Batman Eternal, the third weekly book from DC, wraps up this week with issue fifty-two. Throughout there have been numerous fake outs as to just who is behind the plan to destroy Batman and Gotham City. It was revealed that Cluemaster was the schemer but a new Wayne family member just showed up. Who you ask? Read on to find out!
BATMAN ETERNAL #52
Writer: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, Kyle Higgins, Tim Seeley
Artist: Eduardo Panisca, Julio Ferreira, Robson Rocha, Guillermo Ortego, David Lafuente, Tim Seeley, Ray Fawkes
Colorist: Allen Passalaqua, Gabe Eltaeb, John Kalisz, John Rauch
Letters: Steve Wands
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Batman Eternal: After two years, Cluemaster figured out how to bring down Batman. Using multiple resources and Batman’s entire rogues gallery, it looks as though he’s won. Tied up and unmasked, Bruce Wayne is at his mercy. Then Bruce’s brother shows up and stabs Cluemaster in the back.
SO, SCOTT SNYDER REALLY IS SMARTER THAN ME
Of the three weeklies, Batman Eternal has been the strongest from the beginning. Even though it lagged for a bit and the numerous fake revelations got tiresome, it really picked up. These last issues have been great and it’s the first time I think I’ve seen Batman beaten down badly. The fact that “D-grade” villain Cluemaster was the mastermind was a fantastic idea, even though I found it a bit obvious. What I didn’t expect was for Scott Snyder to have been planting seeds for Batman Eternal since the Court of Owls.
It’s revealed that Bruce Wayne’s long-lost brother Lincoln March, first mentioned in Court of Owls, has helped Cluemaster. Following the fall of the Court, Lincoln murders many of its members and uses the money to help Cluemaster carry out his plan. But, where Cluemaster wanted the fame of killing Batman, Lincoln just wants to do it for the pleasure. There is some great interaction between Bruce and Lincoln as they fight throughout Gotham and it does look like Batman will be defeated or at the very least, unmasked. The most brilliant part of this final issue is how the day is won. Commissioner Gordon is able to broadcast across Gotham while shining the Bat Symbol on every building and throughout the sky, asking people to band together and be heroes for the city. “Tonight, we all need to do what he does for us every night.” It’s a wonderful line and I was happy to see Batman actually need help to get out of a jam, rather than being the man who has a plan for everything. The epilogue shows the reader where all the characters are following the devastation to Gotham. I was a bit bothered by how good the city looked only a week after being set on fire. Gotham must have quite an impressive clean up crew.
Not everything was explained well. There has been some contention between me and another as to whether Lincoln is in any way related to Owlman of Earth-3. Their costumes are extremely similar but I think it’s just a coincidence with little connection but I would love to be wrong. Scott Snyder already proved he was smarter than me by setting Batman Eternal up much earlier as well as throwing everyone for a loop regarding Cluemaster (I should have caught on a lot sooner than I did). Overall I’m happy with how Eternal ended and was glad that I gave it a read. While I’m not sure it was a story worth $156.48 over the course of a year, I would recommend finding the trades at some point and giving them a read.
FINE WORK FROM THE NUMEROUS ARTISTS
Many times numerous artists on a book is a horrible sign of the quality within *cough* I’m looking at you Futures End *cough* but Batman Eternal #52 bucks that trend. Each and every artist does a fantastic job and even though a few styles are noticeable in the change, it never bothered me. The opening and middle sections are the strongest and layouts, detail and action are all superb. It’s certainly the strongest the book has looked in a while and is what I expect from such a high-profile title. All the coloring feels consistent with what has come before and the oranges used for the fire look really good, making cityscape stand out. There isn’t much to complain about and it’s a great looking comic.
THE BOTTOM LINE: BEST NEW 52 WEEKLY
Batman Eternal #52 concludes the series nicely and I was pleased with its ending. Unlike other titles *cough* I’m looking your way again Futures End *cough* it’s clear Batman Eternal was planned and fleshed out from the beginning. I’m still not sure it needed to be a weekly but the story rarely meandered and I think it will read well in a trade. The artwork is top-notch and looks great considering its schedule. While DC keeps failing to match the success of 52, I’d say Batman Eternal comes in second. Out of the three weeklies wrapping up this week, this is the one to read.