Saturday, January 17, 2015

Batman Eternal #36 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

The Riddler, huh?

First, I'm obviously not sure we can trust that revelation.  As I mentioned in my last review, Snyder and Tynion could just be setting up the Riddler as the third villain (after Falcone and Hush), leaving the revelation of the mastermind for the denouement.  But, the Riddler certainly makes a certain amount of sense.  Setting up this sort of elaborate puzzle does seem like him.  Plus, it makes sense that Snyder began telling this story at the same time as "Zero Year;" the Riddler's role in destroying Gotham five years ago certainly ups the ante of his attempt this time (if it is indeed him).

If it's not the Riddler, he at least hits on the decent point that Batman should've figured out the real mastermind by now.  The good news is that Snyder and Tynion seem ready to stop treating Bruce like an idiot.  He acknowledges that they still know nothing about the mastermind's identity and sends out the Bat-family to dig up some clues.  Again, as I've complained before about this series, it would be nice if Bruce actually did some detective work himself and just didn't leave it to his subordinates, but I have to take what I can get here.

The bad news is that the resolution of the Bard story is disappointing.  Some imitator dressed like Batman distracted his partner (and alleged love of his life) during a drug bust and she was killed.  As such, he hates capes.  He also apparently hates Gordon, for allowing Batman to do the job that he, as a police officer, is supposed to be doing.  I get that, but it's still a hard sell, based on the details that we're actually given about Bard.  Snyder and Tynion don't confirm that Jason was dating his partner; in fact, they imply that he wasn't.  As such, it seems like a stretch that he throws in his lot with an super-villain with a plan to kill a lot of people because his crush died.  As Bats notes, he willingly played accessory to the deaths of dozens of people -- through the detonations of Batman's arms caches under the cops and all the crimes that went unstopped as he diverted resources to the hunt on Batman.  Again, it seems like a lot just because your crush died.  Snyder and Tynion might be implying that Bard is mentally unstable, and it would make a lot more sense if he were.  But, they need to draw that line a little clearer, since his brutality is really undermining his argument here, that cops are better than capes.

But, even more than that, Snyder and Tynion don't explain to us how Hush found Jason.  I mean, he still had the blood from his dead partner on him, meaning that Hush approaches just a few hours after she was killed.  In a few hours' time, Hush heard about some cop getting killed, flew to Detroit, tracked down the surviving partner, and hatched a plan for him to replace Gordon as Commissioner to get revenge on him and Batman?  Really?  It's like they're not even trying to have this story make a lick of sense.

** (two of five stars)

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