It’s Weekly Weeklies time: this week in Batman Eternal #14 where we see the return of Jason Fabok and a bring a close (for now?) to the Gang War storyline. Over in Futures End #10, as usual, lots of different stories are taking place, including Masked Superman’s and Batman Beyond’s:
WARNING: Spoilers Below
Batman Eternal #14
Lead Writer: James Tynion IV
Corresponding Writers: Scott Snyder, John Layman, Tim Seeley and Ray Fawkes
Artists: Jason Fabok
While Scarecrow is getting hunted down in Arkham Asylum, trying to flee from an unseen foe, we see that the Penguin’s luck and life have hit rock bottom. He’s been run out of town and forced to hide in a motel to stay alive. However, he may be getting a second chance to take the upper hand in the gang war when someone sends him a rather interesting tip. Also, we see Jason Bard shaking down the mayor for info as well, having discovered that the mayor is also under Falcone’s influence.
At his hideout, Carmine Falcone is attacked by the Penguin, who had heard about his whereabouts via that tip. Penguin is there to finish the job himself, fed up with being pushed around. However, Bard and his team show up before Penguin is able to kill Falcone and both men are arrested.
Jim Gordon goes to check out that door to see if it’s truly unlocked. However, Batman shows up and tries to convince him not to. Gordon replies that he wouldn’t and was just going to lock it. Also, with the way things are looking, Gordon tells Batman to move on and partner up with Bard since his time may coming to a close.
As Red Robin heads to Japan, he discovers that he has a stowaway in his Batplane. It’s Harper Row and Red Robin isn’t happy about it.
Batman meets up with Jason Bard, saying he’s impressed with everything he has done. Bard goes to shake his hand, but Batman confronts him about a recent discovery he made: that tip that Penguin got, the one that made him go on a rampage at Falcone’s hideout and kill 12 of his men? It came from Bard’s phone. Bard admits to it, but he assures Batman that he’ll do the right thing to make Gotham safer, even if it means crossing a line that Gordon nor Batman would.
In Arkham, Scarecrow awakens below ground and discovers he is tied down. The culprit is Joker’s Daughter, who has special plans for him (including her axe).
I’ll admit, I did not expect to see a major storyline wrap up already. Surprising and thoroughly enjoyable. Plus, the conclusion moves the story forward into a good direction with plenty of potential. Outside of that and two other minor story bits (glad we finally got back to that Arkham storyline after so long), the rest of the storylines and subplots were absent. That’s okay though, since the issue was still plenty exciting and fulfilling.
Like usual, the writing is on point and the characters are great. Some might be a bit surprised by how Penguin acts during this issue, but it makes sense after he’s been kicked around and pushed so far. There’s only so much a guy can take, deformed, aquatic, flightless bird-men notwithstanding.
Of course, the thing everyone got excited for is the return of Jason Fabok on art duties for this issue and it was spectacular like one would expect from the guy. Fabok just nails the atmosphere, the look of the characters and city, and so much more. Easily one of the best artists the series has had overall.
Everything about this scene was perfect to me.
Futures End #9
Writers: Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens, and Keith Giffen
Artist: Patrick Zircher
Masked Superman is on the hunt for Ethan Boyer, a real sicko that escaped from prison in the past issue under his watch. Masked Superman is frantically searching all over the city for him, being a bit more aggressive than usual.
Meanwhile at the Wounded Duck, Batman Beyond approaches the trio of criminals who are planning to break into TerrifiTech with an offer. He wants in on their scheme…
The criminals are naturally suspicious, especially Plastique, who is still confused about what is going on with that robot/cyborg version of herself that Terry had. However, he manages to get them to listen to him… for now.
Cal, AKA Tim Drake, recognizes one of the moves that Terry uses on the crooks to get them to listen to him. Drake calls out Terry on the move and wonders if Batman is searching for him, Terry replying that he doesn’t know.
Back in outer space, Amaya tries to comfort Hawkman about being the sole survivor of the Stormwatch massacre and tells him how she understands what he is going through since Gemworld was completely destroyed years ago. Hawkman isn’t having any of it, but his tune might be changing soon. His Stormwatch Emergency Communicator starts beeping, indicating that there may be someone out there still alive from his group.
On Cadmus Island, Grifter is attacked by an invisible OMAC that tries to kill him. It turns out that someone on the island may be trying to kill him even though he’s now working for them.
In Vancouver, Canada, a woman named Jane Kirby working at a homeless shelter is confronted by Emiko, younger half-sister of the dead Green Arrow. Emiko knows who she really is and needs her help. The woman’s real identity? Big Barda from Earth 2.
Yet another storyline gets introduced (while some others barely move forward or have no clear direction yet) but this issue still felt a lot better than usual. I believe it is because of a culmination of all the stories presented, what developed (even if there wasn’t much) and what twists and surprises there were. I liked these surprises, especially the ending that introduced a character that I’ve come to really like in other series. I’m looking forward to where this goes a bit more than usual.
Another aspect that helps the issue is that the character work is pretty good. There’s some good humor, great moments from the characters, intriguing sequences that make you want to know more about them, and some genuine emotional moments. What wasn’t so good was the artwork: it’s not particularly bad, but it stood out the most as being problematic. Bad action scenes with awkward movement and fighting, odd looking faces, blank white backgrounds, and inconsistencies. For instance, in the scene at the end, one of the character’s jackets changed colors between pages.
The way you threaten to cut my face off really gets to me, you know?