This is it! We have finally caught up to the point where Batman 28 connects with Batman Eternal. As always we start with the cover, we see Selina Kyle strangling the Spoiler as Batman watches from outside a window. If you read Batman 28, you know the basic story of this event but now we get to see it in detail. We begin with Batman and Bluebird hunting down a person. I do not know who, but I think it may be Selina Kyle. In two of the panels we see Batman with an unusually square shaped head. With how he has been acting lately, I guess the artist figured out he is a block head. In all seriousness, this is probably just the artist’s style.
[ For those who haven’t read Batman 28 here is a link to a great synopsis on the DC Comic Database Wiki: http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Batman_Vol_2_28 ]
We learn as we turn the page, that this issue comes after the events of Batman 28 as we see Stephanie Brown is rescued and is hiding in Bluebird’s apartment. This is kind of unfortunate. I would have hoped we would not have to read Batman 28 to understand this issue. There is so much potential lost because of this. We could have seen the story in Batman 28 more developed. Stephanie Brown and Bluebird argue about Batman’s methods. Bluebird’s brother, Colin, tries to calm the situation with no success. I kind of like the anger between Bluebird and Stephanie Brown. It makes a lot of sense and sets up great potential. We get a flashback of Stephanie Brown being held hostage by Selina Kyle. We don’t get to see much except one of Selina Kyle’s cat bugging Stephanie Brown. I’m not sure if we needed this but it does provide insight into what she has dealt with being a hostage.
As the flashback continues, Selina Kyle tells Stephanie about how she bought every casino in the city and that she is going to auction Stephanie Brown off. I never thought Selina Kyle would ever sell another human being. As a reader of the Catwoman comic, I do remember Selina Kyle once stopped a human trafficking ring or something along this line. So why is she going to auction off Stephanie Brown? Selina Kyle uses the threat of the auction as a way to get Stephanie Brown to talk. Did I just walk into an episode of the Soprano’s or not? I have no idea of what Selina Kyle’s plan is but I guarantee you it is not good.
While still in the flashback, we cut to a toy store where Bluebird is hanging out with her brother. They run into Red Robin in his civilian identity, Tim Drake. Colin acts like a kid and almost exposes Bluebird’s identity which is predictable and funny. Red Robin takes Bluebird back to her place to recruit her for a rescue mission. I see. We are seeing the before moments leading up Batman 28 and the moments afterwards. This is clever from the written point of view but I wish they would have made that clear on Page one. Bluebird is upset when she finds out that Red Robin is a messenger from Batman instead of hearing from him directly. She feels he doesn’t trust her. Bluebird has every right to be upset and I would feel the same way.
We return to Selina Kyle’s casino as she taunts Stephanie Brown by calling her a fake hero. Her speech makes her sound more evil. Every word she says makes me want to hate her more. Selina Kyle continues her chat with Stephanie Brown as she verbally attacks anything she can. She also learns from one of her bodyguards that Batman is coming. This causes Stephanie Brown fear which is inconsistent with other issues. We also see Selina Kyle’s tactical intelligence sign in this scene.
A half an hour later Batman and Bluebird break into Selina Kyle’s casino starting the events of Batman 28. The fight scene is something straight out of the movie, The Matrix, and is awesome. One problem with this scene is one and a half pages is just a single panel of Batman and Bluebird breaking into the casino. I feel that the artist could even have got away with a single page. Batman and Bluebird finish fighting Selina Kyle’s thugs as Bluebird makes a snarky comment and Selina Kyle just asks Batman what he wants. This is a scene straight out of Batman 28. There is not much to say here that other critics have said already.
We cut to right after the event of Batman 28 where Batman and Selina Kyle are negotiating the release of Stephanie Brown. Stephanie Brown flat out refuses to go with Batman but I still don’t understand why. Stephanie Brown tells Batman that she doesn’t want him to use her for information. After Batman agrees, Stephanie Brown walks out of the casino with Batman. I guess that kind of makes sense. I don’t know. I’m still scratching my head.
We return to the present where Bluebird and Stephanie Brown have a heart to heart conversation. I didn’t think it would take this short a time before these two girls would get their anger resolved. We end this issue learning that Stephanie Brown believes Bruce Wayne is Hush and that is why she doesn’t trust Batman. In this world, everyone knows that Bruce Wayne funds Batman but they don’t know that he is Batman. Having Stephanie Brown think that Hush is Bruce Wayne would automatically make her mistrust Batman. This issue was very interesting and left you questioning until the very end