Plotwise, Batman Eternal has been on a roll lately. The leg room allowed by having less hanging plotlines has done the this book a great deal of good. Now, with one major threat clearly at the heart of all other conflicts in the book, the pacing has been feeling much cleaner and less rushed. But can Eternal’s luck hold?
James Tynion IV takes the baton this week as Gotham descends further into chaos brought on by Batman’s old nemesis/childhood friend, Hush. The story focuses mainly on the fractured Bat-family coming together again when they realize their respective cases are all connected and that Batman can’t and shouldn’t have to face it alone. Meanwhile, Batman figures out how deep the conspiracy runs and realizes he’s been had. The family element of the this is probably the most interesting material this week. Red Hood and Red Robin having an exchange about woman problems ended up being hilarious and well characterized. If anyone else wrote this, it would come across as blatant filler in the vein of Naruto (the king of filler), but Tynion’s voice is highly engaging. The real weak link this week is the visual component. Put simply, the artwork is complete ass. R.M. Guera’s concepts are well-intentioned and poorly executed.
There are three completely different characters in this book that look like they all have the same haircut. Way too many panels look lazily drawn and unfinished. And some of the poses during action beats look reminiscent of the old Adult Swim series, Home Movies. I almost read all of Red Hood’s lines in H. Jon Benjamin’s voice. Hopefully, next week sees pencil duties change hands again. Or, if they’re going to keep Guera on, DC could give out coupons to redeem for airplane bottles of Wild Turkey. Either would be appropriate.
Bottom Line: A serviceable story was gravely injured by visually offensive pencil work. R.M. Guera should be punished by having to sit through reruns of Smallville. 5.5 out of 10.