We’re back again with another round of Weekly Weeklies: this time we’ve got Batman Eternal #17 — where we finish up the Arkham Aslyum mini-arc by Ray Fawkes. Meanwhile in Futures End #13, we check in with Grifter and Fifty Sue as they investigate a recent attack:
WARNING: Spoilers Below.
Batman Eternal #17
Lead Writer: Ray Fawkes
Corresponding Writers: Scott Snyder, John Layman, Tim Seeley and James Tynion IV
Artist: Dustin Nguyen
While we get some interludes and flashbacks with Deacon Blackfire from three years ago, we focus now on the present where the crazy preacher has been resurrected (to some degree it seems) and is ordering his forces to kill Batwing and Jim Corrigan. At this point, Batwing has been missing for over a week and people are starting to wonder where the hell he is.
In Tokyo, Red Robin and Harper Row confront Sergi Alexandrov about the nanobot virus that has broken out in Gotham City. After a bit of convincing, Sergi looks at the schematics of the nanobots and states that while they are his design, a bunch of his decommissioned obsoletes were stolen a year ago.
In the flashbacks, we see Deacon Blackfire preaching to his worshippers about how they have to take the city back from the people who “claim” that it’s theirs. That includes Batman himself — who he has had tied up, beaten, and fed drugged food. He demands that Batman submit to him, but he refuses and breaks free. Batman calls Blackfire out on everything he has said and this causes his parishioners to turn on him once they realize he isn’t has powerful as he claims to be.
As Batwing and Corrigan try their best to fight off the zombie/demon army, they are defeated by the forces and dragged down into the depths of an underground lake. With them done and out of the way, Blackfire calls his army to arms and incites a “cleansing” of Gotham City.
I have to say, while I initially wasn’t really into this arc when it first popped up (Ray Fawkes’ first issue way back was rather dull), I am completely sold on this whole Deacon Blackfire arc. He’s a solid villain, his backstory was intriguing, and the fallout of this arc has me excited to see where things escalate from here. I also like that the book cut back on all of the other storylines, focusing on the Red Robin and Harper Row story arc. While it is a bit disappointing to not follow up on other stories, this allowed for the comic to have much better focus on the main story and progress it well.
Of course, the rest of the writing is strong as well. The characters are portrayed well, the dialogue and interactions between the cast is excellent, the pacing and story structure is much tighter, and the ending is really fantastic. Of course, the artwork deserves mention and praise as well for its great imagery and action. While certainly not as creepy as previous issues, the art is still top notch and I hope to see Dustin’s work once more in the future, despite commitment to that upcoming Image Comic.
As long as I punch it, we’ll be okay.
Futures End #13
Writers: Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens, and Keith Giffen
Artist: Patrick Zircher
Cal and Madison are robbed at gunpoint at the Wounded Duck and have all of their money and Madison’s necklace stolen. Meanwhile, Michael Holt AKA Mr. Terrific, remains sleepless at night wondering if he did the right thing by stirring up old hate and getting people riled up to find Batman Beyond.
On Cadmus Island, Grifter and Fifty Sue head far below the prison housing the Earth 2 superheroes to investigate that mysterious “stealth OMAC” that attacked him. Sue assures him there isn’t one, but decides to help him anyways. She takes him to the prison beneath the prison and shows him that Cadmus is also housing regular Earth 2 citizens for experimentation.
Cal AKA Tim Drake/Red Robin, decides to hunt down the thief that robbed him and his girlfriend, stealing back her necklace in an awesome fight scene.
Key, Coil, and Plastique are getting nervous about working with Terry after the segment with Mr. Terrific is shown all over the news, showing Batman Beyond. Terry tries to assure them that everything will be okay, however, Plastique knocks him out with an explosive so he doesn’t interfere with their plans anymore.
Kimiko takes Big Barda to a friend of hers who can forge an Earth Card. With the card, they should be able to sneak back into America and head for Metropolis. But before they can do that, they are lead into a trap and confronted by both Fifty Sue and Deathstroke.
My thoughts on Futures End remain much the same. The slow pacing and lack of much progression in many of the storylines is frustrating. Not much is really going on with the Mr. Terrific nor Batman Beyond stories. Heck, we don’t even check in on Frankenstein or follow up on that rather surprising ending last issue. There’s greatly disappointing and really makes this book rather dull at points. On the plus side, we finally checked back in with what’s going with Big Barda and her story.
Probably the best way to fix this slow pace and lack of progression is to balance it like Batman Eternal is doing. That story has multiple story arcs going on and although not every story may get attention or move forward, one story will get tons of progression and a lot of focus. It makes it feel like a lot more is going on and makes it less tedious to read. In regards to this issue, the same qualities that can be usually praised still remain the same: good characterization, decent dialogue, some great art from Patrick Zircher, and some interesting surprises await for sure. Just wish this book would pick up the pace more.
I prefer EXTREME shopping to get my stuff.