Batman Eternal was the first weekly series of DC’s New 52 running 52 issues starting in June of 2014. Like many of DC’s weekly series, this one is written and drawn by a committee of talented creators. On the writing side the book features Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, Kyle Higgins, and John Layman. The team split up the plotting and scripting duties and despite this and the large cast of characters the characterization is actually quite consistent. The art in the first volume starts very strong with one of my favorite artists Jason Fabok on issues 1-3. The list of other artists on this book is looooooong and while I find a shift in artists distracting at times it didn’t seem to bother me here. Besides Fabok we also see the work of the very talented Dustin Nguyen, Andy Clarke, Trevor McMarthy, Mikel Janin, and Guillem March.
This series takes place in the New 52 continuity and sees Batman fighting a war on every front that will affect each of his allies and involve him battling a large and varied number of foes. Crime wars, the normal array of freaks and James Gordon behind bars. Each piece of the story seems randomly added to the problems that plague the Dark Knight but are they actually separate or is there a mind organizing everything. Despite any clues, seeing how this all pieces together is going to be very difficult for the Bat-team.
Volume 1: 2014, ISBN: 978-1401251734, Contains Issues 1-21
Volume 2: 2015, ISBN: 978-1401252311, Contains Issues 22-34
Volume 3: 2015, ISBN: 978-1401257521, Contains Issues 35-52
Background – This series features characters that have been introduced over decades of the history of Batman. Here is a list of some of the main characters in the series and where you can read more about them.
Carmine “The Roman” Falcone – While Falcone’s first appearance was a part of the classic Batman: Year One, his character and the Falcone family were more thoroughly fleshed out in Batman: The Long Halloween.
- Batman: Year One (Paperback – Deluxe Edition) by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli; ISBN:978-1401207526; Collects Batman #404-407 (1987)
- Batman: The Long Halloween (Trade Paperback) by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale; ISBN: 978-1401232597 ; Collects issues 1-13 of the 13 issue limited series.
Deacon Blackfire – Batman Eternal marks the return of this character to New 52 universe. While he is interesting in this volume, I highly recommend reading his back story in the four issue series Batman: The Cult from 1988. This is still one of my favorite Batman stories of all time. The book was by two masters, Jim Starlin and Bernie Wrightson, and was released in a gorgeous prestige format
- Batman: The Cult (Collected Edition) by Jim Starlin and Kyle Higgins; ISBN: 978-0930289850; Collects Batman: The Cult 1-4
Zachary Gate – One of Scott Snyder’s achievements in the Bat-verse is to give Gotham city a history and to make the city itself seem like a character. Zachary Gate was introduced in a mini-series by Snyder and Kyle Higgins with a history of the past of the Waynes catching up to their heir.
- Batman: Gates of Gotham (Trade Paperback) by Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins; ISBN: 978-1401233419; Collects Batman: Gates of Gotham 1-5
Hush – Hush was introduced as a villainous counterpart with a personal conflict with Bruce Wayne as much as Batman. He has returned a number of times but this first story line is my favorite. Loeb writes a great tale and Jim Lee and Scott Williams are at the top of their game.
- Hush (Collected Edition) by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee; ISBN: 978-1401223175; Collects Batman issues 608-619.