The Architect has been set loose from Blackgate and he’s taking some builders hostage at The Beacon, that building which I think got mentioned in the first issue? And…. yep, that’s the entire issue! It’s Batman Eternal #22!

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Writer: Kyle Higgins
Consulting Writers: Scott Snyder, Tim Seeley, James Tynion IV and Ray Fawkes
Artist: Jorge Lucas
Colorist: Brett Smith
Letterers: Dezi Sienty

Julia is on the ol’ Bat-Mobile, putting in a Bat-Call to the Bat-Man – but he’s Bat-Ghosting her. As she explains to his voicemail for probably the hundredth time, Alfred has been taken to hospital and is in a coma. She wants Bruce to stop jet-skiing with ballerinas (or whatever) and get his playboy ass back into Gotham so he can do something right for his butler for once. As she hangs up she looks at the grandfather clock, and decides to try putting in the time that Alfred mentioned to her last issue – lo and behold, a door opens up inside the clock, leading to somewhere mysterious. I wonder where!

As she heads down, two random dude go up the top of the Beacon Tower, which I think is a Wayne project. They legitimately have an argument for four panels about glass panelling, which may be a new low (or high?) for the Batman franchise, before The Architect races in and mows them down with a machine gun or something. That’ll teach you to try and educate us about the difficulties of hiring in glass vendors! Looks like we’re in for a hostage situation.

So where is Batman during all this? He’s flapping around Gotham at random, wondering why Alfred isn’t talking back to him through the ear-piece. He finally seems like he’s about to head back and see if Alfred is okay, six hours later, but then gets distracted by whatever’s going on at the Beacon and swings off in that direction instead. I bet this’d make a great Arkham Asylum level.

Meanwhile, Julia has found… the Bat-Cave! Okay, you were probably expecting that. As she walks in, the cave spots her and switches itself on, connecting her through to Batman. He’s not pleased to see her there, but she’s even LESS pleased to see HIM there, which is nice. She lets him know that Alfred is in hospital, but he tells her that he doesn’t have time to deal with that right now. Always the people-pleaser, that Batman. He wants to go to the Beacon instead and beat some people up, pretending that he’s secretly worried about the hundreds of people who might die if an empty building site suddenly blew up. Julia is understandably unconvinced.

Jorge Lucas draws her like she’s made out of gingerbread:

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At the Beacon, we find out that The Architect (it’s hard not to write “Seth Rollins” after typing that) was apparently secretly involved in the planning and design of the structure from the start. I bet all those issues with the glass panelling were all his fault! That fiend! He goes off on a small-scale villainous rant – y’know, a quick warm up for the rants to come. As he does so, Batman smashes through a window and takes out some of the random minions, which I suppose is cool but I always wonder: surely going through a window first takes out a lot of the force from your karate kick?

Solitary named hostage Andrew and The Architect (seth rollins) bicker a little bit about nothing important while Batman goes around kicking everyone’s head in. Then we get to see what The Architect was up to – the girders holding the building together are actually giant “tuning forks”, meaning a small vibration into them sends the whole building shaking, promising to tip the maybe ten builders who were working there at midnight into the abyss. Batman asks Julia – who he calls Penny-Two, charming – for help, but she obviously has no idea how to work a Bat-Computer. Eventually she points them to a lift shaft, which seems to have a Bat-grappling hook installed for just such a circumstance. The hostages all escape, which is probably a sign that the skyscraper is totally going to collapse at the end of the issue.

Batman then nips upstairs to rescue Andy by hitting The Architect with an explosive batarang. Andrew is given a zipline to escape down on, which is pretty brave. The Architect pops back up to fight Batman briefly, although it’s more of an aggressive hug than a fight. The building continues to vibrate, making a “shhhh” noise, which is clever enough. Batman wants answers, but The Architect is more interested in doing a little bit of villainous boasting – he claims he’s already won, that the building was just a start, and also that “Trondsen” was part of it. Is that Andrew? I really feel we could’ve used an origin miniseries for Andrew Trondsen which set him up properly, perhaps with lengthier sequences about the tensile strength of the glass he needs for each floor of the building.

Sure enough, it turns out that Andrew was one of the targets here for some reason, as Hush catches him at the other end of the zipline and promptly shoots him through the heart. At this point Batman catches up to the “shhhhh” hints and realises that Alfred’s attacker broke in through the library (where you have to be silent!) and that means there were clues all along establishing that, yes, it’s our old friend Hush pulling the strings of this particular plot thread.

The final page confirms this, which is odd because we do already know all of this. I guess now Batman does too, so yay? Andrew is dead though, so booo. Maybe they can bring him and his razor-sharp charisma back as part of the next Crisis series? Just thinking out loud, this issue was terrible.

 
30 issues to go!

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