Batman Eternal #27

In "Batman Eternal" #27 by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Tim Seeley, Ray Fawkes, Kyle Higgins and Javier Garron, Killer Croc tries to locate Jade, Batman and Catwoman team up, and The Spoiler evades yet another attempt on her life.

Despite the declaration of martial law last issue, nothing happens on that front, which squanders some suspense. There's no sign of Gordon or Hush in "Batman Eternal" #27, except for Batgirl's exchange with Bard. The writers try to throw in a character moment for Selina while she's confiding in the only creatures she trusts, her cats, but the scene feels hasty and superficial. Catwoman has been blowing hot and cold with Batman and dealing with her trust issues for as long as she's been in Gotham; there's nothing new here. Her argument with Batman feels contrived. The cliffhanger ending lacks punch since it's been done before, and because it's heavily foreshadowed that Selina would be vulnerable after having her tiff with Batman.

Jade, the orphan, has cute attitude, but unfortunately her character only gets a little bit of attention, and Killer Croc's approach to the situation has his usual lack of subtlety, despite how he's arguably got the moral upper hand for once when it comes to Jade. Garron's facial expressions convey Jade's rebelliousness but neither the script not the art give Croc anything more nuanced than menace. The Spoiler's discovery and manipulation of Batman is the best twist in "Batman Eternal" #27. The note she leaves for Batman adds some very welcome humor and it also conveys the character's voice -- young, cheeky, clever and tech-savvy.

Throughout "Batman Eternal" #27, Garron chooses a dramatic camera angle in almost every single panel, and so he diminishes the relative impact of each one. The pages look messy due to panel shapes that shift without being necessary to the flow of the action. The individual panels feel like they are jostling each other for attention, making the story harder to follow.

The art also has terrible anatomy. The proportions are all wrong for Commissioner Bard's body on the second page. The Spoiler's body is also foreshortened badly in the scene where she's jumping across rooftops. On the page where Selina's talking to a stray cat, one of her breasts looks like ostrich egg. These flaws are compounded by how much action there is and bodies there are in "Batman Eternal" #27. The first page of begins with a camera angle that moves upward across the crotch and chest of the Arkham receptionist, and there are other gratuitous body shots. Garron takes risks but unfortunately, he doesn't carry off a lot of the challenges he attempts to tackle. The biggest exception is his drawing of Obanescu's menagerie, which is drawn with enthusiasm and care, and also colored with wonderful attention to detail by Romulo Fajardo, Jr.

"Batman Eternal" is too floppy and formless. The art could be better, but the major problem is that the plot needs some gravity to it. Subplots are all very well if the center is strong, but at this point the writers need to stick to one plot thread for longer than a few pages in order to have enough breathing room to do better work with characterization and suspense. The story feels like it's treading water week to week instead of executing bold strokes in a grand plan.

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