Batman Eternal Issue #5/Written by James Tynion IV/Art by Andy Clarke/Cover by Andy Kubert and Brad Anderson/Colors by Blond/Lettering by Nick J. Napolitano

Issue 5! We're about two months in now and we've seen the return of Carmine Falcone and Jim Gordon behind bars. Here's a hint: If you're going to read a weekly don't expect immediate payoff on things. There has to be a lot of plot to get through and, well, Tynion leads the way this week with the beginnings of what is looking like a pretty epic ordeal.

Vicki Vale is blessedly present here and I hope will be a part of future issues. She has to deal with the fact that her chosen medium is changing rapidly but there's still a need for the beat reporter after all. Harper and Cullen Row show up as well. Cullen, per usual, plays the victim but its early yet so we'll see how it turns out. Harper appears to be turning into a vital part of the plot and that is nothing to sneeze at. Red Robin, thankfully, also shows up in a big way here. He, far more than Batman, is doing actual detective work (just as Batgirl did last week in Issue #4) and it was nice to see Tim takin' care of business.

We don't get much regarding Gordon's possible vindication or even more regarding the Jack Forbes take-over here. That isn't the worst thing as delivering too quickly, especially in a weekly book like this, would feel just far too rushed. We've already got a pretty darn brisk pace as is. Tynion, who also just recently delivered his creator-owned The Woods over at BOOM! Studios (It is so good. Holy crap.), really does a good job at putting more hooks out on the line. Plague that is on the verge of sweeping through Gotham, gang erupting in the Narrows and further, and so much more is all hinted at. 

Andy Clarke (who you might remember from a lot of other Batman work recently and R.E.B.E.L.S) knocks it out of the park in terms of aesthetics. Some truly magnificent pages within this issue and a nice imperfect quality to the facial representation of most of the characters. The art isn't quite as refined as some of the others who've worked on the book thus far but that isn't a bad thing. He did a real bang-up job with Red Robin.

FINAL WORD: Batman Eternal #5 further sweetens the pot with potential catastrophe on multiple fronts. The ante has been officially upped and Tynion did a great job delivering a good mix of detective work, action and keeping things progressing forward without the tale merely spinning its wheels. Andy Clarke was an excellent choice to add to an already stacked roster of artists on the book. DC is not screwing around thus far. Eternal is well worth your money weekly.

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