The threat of Batwoman is grave, as she’s disbanded from Batman’s crew and has a serious authoritarian point of view. Tim Drake is also very aware she ends up taking over Gotham with a police state in Batman’s place. Not good, lady!
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“BATMEN ETERNAL” part two! Batwoman has reunited with her father, and leadership of the Colony is in her hands…but should she take it? And if she does, what is she supposed to do about a problem like Batman?
Why does this matter?
James Tynion IV is writing his final story of Detective Comics and one gets the impression he’s more than ready to burn all that he built to the ground. Bring it on!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Hmmm, this doesn’t seem right.
This issue is psychological warfare in itself. Opening with Tim Drake at college (what, why?), we witness a vision of sorts that is anything but good. I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers, but it screws with you. The final scene does the same, but this time in a very real way with a twist I sure hope Batman and Tim Drake don’t fall for. Tynion isn’t playing around, showing us Batwoman is very much a threat even if she hasn’t amassed any armies, yet. This series has always been about how characters think and what they do in the face of impossibly hard choices and this issue carries that forward well.
The art is shared between Javier Fernandez, Eddy Barrows, and Eber Ferreira, and they do a good job making it hard to tell who is drawing what. The colors by John Kalisz and Adriano Lucas look great, especially in some of the moodier scenes earlier in the issue. There are also some inspired layouts, like an 8-panel double page layout that spills into a full page spread on one side (save for the Bat-logo shaped panel). The choice of angle on the last page is also quite good, helping to convey the brutality of the villains in a bar.
Okay, this makes more sense.
It can’t be perfect can it?
While I like the issue, in general, there are a few things that bother me. First and foremost, Tim Drake actually listens to the bad guy who’s super obviously a bad guy. He’s smarter than this. Second of all, there’s some heavy exposition later in the issue that lasts two or so pages explaining where folks are going and ending up. Third of all, even though the entire opening is an interesting twist (we’re talking 10 pages) it’s all a feint. That makes nearly half the book a bit of a trick no matter how impactful it is on Tim Drake’s reasoning.
Is It Good?
A psychological mind-fuck of an issue that sets up the emotional state of our heroes for the most likely epic finale.