A weekly book can be pretty tough. We've seen DC try it twice in the past with some mixed results. However, one month into BATMAN ETERNAL, this book feels like it has a good direction and is way more than just another Batman book. If anything, this book should be called "Gotham Eternal" because it covers so much more than what Batman is up to.
The main focus of this story is Barbara dealing with her father's incarceration after the events of issue #1. The opening courtroom scene is a hard one to read for any James Gordon fan as there seems to be no justice for the character because there's no real proof that the train crash wasn't his fault.
Barbara does what any person would do when someone you love and care about is falsely accused of something, beats the heck out of some low level thugs. Well, maybe only vigilantes do that. The reader can easily become empathetic with the character through her struggles here. It's a very satisfying opening to the book.
The Stephanie Brown part of the story is great, as she realizes what/who her father is and tries to find a place that is safe. Her scene is brief, but Spoiler fans and non-fans alike will feel for this character who walked into the wrong place at the wrong time.
What a depressing ending to the issue. It doesn't look extremely good for James Gordon, and while there isn't some huge reveal or cliffhanger, the ending works perfectly at keeping the reader hooked into the issue and story. Luckily, they won't have to wait a whole month to find out what happens next.
Opening this book, it was a breath of fresh air to see Dustin Nguyen doing the pencils, with Derek Fridolfs on inks, and John Kalisz on colors. Traditionally, Nguyen has flatter colos associated with his art, but here, Kalisz does a bit more with shades inside the panels. It gives Nguyen's art a bit more depth. There's just something about this art team, for this issue. that really works well on this book. Sure, there's other artists who put an immense amount of detail into every panel, but Nguyen's style has always worked well with Batman and more importantly, Gotham, to lighten up the book a little bit.
The first few issues of BATMAN ETERNAL were good, but this one really worked well. There's no real problems with the issue. It was a ton of fun.
BATMAN ETERNAL is four issues in and it feels like a solid direction to the new weekly series. This book is much more about Gotham than Batman and it really shows here as the issue splits time between the Gordons, Batman, and Stephanie Brown. The art style keeps this issue a bit more light-hearted, which is the perfect match since it's a pretty depressing issue, with what is happening with James Gordon. Normally, I'd say to be very cautious of weekly series, but so far, this one has been top notch. Overall, I highly recommend this issue.