Halfway through Issue #21 of Batman Eternal, you think that you are reading a filler comic. It isn’t bad, but is one of those issues that this series churns out every now and again, where the story is slowly built upon, but is mainly an excuse to add some character development to proceedings. Good, but not essential. However, when the comic hits the halfway point, it speeds right up to the maximum, hitting us with a terrific scene with Alfred, a brand new villain entering the fray (no spoilers, but he is one of my favourites!), and a twist that will shake the foundations of this story.
Tomb Raider is back, with a brand new story. The series is on shaky ground right now, not winning over any new fans, but partially annoying the current Tomb Raider crowd. A new story could be just the ticket to make Gail Simone’s series feel more best-selling. While trekking through Snowdon, commemorating a touching childhood moment she had with Roth, Lara is struck with a vision. The vision includes her dead friend, Alex, begging her to save his sister who is in peril from something.
Harley Quinn finally goes to Skate Club, where she is allowed to unleash her full Harley carnage on her opponents, without any repercussions. I had dedicated this entire paragraph to explaining the plot, but… that is about it. Um… next paragraph! There Are No Rules is a pretty weak addition of Harley Quinn. I just don’t like the skating stories I think. They are predictable and don’t hit the mark quite as well as you want them to. I still stand by my point of the jokes being the same, but slightly bigger each time.
Welcome back to the Inter-Comics Indie Spotlight, this column aims to make you, the readers, aware of cool indie/crowd funded comic book creators and projects!
We have another double whammy of creators for you this time, with Kevin Joseph and Ludovic Salle co-creators of Tart. Within the lusciously drawn pages of Tart we meet Tart Acid and the world she inhabits, the world of The Toxic Fruit. From investigating the disappearance of a boy in 1950s New York, visiting a demon dimension and arriving at the coldest moment in the history of our planet, Tart is a time twisting adventure for fans of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and quirky, kick ass women led comics everywhere!
Wild Animals continues the streak of action-packed fight scenes. I slightly prefer the last issue, but at least Eternal seems to be picking up the pace at a rapid rate. Here, we get the conclusion of three storylines and the birth of another one. We start off instantly with Batman, Croc and Bard taking on Ten-Eyes and his army of spectres. This storyline is tied up a little too neatly for me, but it does feature some neat set-pieces.
This time around we have the brilliant duo of John Lees and Iain Laurie, the talented creative team behind Comix Tribe’s new psychological thriller And Then Emily Was Gone. The story is a dark horror-mystery that tells the story of Greg Hellinger, a man who sees monsters. A former detective driven to the brink of madness by terrifying apparitions, he is tasked with finding a missing girl called Emily. Hellinger’s search takes him to a remote community in the Orkney Islands, where strange and terrible things are happening…
Thank you Gerry Duggan; this is what I’ve wanted to see in my main Batman title. Batman #34 is a wonderful one issue story called ‘The Meek’ which is a welcome break from reading some really long story arcs. The plot is your standard find the murderer book, but instead of using copy-cat killers or any of the usual big names we get a nameless, disposable villain; which in my opinion does the book a lot of favours.
Out of all of the upcoming Harley Quinn issues previewed online, this was the one that I was a little unsure about. The brief summary tells us that Harley Quinn will be covering as a burlesque dancer at a bar. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes; I love Harley Quinn, but I really didn’t want to see the writers try and use the comic to act out their Harley Quinn skin suit fantasies.
This was quite a jam-packed issue, but in the right way. It cleverly picks up three stories that each have something different to offer. Batman carries on from last issue, tracking down the mysterious kidnappers in the sewers, teamed up with Killer Croc and Bard. It is nice to see these three great characters, even if they do little more than lurk around and look awesome (the artwork for Croc is terrific). Then we have a brand new plot-line with Jim Gordon.
We have writer/artist Zak Simmonds-Hurn in the spotlight this week, he is the sole creator of his own series Monstrosity, which has issues #1 & #2 out already and he is a regular contributor to The Phoenix, an all ages comic which was recently featured in a Guardian article entitled ‘The Phoenix: The best kids’ comic in ages’, where it was proclaimed as “a phenomenon: a beautiful, enjoyably silly story magazine for girls and boys”. Zak does work on the Simon Swift and Sky Drifters segments!
This was a much stronger effort from Batman Eternal, mainly because we finally got to see Batman be Batman for an extended time. The issue is split fairly between Batgirl’s investigations in Brazil, as she teams up with Red Hood and Batwoman (why did Batgirl and Batwoman have to be sent on the same adventure? This is far too confusing for novices like myself!), and then Batman’s pairing with Bard. There is also a nice sprinkling of Jim Gordon, a character we must not forget is at the heart of this entire saga.
This time around we have the double pronged attack of Slorance and Bell or Slorabell! It’s everyone’s favourite Dungeoneers Neil Slorance and Colin Bell, co-creators of the magnificent all ages comic Dungeon Fun, not a self help guide to creating a BDSM lair, but an action/adventure comic in the vein of Zelda! Voted 61st best comic of 2013 by CBR and recently sweeping the board at the Scottish Independent Comic Book Awards, it is a genuinely funny piece of work that everyone can enjoy and should be thrust in front of every school child in the UK!
This week, Harley Quinn backs away from story-telling and returns to its usual nonsense self. The issue pretty much just has a few sketches of Harley getting up to mischief. While it is a little disheartening that little happens here, it still provides enough laughs to keep us invested in the story. First Harley takes on some thieves who break into a pawn shop, which she is selling some jewellery stolen from a dead victim in one of the previous issues.
Last issue, Deacon Blackfire was revealed to be the master behind the strange going-ons at Arkham and this issue handles his further invasion of Gotham. Jim Corrigan and Batwing try to fend off the first wave of his minions from the deep, but with the Joker’s Daughter and the endless numbers pressing against them, they are really struggling against the odds. Also, in other news, Bluebird and the Red Robin confront the man behind the nano-technology, always pushing closer to discovering if Jim Gordon really did hallucinate the gun in the man’s hand.
This week, we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of Batman! Jack and Dan are joined by Mathew Wilmot and the Inter-Comics Batman expert, Chris Fenn to discuss the news, reviews and their favourite stories about the Dark Knight. Stay tuned until the end for some musical treats and clips from our previous guests, all about the Caped Crusader!