A new, Batman comic shows The Batman standing in a torrent, lightning crashing behind him. In an unusual move, the ordinarily dark and shady Gotham City receives a new interpretation inside Batman Eternal #1. Trust is important. Professor Pyg flies through the air. And Jim Gordon faces a new challenge.
What Batman Eternal #1 offers:
- A new look at Gotham City, and a new character for the Gotham City Police Department
- Detailed art depicting Gotham City skyline, and a terrible train crash
- A theme of trust: The Batman and Jim Gordon undoubtedly trust each other, and this connection receives some attention.
This review contains some minor spoilers.
The shining skyline of Gotham city is dotted with airships and tiny, glittering lights. A terrible subway train accident marks the comic’s halfway point
The opening pages start off by setting up a visual cliffhanger: Gotham City in danger. The Batman unable to help. The storyline shifts back in time, from the conclusion to the present day, and a great view of the Gotham City skyline appears. Airships, spotlights, and tiny glittering lights on the spires of skyscrapers appear.
The subway train crash is another pivotal moment in the art. It happens at about the halfway point, and is core of the story: the moment that this comic hinges on. Just like in the the James Bond film Skyfall, a train crashes underground. Metal crumples, and cement pillars split apart.
Through the eyes of new character Jason Bard, Gotham city is reviewed and re-examined. Bard describes the lights that define Gotham’s character, rather than the shadows
Batman Eternal #1 opens by re-introducing Gotham city. Seen through the eyes of a first-time visitor, the city shapeshifts into something new for the audience. Jason Bard is a Lieutenant from Detroit. He thinks Metropoilis shimmers, like a star. Gotham shines, however. And not just any shininess: it emits blues, greens, and caution yellows.
I should add one more point: a page earlier, Gotham city was in flames, and then immediately we see it fine – just another ordinary night out in Gotham. The previous page, followed by a little note in Bard’s dialogue on caution lights creates a circle, linking this opening issue to the conclusion of the comic in the future.
But what’s important is the sense of Gotham City’s character coming to light through Bard’s interpretation, and an insight into Bard himself: He’s a man who sees light wherever he goes. It’s no wonder the Optimistic Jim Gordon recruited him to join the Gotham City Police Department.
The key antagonist is the vile Professor Pyg: the master of nonsense. He wears a plastic pig mask, flies a biplane inside a museum, and spouts absurd statements. Honestly, not the threatening. Even worse, he tries to run from the combined force of The Batman and Jim Gordon. Not smart.
An ethic that emerges quickly is protecting and safeguarding children. A large theme of this comic is trust: having The Batman and Jim Gordon trust each other depicts trust in a heroic light
Professor Pyg also chose to attack five kids, dosing them with whatever chemicals he uses to make his “Dollotrons”. Batman confronts the professor – he teaches the villain that he should not have drugged the children.
There is a strong moment for character, story, and themes when The Batman stays with Jim Gordon following the subway cars crashing into the station. Batman could have vanished at this point, and left the police and fire rescue teams to clean the mess. Instead, he offers to stay and support the Commissioner.
Gordon “This is the part where I turn away and then you’re gone, right?
The Batman “Not this time. I can stay”
The trust between Wayne and Gordon is a key point in this issue. Despite Gotham’s reputation as dark and shady, trust is shown as valuable and heroic in this Batman comic book.
Not a popular culture reference, but a link back to the Batman series also written by Scott Snyder: in an earlier issue of the “Zero Year” story arc, Bruce Wayne comments that the Gotham museum does not have an aviary wing. A sign outside the museum indicates an “aviation wing” is now open, however.
Batman Eternal #1 is published by DC Comics ($2.99 USD). Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV (W.) Ray Fawkes, John Layman (Consultant Writers.) Jason Fabok (A.) Brad Anderson (C.) Nick J. Napolitano (L.) Cover Artwork by Jason Fabok and Tomeau Morey.