In BATMAN ETERNAL #19, Jason Bard and Batman are forced to help Killer Croc when his followers are attacked by demonic monsters from The Black Maze! This issue was another solid outing by Snyder and co. for BATMAN ETERNAL. This issue was executed brilliantly! This has been the issue I’ve been waiting for a while. When reading this, you can tell that everything fell into place for Snyder and co., except for the artwork. Tim Seeley does another fantastic job with the script and the writing as a whole was great, minus some spelling and grammar errors. The artwork was not good in this issue, in my opinion. The fight sequence between Red Hood and Batgirl was the highlight of the though, this was to be expected because they’re on the cover. Also the scene with Gordon beating up those inmates was brutal! I’ll get more in detail with BATMAN ETERNAL #19 with the Positives and Negatives.
Let’s jump right into the biggest positive, Batgirl and Red Hood duking it out! Every scene they had was simply awesome. You didn’t just have a fight scene, you have a fight scene that had great dialogue between these two. Red Hood steady trying to get through to Batgirl, while still throwing in his little quips here and there, had me not only laughing but touched by his words. Batgirl, who is currently hypnotized, thinking she sees Joker and her villainous brother James Jr., just kicking Red Hood’s backside. You can tell that with every punch and kick she threw, it had anger and ferocity because she really is hurting from seeing the Joker and you feel for her even though you know she’s hypnotized.
The final scene of their fight where she snaps out of the trance because he helps her remember the time they first met, was so good! His mask all broken from her punches and Red Hood is in no better shape, such a great fight. I can go all day talking about this fight. Good job by Seeley for help writing such a great fight that was more poetic and heartfelt than expected.
Speaking on the writing, the reason why I love this issue, and BATMAN ETERNAL in general, is because you come across some comics whose artwork is what makes it good and carries without any substance to help support. That’s not BATMAN ETERNAL, because it prides itself on its writing, I never have a big problem with the writing because it is always good. In this issue, the writing is great, every piece of character interaction and dialogue is delivered with such gravitas, it feels like a mini movie.
For example, not only the Batgirl and Red Hood fight, but the scenes with Jim Gordon was so well written that you can’t help be hooked. My favorite scene where the writing was so good was probably overlooked by most readers. It’s the scene where the warden of Blackgate was explaining the situation to Gordon, and the inmate Row, who is the resident “rat” at Blackgate says “Everyone always trying to kill the messenger”, I laughed out loud because it was one of those jokes that just slides under the radar and only one person catches it.
To sum up, the writing was super hot in this issue, some of the best this series has had so far. The last positive I wanted to point out was the fact that every character and every scene flowed so well together. My main issue that I always had with BATMAN ETERNAL was that random characters would be placed in certain issues and it did not flow with the overall events happening in the issue. In this issue we went to four different settings, Brazil, Blackgate, Gotham sewers, and Japan. Five different events were happening, Batgirl and Red Hood, Batman, Killer Croc and Jason Bard teaming up, Red Robin talking about mentoring Harper Row, etc. All of these things happening, and neither of them felt like throwaways or forced in. They finally fixed this issue and that makes me enjoy this issue even more.
I did not like the artwork done by Emanuel Simeoni in this issue. I felt that the effort to make the characters look more realistic failed because he went overboard with the details and it just did not come out the way it should have. Even the cover just didn’t look right. Usually the cover would be good, even if the artwork on the inside was off, but, both the cover and the inside artwork was too much. The crazy thing is, the cover was done by Alex Garner, a completely different artist. For others, the artwork may seem really cool; however, for me it missed its mark.
BATMAN ETERNAL #19 was a great issue. It was well paced, very well written, and it had enough action scenes to keep a reader engaged. The artwork faltered, but, the writing makes up for this. We see a lot of character development and plot points begin to move. Plot points such as Red Robin training harper Row, Jim Gordon being innocent yet pretty much stuck in Blackgate, etc. will have you getting too excited for what’s to come. Highly recommend.