REVIEW: Batman Eternal #11 – Flatman | FanboysInc

REVIEW: Batman Eternal #11 – Flatman

By Cody Mudge

Written by: Tim Seeley

Art by: Ian Bertram and Dave Stewart

Publishing by: DC Comics

$2.99

I’ve officially given up on Batman Eternal. It took a long time. I hung in there for 11 issues but I just can’t continue to read this series anymore. Part of what makes this so frustrating is the vast amount of incredibly talented creators responsible for its production. Much like DC’s other weekly book, Futures End, this series is falling under the weight of its own ambition. The result is a comic book that is incredibly consistent each week. Compounding the issue is the revolving door of artists and writers stepping up to ensure this series meets its rapid release schedule.

You’d think that a comic that would come out every week wouldn’t be paced like a plodding donkey through the Andes but “Batman Eternal #8” is only the latest in an all-too-familiar sequence of poorly structured stories. After 11 issues I genuinely don’t believe that I have the foggiest clue what the point of this story is, and that’s just unacceptable.

Given the great Batman titles being produced by DC (pretty much weekly ironically) I don’t know why this book needs to exists. It has only served to frustrate this reviewer with its muddled story-lines, lack of compelling character drama, inconsistency, and dramatic art style clashes from issue to issue. Want to read a great Batman book, go check out Scott Snyder’s Batman or Greg Pak’s Superman/Batman or even the great extended Bat-universe books like Batgirl and Batwoman which feature far superior iterations of those characters than this series boasts. Catwoman is perhaps the only character that has benefited from Batman Eternal’s existence (and only because her New 52 book has been dreadful). It’s been great to see Selina become a more relevant character, but there had to be an easier way than this.

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The Catwoman bits aside, this issue focuses on “daddy issues” stories, with Batgirl pursuing the truth about her dad, Jim Gordon’s, framing, Stephanie Brown digging into her father’s villainous past, and Alfred being reunited with his long-lost daughter. It’s too bad that Tim Seeley insists on having the script jump back and forth between these stories, thereby diminishing their impact. It’s kind of like the entire series mixed up into one issue.

Without room to breathe, none of these stories are as interesting as they should be. And once again, I point to this book trying to do way too much. It’s become uninteresting because pay-off is taking so long. How long ago was Stephanie nearly murdered by her parents? How long ago was Jim Gordon arrested? How long are readers expected to wait for a simple pay-off to a compelling idea?

Art-wise this is going to be the most divisive issue so far. Ian Bertram steps in as artist and proves two things, first, that he is a phenomenally talented artist, and second, that even though he’s excellent, his work does not fit a Batman title. Especially one that has been dark, broody, and relatively similar in style and tone despite the many art changes.

Bertram’s art would look really awesome on a science-fiction or fantasy book. There are any number of Image Comics that would benefit from his style, but Batman, and most capes and cowl books by extension, don’t look great when characters have massive feline-like eyes and big pointy nipples. This is a case of a poor job done in the office in selecting a book for Bertram that, at least as far as I can see, doesn’t fit his style at all.

Verdict

To be honest I’ve gotten kind of tired of talking about this book but it’s Batman, does consistent sales, and I wanted to cover it for this site. But my patience for this story has worn out, it doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere anytime soon and I think if you’re asking your readers to invest $3.99 per week for a comic book you’d better deliver something mind-blowing awesome. Even average would be a step up for this series currently. Poor planning, poor execution and a poor product make me a bored boy. I know this score seems harsh but think about how much money you’ve spent on getting this far in the series, and compare it to nearly any other comic on the market, I’d be shocked if this wasn’t near the bottom of your list in terms of return on investment.

4.6/10

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