Review: Batman Eternal #3 by Scott Snyder, James Tynion, and Jason Fabok

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Batman: Eternal #3

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:

Stephanie Brown (!!!!!) is walking to her dads house to pick up her qPad, while her mom freaks out over the phone, but when the door is locked she has to slip in…and that’s how she finds out her dad is the Cluemaster. He’s having a meeting with some of his…friends, and Steph should not be there. Later, at the GCPD, the cops are discussing how things are bad and it seems they’ll be worse, but Forbes is stoked to be able to go back to being a dirty cop, while Maggie has to be a ballbuster so she can insure she’s next in line for Gordon’s job. Speaking of, Jason Bard goes to see him to be optimistic, but Jim is still accepting of his fate. Down at the Iceberg, Penguin is showing one of his girls just what happens when you cross the boss, when the Bat bursts in and puts him through a table. He wants The Roman, and Cobblepot generally knows everything.

But not this time. Cobblepot takes credit for usurping Falcone’s power and running him out of town, and then nearly craps himself when Bats tells him that The Roman has returned. Forbes finds out too, meeting him at the side of the Mayor and having no issue with it all. Again, dirty cop. He’s going to make things easy for Falcone. Back at the Batcave, Batman is running things again, trying to figure things out and having little luck, but he gets a timely distraction. And then we shuffle off to the house of Arthur Brown, where a bunch of menacing criminals sit around a table in a run down house debating what to do with his daughter, and decide killing her is the option. Arthur goes to put down his own daughter, but through the sheer magic that is Stephanie Brown, she escapes.

And then, as Batman investigates a weapons depot of Cobblepot’s, it all breaks out. Falcone’s men strike across the city, and everyone has to get ready. Everyone except for the cops, with their ‘surprise’ new commissioner laying down the law and declaring the new mission statement of the GCPD. And all the while, Stephanie Brown is running scared. She knows a secret that could cost her her life.

 

What I liked:

  • STEPH! Words can’t express how happy I was that the book opened with her. Instant highlight!

  • Badass Penguin? I’ll take it. I know that Adrian Veidt has the iconic ‘I did it thirty-five minutes ago’, but man, Fabok’s art and Penguin’s “I fed him to an elephant seal three hours ago” is just an awesome moment.

  • Cluemaster and his D listers, sitting around a table pretending that they matter. So much incompetence, so much amusement. I mean, yes, they do matter, but they still shoot like Stormtroopers.

  • Jason and Brad are absolutely killing it on art. Steph looked great, Penguin looked creepy, and Batman was straight up menacing. Really well crafted, and if anything, the art is looking better every issue.

  • For a twenty page issue, the writers are managing to juggle a lot of characters and plots without rushing through them. This is two issues in a row where I had to check and see what page I was on, only to discover I was five or six pages earlier than expected (digital reading can get confusing if you don’t check). This book is dense, and I love it.

 

What I didn’t like:

  • Yeah, the commissioner decision was obvious even before they threw the red herring at us or gave us the obvious foreshadowing meeting.

  • How do you realistically keep cops from fighting a gang war? Are they just supposed to ignore gunfire around them? Hope they don’t become targets while they ignore it? The plan has obvious flaws, especially in Gotham.

 

Final thoughts:

Why do we need a weekly Batman book? Because this book is amazing and the sense of instant gratification mix well with the $2.99 price point. I’m enjoying it more than I have been Zero Year.

I know I’m supposed to hate Forbes, but man, a cop that blatantly dirty in Gotham just works. I’m eager to follow his rise, and can’t wait for his fall.

I had to look it up to find out that this is Fabok’s last issue, but we get Dustin Nguyen next week, and I do adore his work, so I’m kinda sorta cool with that. At the same time, Fabok is gone until he comes back for one issue at fourteen, but Dustin is coming in for the next few issues so….AGH! LET ME BE MAD! STOP EASING MY ANGER WITH DUSTIN NGUYEN!

Maybe it’s because I didn’t read ‘Tec before the current creative team took over, or read Dark Knight at all, but all of the crime lords that Penguin goes to meet with were brand new to me, and I like that. Batman has such a giant rogues gallery full of people who constantly lose, so new faces in positions of prominence actually makes them feel less like losers.

Actually, I’ve noticed that about Batman since the New 52 kicked in, but his rogues have been made to matter (at least in the books I read). I mean, look at this issue, Penguin actually has a pair. Sure, he shrinks immediately upon finding out that Falcone is back, but he still goes and continues to run his empire and try to fortify it instead of just backing down to make room for the new guy.

So, best for last, but let’s talk about Stephanie Brown. Let’s talk about how excited I am that my favorite Bat character is back, and how stoked I am for the obvious big things that the creative team have in store for her. Over the course of one issue, her ‘debut’ issue (she did appear at the end of the flash forward issue of Batman a few months back), she goes from girl going to get her qPad from her dads house, to on the run from him and his supervillain friends for hearing something she shouldn’t have. She evaded masked killers with guns as they fired like idiots and kept missing, and apparently knows the truth about the Gordon incident. I can’t wait to see what happens to her next.

 

Overall: 9/10

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