Well, here we are at the end of the road. Was this story worth a full 52 issues?
Oh hell yeah! I enjoyed the hell out of this one!
The last volume of the story pulled out all the big guns with one or two noteworthy exceptions. There’s no sign of the Joker, and while Joker’s Daughter might be some sort of substitute here, she isn’t quite up to the Joker. That’s fine. She’s only one in a crowd at this point.
But for anyone wondering where all the big name Bat-villains were hiding, they all seem to show up here as the Gotham City really goes to hell. Mr. Freeze, Clayface, Poison Ivy, Joker’s Daughter,Bane, and Scarecrow all form an alliance. Batman has to leave town to track down the Riddler and later decides to check in on Ra’s al-Ghul. Are any of these characters the mastermind behind this whole mess?
Well, all I’ll say there is when the actual mastermind shows up, is it a bit of a surprise. It doesn’t come completely out of left field, but it works.
However, if anything, this last volume shows what happens when people think Batman is a loner. He isn’t. He really isn’t. He has allies, and some damn good ones, gaining Bluebird and Spoiler by the time the story ends and getting Jim Gordon back as a free man. If anything, I think the last few chapters of Batman Eternal demonstrate just how good and important an ally Jim Gordon is. He isn’t some stooge. He plays a vital role in how things function.
We get that to a lesser extent with Alfred, but we’re always known that about Alfred. Gordon sometimes just seems to be the guy who calls Batman when something bad goes down. Here, we see he’s a highly competent leader of men in his own right, and when the last chapter tossed in a fantastic two-page splash panel of Batman’s allies lining up behind him, it was only appropriate that Gordon be front and center and toss off a bad-ass threat to the villain in front of him.
And all this stuff goes down when Batman’s resources are cut off. Between Hush’s actions in Volume 2 and new Commissioner Bard’s actions here, Bruce Wayne finds himself operating without any money. Wayne Manor is the new Arkham Asylum, and Batman is literally running low of gadgets.
Now, granted, stories like this often set up some sort of new status quo, and Bruce still doesn’t have his company back at the end of this story, but the other “big” change is Catwoman consolidating organized crime under her own control. That’s an interesting change, one that I know didn’t last because, well, she isn’t that any more, but there was one thing that bothered me about that storyline and it was her wardrobe. Why was she wearing a nearly unbuttoned blouse with her business attire? I realize Catwoman is generally a character who uses her sexuality to her advantage, but that just seemed more silly and unnecessarily fan service-y for my tastes. She can be an effective mob boss without exposing her belly button.
Anyway, that a few other minor complaints aside, most of them related to some of the artists DC needed to use to get the book out on a weekly schedule, this was just a fantastic Batman story. And even if it did leave some loose ends for future ongoing series, it still felt like a complete story. Not enough big stories like this feel that way.
9 out of 10 satisfying Hush beatdowns.