Review: Batman Eternal #1 by Scott Snyder, James Tynion, and Jason Fabok

Batman Eternal #1 Spoilers Commisioner James Gordon 1

Batman: Eternal #1

Story and script by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV

Consulting writers Ray Fawkes, John Layman, and Tim Seeley

Art by Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson


The short of it:

At the end, Gotham is in flames, and Bruce is chained to the destroyed Bat signal by a mysterious villain that wants him to watch as his world burns around him. Now, back to the present! Jason Bard has come to Gotham, by way of Detroit, to join the GCPD. Jim Gordon was supposed to meet him at the train station, but Harvey Bullock arrives instead. Jim is…otherwise occupied, trying to save kids from the crazed Professor Pyg who is flying around in a bi-plane and shooting green syringes at everyone, while robot pigs with gattling gun snouts run around. Batman makes the save, in Bat Armor. The two old allies chase down Pyg and his men, Batman goes after Pyg and the majority, Gordon takes off down train tracks after the one who split off.

At the GCPD, Major Forbes tells Bard an old story before finding out that Bard has been assigned Gordon’s old job, and letting him know that this city is a haven for dirty cops if they so choose to be. Maggie Sawyer shows up to let him know that Forbes is a dick that should be ignored, and invites him along on a costume situation. Down in the tunnels, Gordon has the perp cornered, a few people looking on, and the guy won’t drop his gun despite Gordon warning him. He takes the shot, and his bullet goes through the gun and right into a high voltage box. Batman arrives just in time to pull Jim out, right before two trains smash head first into each other. Gordon can’t make sense out of this, the man had a gun, the box he shot should have only controlled the lights. This isn’t right, at all.

Forbes shows up to blame everything on Gordon, because he fired the shot, and Gordon…well, the evidence is certainly stacked against him. Something strange is happening in Gotham.


What I liked:

  • I skipped Dark Knight and Detective Comics when Fabok was doing his work, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect from him for a full issue. Apparently the answer is “what David Finch wishes he could do”. The book looks great, dark and gritty, but never really losing itself to that tone.

  • The return of Capullo’s Bat Armor!

  • Pyg in a bi-plane shooting syringes out of the turret. I loved it.

  • It’s already succeeding at my one rule of weekly comics; don’t short change an issue because there’s another one the next week. This was part one of a story, not a part of part one. I felt justified in spending my money.

  • The End scene that the book opened up with was great, and it was really effective in its job. Now I really want to know how things can go so wrong.


What I didn’t like:

  • Gordon’s in charge of the police, right? He controls hirings and firings? How does a dirty cop like Forbes, who openly hates Gordon, still have a job? Even beyond the not liking Gordon aspect, Jim spent years cleaning up the force, so you’d think a blatantly dirty cop would have been long gone.

  • The situation, for as horrific as it is, is horribly contrived. He fires one bullet at a man he assumes to be armed, misses, hits an electrical box, and then everything goes to hell? Come on, that’s TOO convenient.


Final thoughts:

Alright, just gotta lead with this. Gordon is taking the full blame for the massive death toll due to the train crash, right? How do you blame him for having two trains going at each other at top speed on one track? Is it his fault that one electrical box apparently controls EVERYTHING, and happens to be located a random location? I’d figure out who routed those trains and put them on trial as well. Or who designed the electronics. Really, the whole situation looks like awful design and management, and a cop taking the fall for it.

I keep wanting to type Eli Bard instead of Jason Bard, because I’ve read a combined two arcs featuring both characters over the years, and I think Eli was most recent. He was in X-Force, right? Jason I think I last saw with a cane being quickly forgotten.

My first thought on what happened to Gordon was “Spellbinder”, but this isn’t Batman Beyond. Then again…maybe they can create a modern equivalent?

Wait, no Mad Hatter. That’s his schtick, right?

So this is what’s happening while Zero Year tells us about the past!

It’s a REALLY good time to be a Batman fan. Batman and Batman and Robin were both must read books out of DC, and as of last week Detective Comics had joined the list, and after this issue, I’m putting Batman Eternal on there as well. This was a great first issue, and the sky is the limit.


Overall: 8.5/10

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