It’s a bit of a relief this far into “Batman Eternal” to have so many of the plot threads come together. It’s not a given for a weekly series, after all, and even if they do, sometimes it’s not until the last possible moment. So to have just about everything having come together by “Batman Eternal” #33 is a minor miracle. More importantly, it allows Kyle Higgins, Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes and Tim Seeley to give Jason Fabok a script that both plays off of the aftermath of some bombs (figurative and literal), even as it leads into the explosions that are yet to come.
With Alfred back in the heart of things, it’s still nice to see Julia Pennyworth being a major part of “Batman Eternal.” Her introduction has ended up working far more smoothly than expected, and it’s fun to see a character that has the wits of Alfred but the mobility of a superhero as part of Batman’s network. The deactivation of Batman’s storerooms around Gotham is a good excuse to see her in action, using both her wits as well as her physical abilities.
At the same time, it’s good to see more than just a fight for survival happening within Gotham. Hush’s plans up until now have seemed a little nebulous, so having them clearly aimed at taking out not only Batman but Bruce Wayne as well makes the series work that much better. Hush’s strength isn’t really his ability to look like someone else, or even his surgeon skills — it’s knowing to go after Bruce Wayne in order to go after Batman. That’s a piece of information that, after all, almost none have in their tool belt.
That said, “Batman Eternal” #33 feels a tiny bit padded out. The fight against the random Gotham policeman feels slow, as does much of the rooftop scene with Julia and Batman. With a few threads still not fully worked back into the main narrative, it would have been nice to see those get a bit more of a spotlight, or even a larger look at how Gotham is reacting to the explosion from the previous issue. The fight here feels more like a directive for a fight scene in the issue rather than because it was particularly needed, and it’s that forced structure that hinders the storytelling a bit.
With Fabok drawing both “Batman Eternal” and “Justice League” this week, it’s nice to have so much from the artist. Once again, his figures look excellent, with lots of care and attention in particular to their faces. All of the characters here — from Batman and Alfred, down to Lucius Fox or even a Wayne Enterprises legal advisor — are drawn in ways that make them not only instantly distinguishable, but also expressive and radiating emotion as necessary.
“Batman Eternal” #33 is a pleasant read, and honestly pleasant is a good bar to reach for a weekly series. Even with there being a bit of a stall this week, it’s overall a good comic and the one weekly series from DC that continues to hold my attention with each new installment. At this point, I think it’s earned most of its readership planning on returning for the series’ second year.