Batman #28: Now For Something Completely Cool
I don’t know if I agree with the timing of Batman #28. This isn’t the continuation of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Zero Year. Instead, Batman #28 is a glimpse into Batman Eternal, the next massive story arc involving the Dark Knight in a new weekly series. I disagree with timing not because Batman Eternal looks bad, but because this set up is so exciting I fear it might take away from the final arc of Zero Year.
Batman Eternal is the future, though we’re not sure how far. Gotham is dying, the Narrows and the outlying areas have become ground zero for… something. Selina Kyle is no longer Catwoman, but instead the new kingpin of all crime in Gotham City. Her past with Batman is still choppy, but now seems to involve the bat leaving the cat to die. Batman #28 centers around an attack on an exclusive nightclub, one for both the criminal element of Gotham and the rich who can pay to be part of it. Batman is going after the club to try and find the source, the one thing that can save Gotham City.
Along for the ride is Harper. Remember her? She’s popped up randomly throughout Snyder’s run on Batman and always seemed destined to assist the Dark Knight somehow. Dressed as a punk rock Nightwing, Harper is Bluebird, and she has a thing for large shock guns. Snyder joins forces here with his protégé James Tynion IV, and in one issue, the team has managed to generate some real mystery and intrigue. There is notmention of the other members of the Bat-Family, but a small exchange between Batman and Bluebird seems to indicate they’re probably still around. Does that mean Dick has survived Forever Evil? No idea.
Snyder and Tynion keep the games going. A silhouette of somebody helping Batman from the cave that is not Alfred, and the reveal of what the “source” is, will be maddening for fans. Usually, preview issues do little to excite me towards a storyline, but this sneak preview of Batman Eternal is quite the bomb dropped in the middle of the Batman universe. I still think it should have come after the end of Zero Year, but I have no idea when all the timing needs to coalesce. Aside from that, Snyder and Tynion set up something that seems very special.
Art for this sneak preview – and for the first month of Batman Eternal, at least – comes from Dustin Nguyen. I dig Dustin’s work, it’s wholly unique onto him. He’s a minimalist with backgrounds, which keeps the action focused. Nguyen does very well with faces, and his specific look for Batman is awesome. It’s like a weird diversion to how Mike Mignola drew him. Derek Fridolfs' inks are solid, and John Kalisz does a superb job with colors. He keeps them in the earth tones, but never allows the work to be muddy.
If the entirety of Batman Eternal is the same caliber of this preview issue, then the bat-fans out there have yet another reason to rejoice.
(4.5 Story, 4.5 Art)