Arkham Asylum is in a complete mess – Corrigan has been captured, Batwing fell into an underground lake, Joker’s Daughter is still around and Deacon Blackfire has possessed the body of Maxie Zeus. Worse still, he monologues about “fetid water” a whole bunch, ew. Is the Asylum doomed? It’s Batman Eternal #29!
Writer: Ray Fawkes
Consulting Writers: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Kyle Higgins and Tim Seeley
Artists: Simon Coleby
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr
Letterers: Dezi Sienty
Alfred isn’t in a great place after getting jabbed in the brain with fear toxin – in fact, he appears to be hallucinating that DC are once again trying to reboot Swamp Thing, which completely freaks him out as the issue begins. Must be an OG Alan Moore fan. Doctor Milo and Raven check in on him, so at least they’re being diligent about completing their daily rounds on all the patients. Private healthcare is a wonder.
In the basement, Corrigan has been captured by Deacon Blackfire, who is possessing the body of Maxi Zeus (so much has happened since I last wrote about this series!) The plan is for Corrigan to be used as the conduit for evil to flow into the real world, duh, and Blackfire takes this as an opportunity not to monologue about his secret plans, but instead to bang on about fetid waters and black suns and all that typical gothic stuff. Ray Fawkes undoubtedly kept a book of dark poetry when he was young. You can sense the Emily Dickinson radiating off the pages. In a nice touch, the gothic monologue is actually what tips Corrigan off to the fact that Blackfire isn’t particularly smart – someone else has been pulling the strings here.
Joker’s Daughter is sitting on a dumpster, where she belongs, with some poor chump stuck inside it. She sees a note nearby which tells her to go back to Blackfire to go help him, and I’ve no memory what Joker’s Daughter is actually doing at this point, who the dumpster person is, or who she’s working with right now. It’s a great feeling and I hope in future I will live in a permanent state of never thinking about Joker’s Daughter again.
Hush has some of Batman’s blood in a bottle, and he drops it on a supply hatch for Batman, which he then booby-traps. Good to get to see a bit of the process, really. We never get to spend much time on villain set-up, it’s usually magical bombs and deathtraps from nowhere. I hope the next scene shows him carefully preparing a trap door.
Underneath Arkham, Batwing wakes up and starts making his way back up to the cellar, fighting putty patrol monsters and stuff on the way. Batman comes into comms – the real Batman, I think – and Batwing is finally able to put in his report that things are real freaky out here, dude. Bats is on his way.
Magpie and Dr Milo have a fascinating but confusing talk, which touches on the bizarre stuff going on in the asylum and how little it makes sense – and you have to admit, Fawkes has made this a really woozy part of the overall story. Magpie is off her meds, Milo is defensive and still not really giving much away about himself. He mentions the fact she was killed a few issues ago (I can’t remember if she was, and I’m not going back to check) and points out that this was never followed up on. Meanwhile, Bane is sat in his cell, watching everything quietly and probably wondering what the hell is going on here. Bruja.
Batman summarises that Arkham is part of Bane’s grand plan to annoy Gotham into submission, along with the traffic lights, the bombs, the nanomites that have affected kids in the Alleys which STILL hasn’t been followed up on yet. As he reaches Arkham he sees the police are getting ready to fire on the prisoners, and having played through Arkham City he’s one step ahead this time: he gasses the cops and takes down their helicopters. Batwing gets hooked up to Julia Pennyworth’s computer systems and he sends her the Riddler code from a few issues ago, which she starts to decrypt.
Joker’s Daughter heads back into the Asylum and gets orders from one of the putty patrol, who she promptly puts down with a crowbar. She rationalises that the notes she’s been following can’t have actually been from Joker, because he never gives her orders. BECAUSE HE DOESN’T KNOW YOU EXIST!! I’m glad we’re on the same page, JD. She realises that she’s being played too.
Corrigan is still trying to unsettle Blackfire from his plan, which seems to be bring out the Spectre. I’ve never read a good story with the Spectre, so Blackfire is truly villainous in this moment. Milo, Batwing and Joker’s Daughter all converge on his location – Batwing’s suit is in one piece, but not working very well, in classic “opening level of Metroid” fashion. No grappling hook for you, Batwing! He flies into battle just as Blackfire completes his incantation and Julia unravels Riddler’s code.
The Arkham explodes in green light. This is either the apocalypse… or Blackfire has just summoned Farore’s wind. We’ll have to find out next week!
23 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.
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