cover image Batman Eternal, Vol. 1

Batman Eternal, Vol. 1

Scott Snyder, Tim Seeley et al. DC, $39.99 (480p) ISBN 978-1-4012-5173-4

The art is unpredictable in this collection of the first 21 issues of DC’s weekly Batman Eternal series. The effect may be less intense in the individual weekly issues, but the collision of all this varied talent in a single edition is jarring. While the excellent Jason Fabok launches an ambitious follow-up to the kick-ass Forever Evil series, Ian Bertram, a wonderful artist whose kitschy work evokes some classic Corben, conveys a Liberace-meets-Fabio vibe that is uniquely unsuitable to Batman. As for the story line, it seemed promising at first: Commissioner Gordon is thrown in jail for unwittingly causing the deaths of a slew of subway riders, and Batman must try to regulate the gang war that subsequently erupts, pitting a predictably psychopathic Penguin against the ruthless Carmine Falcone. So far so good. It’s all the ancillary plot lines that subsequently cloud the story, however, that make the narrative completely impenetrable at times. This book is probably best read in increments of no more than two issues at a time. (Dec.)