Join us for a trip to DILF city, as every male over the age of 50 gets his shirt off and starts making with the fighting as the Blackgate Riot spins out of control. Batgirl chases down Dr Falsario, Batman and Croc team up against Ten-Eyed Man’s unexplained supernatural plan, and a new hero arrives in Gotham to stir things up. It’s Batman Eternal #20!
Writer: Tim Seeley
Consulting Writers: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, John Layman and Ray Fawkes
Artist: Emanuel Simeoni
Letterers: Dezi Sienty
In the middle of the rainforest, just a short dash away from the local toy factory, Dr Falsario runs away from the marauding presence of Batgirl. Under the watchful eyes of what I’ll charitably call a platypus, he falls into the river, which is never a good idea in Brazil. He looks up to see her swooping down at him.
Things have gone all Buffy Season 5 underneath Arkham Asylum, as the Ten-Eyed Man attempts to sacrifice Croc’s pal Jade in order to open up an inter-dimensional portal which’ll, y’know, do something. It’s not clear what, but Ten-Eyed Man was never big on details. Croc and Batman are making short work of the zombies, which seem to be exploding into red dust after one hit, a bit like they were created by Rita Repulsa or something. Batman tries to offer the villain a plea deal even as the portal is opening right in front of them – let’s have some perspective here, Bats – but Croc goes for a more direct approach. Jason Bard even shows up to tell Batman he has something “on your ass!” which I imagine will please a proportion of the fanbase.
The portal starts sucking Jade in, but Batman catches her with a grappling hook, causing the whole thing to implode in on itself. The ceiling collapses, and our quartet make their escape while Ten-Eyed Man is left behind, presumably crushed to death. Fare thee well, idiot.
The Blackgate riot continues apace, as Maggie Sawyer attempts to negotiate with Volt, leader of the prisoners. Volt’s only interest is in making veiled threats against the nice guard who was nice to Gordon and probably very nice to his pregnant wife and really is just too nice to be allowed to live in a Batman comic. Greg Rucka would’ve killed the guy six issues ago. That’s right: before he even made his first appearance! That’s Rucka-Style. Zorbatos and her informant (who I’ve only just realised is Harper Row’s errant father) are stuck by Penguin’s solitary confinement cell, whilst Gordon is off somewhere else, nobody knows where.
Harvey Bullock calls in to see how they’re all doing, and as soon as he hears that Jim is off on the loose he tells them to just wait and let the Commish save the day. Attaboy, Harv! Meanwhile, though, Leo – the cellmate – has wandered off himself, and is apparently shaving. Is now the time? He shaves off his beard to reveal… whisker marks… and takes his shirt off to reveal a Lion tattoo. Then he sings “In the Jungle” as he puts his dentures back in. Have you got the subtle hint yet, readers?
The rioters are suddenly surprised as a fire extinguisher flies towards them and explodes, filling the area with liquid nitrogen. Gordon follows straight after, shirtless and swinging a second fire extinguisher round like he’s flippin’ Tom Cruise or something. This is a great issue if you like a DILF.
Dr Falsario is still running around in the jungle himself, off his head on fear gas and shouting at anything that moves. He’s the only man in the issue so far to keep his shirt on, which is upsetting because he’s still in that horrible tropical shirt. Batgirl hears him screaming and tracks him down… only to find someone got there first and killed him before she could get to him. There’s an ornate sword stuck in a nearby tree trunk, which I think means Ra’s Al Ghul is going to show up now?
Under Arkham, the heroes escape the cave collapse, and Croc makes fun of Bard the whole way. After checking that Jade is safe, Croc prepares to leave, only for Jason to hold a gun to his head and try to arrest him. Eat him, Croc! EAT HIM!
Back at DILF central, Gordon loses his upper hand when he gets tasered by Volt, who starts getting cocky and taunting. That soon ends when Leo appears, wearing a new set of significantly sharper dentures – Leo murders every one of the rioters, who recognise him as Rex Calabrese… the Lion! You know, the character that’s been mentioned in every prison scene during the series so far? It’s Leo! He’s the Lion! Whoever could’ve guessed?!
Croc admits to killing the cops, saying they were all crooked. Bard continues to try to arrest him, but Killer Croc is a giant crocodile, and so he easily escapes the human man, leaving Jade safe in Batman’s hands.
At the prison, the riot has just about ended, as the police storm in. Gordon is hailed as a hero, and we even get to see that nice prison guard man survived the whole ordeal! Good for you, nice guard man! Just keep an eye out for the ever-present threat of Greg Rucka in months to come. Gordon confronts Rex about why he hid his identity (and why he broke that cover to save his life during the riot) and Rex starts talking about a daughter he has and failed to be a father to. He wants to make sure that doesn’t happen with Jim and Barbara. Aww. Tim Seeley’s consistently been writing the best issues of this series so far, even if they are all bonkers.
Speaking of Batgirl, she returns to the toy factory to find out that Batwoman has sorted everything out and the kids will be returned home. Barbara seeks out Red Hood to give him a hug as thanks for saving her – and finds out that they managed to pull records of the incident which prove her dad’s innocence. Hurray!
With everything wrapped up just for the moment, we turn to a new purple caption, as someone types at a computer. It’s Stephanie Brown, who makes a few untoward comments about online critics (hey now!) before revealing that she’s tired of writing ineffectually. She’s going to go out there and take action for herself – she’s going to become SPOILER!
No, that’s her superhero name. she’s called Spoiler. That wasn’t a redaction just then. SPOILER is back in the Batman Universe!
32 more issues to go!
Steve Morris runs this site! Having previously written for sites including The Beat, ComicsAlliance, CBR and The MNT, he can be found on Twitter here. He’s a bunny.