Review: Batman Eternal #4 by Scott Snyder, James Tynion, and Dustin Nguyen

BatmanEternal4

Batman: Eternal #4

Story by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV

Script by John Layman

Consulting writers: Ray Fawkes and Tim Seeley

Art by Dustin Nguyen, Derek Fridolfs, and John Kalisz

 

The short of it:

Gordon’s arraignment didn’t go the way Babs wanted, with him being considered a flight risk and being sent to Blackgate without bail to wait for his sentencing. Her frustration finds itself worked out on the criminal element of Gotham, because, really, what’s more fun than an angry Bat? Well, Batman tries to get her to relax and eats a left hook for his trouble. She’s pissed, and rightfully so, she believes in her dads innocence, and that means beating up Pyg goons, but Batman lets her know, he’s on her side. Meanwhile, Stephanie Brown finally gets her mom on the phone and tries to tell her what she can, but her mom is admittedly suspicious about her loser ex-husband being a super villain. She agrees to help Steph…and then we find out that she wasn’t totally clueless.

At the GCPD, Commissioner Forbes checks in with Jason Bard, who is lamenting not having the mentor he signed up for in Gordon, but Forbes keeps reminding us that Gordon is the villain. They switch to a run down and Bard talks about a group of beaten up Pyg goons, and then points out that they were knocked out when the cops found them (see: last paragraph). He’s more concerned with the budding gang war that’s ready to explode, but Forbes reinforces that all that matters now is vigilantes. Meanwhile, Batman lets himself into Falcone’s penthouse and schools the guards before the Roman comes out to talk. Bats wants information, Falcone claims ignorance, and then very clearly lets Batman know what he wants. His version of Gotham back.

Back at the Cave, Barbara is combing through footage and formulating theories, and she’s found the man responsible! A guy who hung out by the trains without ever getting on one for several hours! Batman questions her jumping to conclusions, but hey, her dad is in jail, she’s gotta get shit fixed. I mean, he’s being walked through a row of inmates at Blackgate as the Warden wants to put some fear in him and let everyone else see their shiny new target. They escort him to his cell, in gen-pop, and his cell mate warns him that cops don’t tend to last very long there….

 

What I liked:

  • Falcone had a nice “I’m not a super-villain, I’m a crime lord” moment, where he laid out his entire endgame to Batman without having to be menacing or cryptic. He didn’t tell him anything he was doing to insure it, but the fact that he had no problem telling his foe “Hey, I want to take back Gotham from you freaks and make it like it used to be”, that’s not something you generally get out of a villain. Especially without him and Batman actually trying to fight each other. Cool and confident, the same reason I like a well written Luthor.

  • Jim Gordon in gen-pop? I’m more afraid for the prisoners.

  • Especially since, and I really liked this, they’re all normal prisoners. He’s in with the bad guys that he and his boys have put away, not the ones that Batman has to take down. I mean, yes, Batman has probably kicked the crap out of a lot of those guys, but they’re the regular element. Gordon in a jail with people like Scarecrow and Mr. Freeze would have been lame.

  • Dustin Nguyen should draw a Bat book every month. I mean, seriously, if I could have him on one book, and then also have the amazing Manapul/Buccellato Tec, then I would be sooo happy.

  • This was the most interesting Babs has been since the relaunch, admittedly I gave up on her book after four issues, but hey, I’m not complaining too heavily about her!

 

What I didn’t like:

  • Aw, I always liked Steph’s mom, her being a bad guy is a thumb down.

  • Still not sure how Forbes can get any cops to not deal with a gang war. It’s just too…one dimensional.

 

Final thoughts:

Call me biased, but the Stephanie plot is the most interesting. I mean, she knows the secret behind everything! Everyone else’s plots are just a subsection of hers!

Of course Blackgate has a one eyed, former cop, Gordon hating Warden! It’s GOTHAM!

I thought John Layman walked off this book? Good thing he stayed long enough to do this issue! I’ve heard nothing but good things about his ‘Tec run, and I imagine this is the sort of stuff he was bringing to the table. At no point do you get that ‘superhero’ feel, just crime and masks fighting it.

The human elements of the book were great, and I’m interested to see where Babs goes from here, which is the first time I’ve said that since she was in a wheelchair.

Do you know how painful it is to see Batgirl in a book and she’s not the one wearing the Batgirl costume? Especially when one of my favorite Batgirl artists is on the issue.

With the transition from Forbes saying he wants Batman taken down, to the next page being a splash of Batman kicking a guy through a window, for a moment I was like “Well, he does know how to make an entrance when someone wants him there.” The Batman/Forbes eventual showdown is going to be interesting.

Gordon in jail should make for some really good story if it’s handled right slash he doesn’t get shanked to death next issue.

So is Bard the blonde haired guy from the Batsgiving teaser? Is he going to throw on a domino mask and turn into a vigilante?

Man, Gordon got the one cellmate in Blackgate that didn’t want to shank him, that’s some luck.

 

Overall: 9/10

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