Comic Vine Review


Batman Eternal #22 - Succession Plans Review


Last week’s shocking revelations haven’t even had time to cool before they strike at the heart of Gotham.

The Good

BATMAN ETERNAL’S strength is centered on when the book gets into the nitty-gritty of the goings-on in Gotham. The occasional “big” story is fine to break things up, but this should definitely be a book that focuses on the extended Batman, and Gotham, universe and that’s exactly what this issue does. With last week’s double-dose of villainous returns, this week had a lot to live up to and does an amazing job of meeting that hype. The litany of incredibly talented creators from storytellers Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV to the dialog and details realized by scriptwriter Kyle Higgins with some finer touches put on by Ray Fawkes and Tim Seeley could smother a book with a concept this grounded, but these guys, most of the luminaries of Batman or Batfamily books avoid stepping on each others’ toes and give us a focused, intense product. One of Gotham’s new crowning achievements is targeted for a rather unique, and impromtu, demolition by a villain we haven’t seen since before the big RESET button was pressed but it’s someone Scott Snyder’s got plenty of experience with and it’s great to see him make a return. But while the story’s head is focused on the villains, its heart remains with the Pennyworths when Alfred’s daughter discovers an incredible revelation that changes her entire family dynamic. There are only two major plot threads in this issue, and that allows it to have an incredible focus and concentration, giving this issue not only a sense of high-stakes but a savage intensity that leaves the reader craving more immediately when it’s over.

Jorge Lucas steps in on linework and his style is perfect for this title. He has a style that’s very simple and grounded, but has a lot of fine details that reveal themselves, especially in his wider shots. The panels that have a larger scope are the ones that are the standouts in this issue and, while it’s a smaller story, his style helps give it a sense of a much larger world. Brett Smith’s colors are, in all sense of the word, pitch-perfect. This is a pitch-black book tonally and Smith’s color palette isn’t the largest, but it is extremely appropriate and has a lot of depth to it. The darkness of this book is communicated beautifully and one may feel the need of a good toothbrushing after biting into all this glorious grit.

The Bad

While the larger panels and shadows look great, a lot of the detail gets smudged and becomes less distinct in closeup, especially if that closeup involves a character’s face. The facial expressions tend to fall flat and don’t have great emotional depth to them. Julia Pennyworth, especially, winds up looking petulant when she should look furious and confused when she should look shocked. Her reaction to the revelation that she learns this issue is actually rather muted across the board, considering what it means for her and her family. It weakens the emotional core of the book. We get a sort of secondary “reveal” at the end of this book, but it’s of something that was actually revealed last issue, we just get a name this time. But if the reader didn’t already know their name from last issue, then the secondary reveal still falls flat, but if they did, then they don’t NEED the reveal again. It feels like going back to the well too soon.

The Verdict

This is another solid entry in this series, and it feels like the beginning of a truly amazing storyline. The fact that it’s also a continuation of a previously started storyline is actually to its credit and a testament to how consistent the book’s been overall. I honestly can’t wait to see what next week’s issue brings as these are two characters who couldn’t be in better hands than they are now.

13 Comments Refresh
Posted by Jayc1324

Do we find out if its tommy Elliot or not?

Edited by ShadowHuntR

@jayc1324: We get the confirmation that it is really Hush

Posted by cmd735

I was getting bored with this series and futures end, but both have become really interesting these past couple issues.

Posted by obsidian_raindrop1

@shadowhuntr: I'm jut glad we don't have 16 issues of them having to find out something that the audience already guessed (looking at you future's end).

Posted by comicbookfan93
Posted by czechoslovakia

lol still can't believe there were people that thought it was the joker

Posted by KouNurasaka


Well, that is who Batman suspects. I suppose at the end of the day it could theoretically still be someone else.

Unlikely, but I'm just playing Devil's advocate here.

Edited by obsidian_raindrop1

@comicbookfan93: the big bad so far is brainiac we've know this since 8 issues in and yet they still don't have everyone on the same page. At least with this bruce figures it out in one issue. The best thing about batman eternal was that it focused on a group of characters who talk to each other so information gets passed along quickly.

Posted by BrotherEye

Eternal are a group of stories working together as part of an overarching goal. Futures End is meant to be that as well but its more like a group of stories working independently of one another.

Posted by crak0

Penny-two was the one seen in Batcave in the preview of Eternal in Batman #28?

Wish they maintained that callsign for Julia but Bruce went back to Penny-one after a few pages.

Posted by detective38

Good issue. I disagree that the reveal was retreading its steps this was the first time that bruce figured out who it was so it carried just as much weight

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

Gates of Gotham was such a good story.

Posted by cobra88king8

@crak0: I think that may have been a typo. It didn't make sense when it happened.