If you've listened to any number of episodes of Aliens Under the Vatican you'll know quite well the Zeitgeeks stance on DC Comics at the current time. The New 52 began with a lot of promise that ultimately had, for me anyway, only a single book worth keeping on my pull-list. I'm talking about Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang's Wonder Woman, and it has been one of the most consistently entertaining and well-crafted books out there. Can a weekly (Aww, can't milk enough Batman money with the eleventy books you're running already DC?) Batman title be worthwhile?
If Issue #1 is any indicator of what is to come then I think we're in for a treat. Past attempts for (bi)weekly series in DC events have had issues in trying to track far too many characters and too many story threads. Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV wisely stick to a limited scope for the first issue. The focus is upon new GCPD lieutenant Jason Bard and his first day/night on the force in Gotham. It doesn't go quite as planned and his introduction to Commissioner Gordon is, well, a bit unusual.
Jason Fabok's quality rolls on, never losing a step in transitioning to this new weekly format. Each page is awash with stark colors and a cinematic feeling that lends a big-event atmosphere to the book. Our first glimpse of Batman is in a VERY different suit (but circumstances require it) and his return to the more traditional duds that is rendered beautifully by Fabok. A bit of Jim Lee in there and that's definitely a good thing.
We also get something that doesn't happen often enough: Batman and Gordon teaming up to battle together. Professor Pyg is yukkin' it up and trying to drug kids and, frankly, Batman doesn't stand for that shit (Ed. note: Gasp!). They make a great team and seeing that bond between them was a pleasant surprise. Every page with them hanging out together just worked and when things go south later in the book Batman even offers his open support to Jim.
There's a moment that, frankly, requires a bit more clarification regarding a perp and Gordon's means of disarming him that didn't really work. It's a minor thing though as the rest of the first chapter is quite enticing. It is tight and takes place within the span of a few hours. The opening page, though, was something that sunk its hooks in right away. A flash forward to the end and it worked effectively much like in Snyder's other works.
Each page is expertly and lovingly rendered by Fabok and colorist Brad Anderson and paired with Snyder/Tynion's writing? This is a REALLY strong first entry into this weekly Eternal series. I'll bite, DC, so give me some great Batman, eh?
VERDICT: Batman Eternal #1 is a surprisingly strong opening chapter, considering it's a weekly and you can already hear the groans of fanboys everywhere. It features tight storytelling thanks to Snyder/Tynion and fantastic art from Fabok. Buy it.
(Editor's note: Want it digital? Buy it here! -Serendipitous Sam)