In February 2014, “Batman” #28 let us preview “Batman Eternal,” giving us a comic set far into its story arc. For those wondering where it would intersect the weekly “Batman Eternal,” wonder no more. “Batman Eternal” #43 takes place amid those moments and James Tynion IV, David LaFuente and company finally show us what’s next for Gotham City.
This issue feels in many ways as much setup for the push towards the conclusion in a couple of months as it does a slight recap of “Batman” #28, which is exactly where the comic should have been positioned. Tynion gives us some more interplay between Batman and Bluebird, even as we finally learn what secret the Spoiler’s been sitting on all of this time. It ties into a character we’ve seen prior to this issue, and it’s a logical step for why the Spoiler would actively want to stay Catwoman’s prisoner.
More importantly, I like the interplay that Tynion gives the various characters here. He writes the crime boss version of Catwoman as someone who’s capable and able to stand up to Batman; likewise, the give and take between Spoiler, Bluebird and the other characters in their scenes feels natural. There’s an exchange of trust and power going on here, and not leaping directly into “we’re best friends” mode makes it feel reasonable while also keeping up the tension.
LaFuente (along with Victor Olazaba, Scott Hanna and John Rauch) gives the book a solid and consistent look. The hard angled faces are distinct without looking sharp, and I could look at characters’ hair in this comic all day long with its thick locks and graceful curves. I especially found myself entranced by the assault on the casino, with LaFuente and Hanna drawing playing cards, bullet casings and debris flying everywhere. It’s an image full of detail that doesn’t feel crowded, which is nice. Rauch gives the book an added interesting look by making Spoiler’s purple and Bluebird’s blue contrast, something I wouldn’t have thought possible. It makes the two look distinct when alongside one another, and helps accentuate their division.
“Batman Eternal” #43 continues to move the series merrily along and, with just eight issues to go, the pacing feels strong. It’s nice to know that “Batman Eternal” (or something with a slightly different title but still the weekly schedule) will return later in 2015; this has been an experiment that’s succeeding quite nicely.