Batman Eternal #29. Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV- Story, Ray Fawkes- Script, Kyle Higgins & Tim Seeley- Consulting Writers, Simon Coleby- Art, Romulo Fajardo, Jr.- Colors.
We have another change of venue and character focus in issue 29 of Batman Eternal. The creative team takes us to the mystical side of the story and gives Batman only a few panels in this chapter of the sprawling epic. While it doesn’t look all that good for Alfred, we get to see what’s happened to him. He’s in Arkham Asylum where much of the action in this issue takes place. The Joker’s Daughter gets some bogus orders from ‘her father,’ and she takes it out on the impersonator.
The main developments in this issue involve Jim Corrigan, Deacon Blackfire and Batwing. Batwing is attempting to get into Arkham to prevent Blackfire from coming back to life. On the way in he sends a code he found in the Riddler’s cell to Julia who’s still on duty in the Batcave. While Batman prevents police from killing amok citizens, he figures out the key to breaking the code and they get a clue. Meanwhile, Blackfire is taunting Corrigan who is about to release The Spectre- just as all Hell breaks loose- literally.
Big change in tone this issue from the street level action that has been playing out in recent issues. Batman finally puts it together that everything is connected- Arkham, the riots and Hush’s attacks on the Bat-family. However, he questions how Hush has gotten involved with Blackfire, and right so. The mystery deepens a bit, maybe it’s misdirection, or maybe it’s not, but the issue does beg the question- “Is there someone besides Hush behind it all?”
The art is certainly a step up. The colors continue to be well done by Fajardo, Jr. His use of green in the scenes with Corrigan are especially effective in foreshadowing the Spectre’s eventual appearance. Coleby does a nice job on the layout and drafting of figures, a definite improvement from some of the other issues.
With a story of this scope and sheer number of characters, it can be difficult to keep up. This jump in setting and tone could be a turn-off. It is well executed, but it seems that as soon as one gets used to one style and set of motifs, we are shuttled to a new frame of reference. Perhaps mixing some of the sequences in the issues would bring a little more cohesiveness to the parts of the story.
Plot advances to keep the ball rolling, but mixing of genres may make Batman Eternal a tough nut to crack for some. If you’ve made it this far no sense in stopping now. The emergence of the Spectre is much anticipated, and teasing him is the way to bring the reader back for the next issue. 3 1/2 Daily Planets.