writer: Ray Fawkes / artist: Simon Coleby

Batman Eternal is a surprisingly entertaining, delivering a sort of bird’s eye view of the Bat-family taking on Gotham’s troubles. The two things that have worked against it the most are 1). the ever turning carousel of artists always eventually result in some real misses from time to time and 2). the book started off with a lot of running plotlines at the same time and, as a result, has spent a lot of time tying them off. Granted, it’s usually pretty satisfying but it still takes a lot of panel time away from the main payoff of the book. This time around, we’re going back to a plotline that’s been hanging around since the book first started.

Ray Fawkes takes over scripting duties this week as we revisit poor Batwing and Jim Corrigan being pulled further into darkness while Arkham Asylum goes into full-on Turn Down For What mode. Batwing has his work cut out for him. Not only does he have to find a way to get the word out to Batman that Arkham has been overrun with all things “bump in the night”, but it’s a race against time to find Corrigan before the Spectre can be manipulated for Deacon Blackfire’s sinister ends. Meanwhile, as the city falls under martial law, the cops and dissenting citizens the streets have become a powder keg for rioting and it’s up to Batman to minimize the damage.

Being that there’s really on two major plots to follow here, Fawkes doesn’t have as much on his plate as other writers have previously. The action feels fun and while it’s not quite as fast as it probably should be, it still makes for a good read. Simon Coleby has taken the reigns on pencils and while the colors/effects can be a bit seizure inducing at times, he’s still very effective at creating a wonderfully eerie atmosphere that leaves you entirely convinced that Gotham City is being successfully plunged into the Final Level of Hell.

Bottom Line: Sure, it’s a plot that we’d almost forgotten was happening, but brought back in an fairly exciting manner nonetheless. 8 out of 10.

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