Batman Eternal #30. Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV- Story, Ray Fawkes- Script, Kyle Higgins & Tim Seeley- Consulting Writers, Fernando Pasarin- Pencils, Matt Ryan- Inks, Blond- Colors.
If last week’s Batman Eternal barely featured Batman then this week’s issue is deservedly Batman-centric. It is also an incredibly quick read. It picks up immediately from last week’s final panel- the unleashing of Hell under Arkham Asylum. Batman arrives at Arkham just in time to see it collapse. What transpires beneath his feet are some classic Spectre action. We get the payoff from last issue’s foreshadowing and get an angry, powerful Grim Ghost dishing it out on Deacon Blackfire.
Despite the panel time Batman receives, the Spectre and Batwing get most of the action. Batman is relegated to a bystander as he directs Julia’s moves in the cave. After dispatching Blackfire, the Spectre returns to Corrigan and is shuttled away by Batwing. However, the collapse of everything traps Batwing. Joker’s Daughter is led away by a mysterious figure only to end up face to face with Batman as he descends into the rubble to look for survivors.
This quick issue is action oriented and it broke up the pace of the overall story with a smaller cast and fewer places of action. As usual, there is the set-up for the following issue. One can only imagine the trouble Batman will have with Joker’s Daughter as his main concern will be trying to find survivors amid the destruction. The Spectre was particularly impressive both in action as well as presentation by the creative team. Nothing quite equals the depiction of the Spectre in giant-size meting out his punishments. The change of pace of the issue was welcomed.
On the other hand, not a lot happened in this issue. The Spectre fulfilled his role, but one can only hope that he will not be completely absent for the remainder of the story. Although, much like the destruction of Arkham leads into the new series- Arkham Manor, it’s possible his introduction is supposed to launch the reader towards the forthcoming Gotham by Midnight which will feature Corrigan and the Spectre.
The highlight was easily the Spectre and the destruction of Arkham the most troubling aspect. It seems this will lead to some overplayed Bat-tropes- Arkham escapees, Gotham (or parts) reduced to rubble. I think only time will tell how well this part fits into the overall story. As a single issue it was one of the best of this series. The smaller cast and tighter action really made this a great single issue read that didn’t rely on knowledge of the overall story.