|BATMAN No. 28, April 2014|
It’s arguably unlikely in February 2014 that many of this magazine’s 114,089 buyers were especially impressed with “Gotham Eternal”. For whilst it has long been a strategy of comic publishers to advertise upcoming titles within their products, either via a crossover-story or printing some sample sheets towards the back of a book, Issue Twenty Eight of “Batman” decidedly goes a step too far by dedicating its entirety to a tale which proves little more than a teaser for “DC Comics” “year-long weekly limited series” “Batman Eternal”.
Indeed this twenty-two page periodical’s narrative, which focus’ upon Bluebird’s infiltration of a nefarious secret society run by Selina Kyle, has absolutely nothing in common with that of its forerunner, apart from fact that the Dark Knight features in the somewhat substandard story. It doesn’t even contain the tiniest of references to the fact that the tale has jarringly interrupted Scott Snyder’s mega-event “Zero Year: Dark City” and the American author’s redefining of the Caped Crusader’s origin.
As a result the reader is literally thrown into the New Yorker’s ‘teasing’ script completely blind and as such much of what then follows make little to no sense whatsoever. Especially as the near future plot is seemingly based upon numerous Gothamites apparently being “infected” with something which an imprisoned Stephanie Brown holds “the key” to stopping..?
Admittedly parts of the Eagle Award-winner’s collaboration with James Tynion IV are moderately entertaining. Harper Row’s appearance as a ‘fully-fledged’ “feisty” sidekick, complete with over-sized “bad-boy” shock rifle and blue Mohawk hairstyle, is an especially welcome new addition to the Batman Family, as is the pair’s reimagining of a sleek and sophisticated Catwoman. But not even an exciting firefight housed within a casino full of armed goons is enough to distract from the increasing number of questions this disjointed printed oddity raises up until it’s frustrating “the story begins in Batman Eternal #1 on sale this April!” final panel…
Perhaps even more unforgivable however, has to be this comic’s inferior illustrations by Dustin Nguyen. The Vietnamese penciller can clearly imbue his characters with a tremendous amount of energy and movement. Yet such dynamism is sadly ruined by the conceptual artist’s bizarrely misshapen heads, inconsistent physicalities and wooden-looking poses.
|The variant cover art of "BATMAN" No. 28 by Howard Chaykin|