Batman Eternal #50. Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV- Story, James Tynion IV- Script, Ray Fawkes, Kyle Higgins & Tim Seeley- Consulting Writers, Alvaro Martinez- Pencils, Raul Fernandez- inks, June Chung- Colors.
It’s not often we see Batman being outsmarted and feeling lost, but this is where he is in the final act of this epic. He finally loses his cool and lets loose, and only by listening does he finally get the message that takes him to the rendezvous with the big bad behind the conspiracy in Batman Eternal. Remember, it wasn’t the Joker, Ra’s al Ghul or any other big name Bat-villain.
This issue flows nicely from the last without a drawn out obligatory fight between Bane and Batman. We are mercifully allowed to jump right in and start moving with Batman as he checks in on each of his associates. Meanwhile, the GCPD shows up at Blackgate Penitentiary to find Jim Gordon sitting comfortably in a cell on a bed awaiting their arrival. As these two storylines play out, there’s more trouble brewing- now the city’s on fire courtesy of Firefly- he whole city. In the cave, Julia gets a message, or rather a signal that will lead Batman to a meeting with the mystery villain. She gets him to stop raging and breaking things long enough to give him the message. It’s an image of the Bat-Signal.
Batman makes his way to the signal, only to see his adversary still hiding in the shadows. He toys with him verbally, a bit and finally as he reveals himself, he chastises Batman for not following the clues….
Quick pace with no extemporaneous action or verbiage. Batman showing his concern for his associates is appreciated as is his vulnerability. This is a far cry from the nearly perfect version of the character that has appeared at times. He’s clearly human, capable of making errors or missing things entirely. The sense that it’s almost over is a welcome one.
The Penguin and Killer Croc escape Blackgate and it’s not clear if that’s the end of his part in this, but it certainly could be.
Batman Eternal has run almost a year and Batman has been put through nearly everything. Trying to find out how it was all orchestrated seems like a story for another series. As this title concludes it seems hard to imagine explaining it all in the short time left. Amazingly, this book was accessible to a new reader. Despite being at the end of a year run, anyone could pick this up and appreciate the character moments even if the reveal at the end was not anticipated for the past 50 weeks.