bad news for someone like me that was trying to avoid spending an exorbitant amount of cash. I’m giving Batman: Eternal the benefit of the doubt right now though it’s still much too early to tell if this is going to be a must-read series week in and week out.