BATMAN ETERNAL AKA Gotham Eternal AKA Baternal #5 does a wonderful job at continuing to expand on the Gotham Universe. This issue steps into the world of the Gotham Gazette, the dangerous part of Gotham known as The Narrows, and introduces the already well-known characters of Tim Drake AKA Red Robin, Vicki Vale, and Harper Row.
While this story is a departure from the last couple of issues, which revolved around Batman, Gordon, and Stephanie Brown a bit more, the switch up in this issue just reestablishes the fact that this book is a lot bigger than fans may have thought.
It was great to see Tim Drake back in a Batbook, and there was a particular moment that gave me new respect for the Batbooks. There's been a lot of madness in the Batworld for the past couple of years with all the events and changes. Tim reminds the reader he's on his own because there's been so many bad events in recent years, including what happened to Nightwing. It's great to see one of the characters in the book flat out say "things aren't what they used to be," since it seems DC likes to either move on and forget the past or move on to a new event. It's nice to see the past recognized, out loud, by Tim.
Last issue, we saw Dustin Nguyen on art. Issue #5 has Andy Clarke on art with Blond on colors. Yes, the two different styles between the issues is a bit of a change, but overall, it's fine because Clarke has a very nice style that conveys emotion on his character's faces incredibly well. Blond kills it on colors. He gets little things like clothing and the lighting on clothing to look perfect to the point where it looks very realistic. This is a colorist to keep your eye out for.
This is more personal preference than anything else, but I'm not a fan of Vicki Vale. There's already a very established reporter and photographer duo in the DC universe, so this team just doesn't have the appeal they should have.
When it really comes down to it, the whole Vicki Vale section has been done before. It's an overused trope in comics and cinema: The younger reporter takes advice from the aging reporter and said new reporter wants to let the people know about the bad things going down in their city. Most recently, it reminds me of the first season of House of Cards to a "T."
We're five issues into BATMAN ETERNAL and this book continues to do a fine job at building on the world of Gotham while continuing to tell and interesting story. Tim Drake truly is the star of this issue, and in some ways, bests Batman through Tim's detective work. The art is fantastic, but it's the colors that really make the art. Overall, this is a very satisfying weekly series, so far. The only real downside to the issue is that the Vicki Vale story feels completely overdone as far as stories go. This is especially apparent if you watch House of Cards. However, this is still a highly recommended series.