You remember Arkham Asylum, yeah? It got blown up didn’t it? Well the guy who was actually behind all that stuff, Professor Milo, sure seemed to have gotten away with the whole thing didn’t he? Time for Batman to pop on over to Gotham airport to go catch himself a mad scientist! It’s Batman Eternal #44!
Writer: Ray Fawkes
Consulting Writers: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Tim Seeley and Kyle Higgins
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr
Letterer: John J. Hill
Two rando police officers – I still maintain that they should always use the Gotham Central cast whenever they have a scene in the GCPD because at worst a reader doesn’t care and at best you get a little exciting spark of recognition – are assigned to tie everything up that relates to Arkham Asylum’s recent explosion. A bunch of minor villains were all rounded up and captured following the Asylum’s collapse, and they’re all sat in the interrogation room, working through their individual gimmicks. Ten-Eyed Man has cloth tied over his hands so he can’t ‘see’, Maxie Zeus is talking in Shakespearian, and Magpie is straight down to business working herself a plea deal. Magpie might actually be awesome.
The one name on all their lips is Professor Milo, the man in a lab coat who seemed to be all over Arkham and then vanished once Batman appeared. Cue: Batman. Across Gotham, Batman is working on tracking down Milo – they seem to be pulling out all the stops here, which in this case means Red Hood is helping out a bit.
Elsewhere (and this is one of those issues which jumps between a million characters) we find that Luke Fox is still trying to fend off the ghosts who seem to be following him everywhere. He’s been working hard on creating a suit which, y’know, busts the ghosts in some fashion, and it looks like he might be getting somewhere with that. “Save me!” cry the ghosts of the damned, and Batwing says “no”.
In the Narrows, Spoiler and Harper are having a bit of a rowdy do because Steph doesn’t want to be under house arrest. Also she thinks they should go take out Bruce Wayne, because he’s clearly behind everything. She saw him helping her dad (she definitely saw Hush) so he’s now her #1 target. As she tries to jump out the window to go storm Wayne Manor single-handedly, Harper attempts to taze her, which leads to a very close-quarters fight which isn’t very easy to work out. I think Harper wins?
Prof Milo attempts to flee to Caracas, wearing a great disguise of some sunglasses and a flat cap. Unsurprisingly the coppers come calling for him, so he pegs it. They quickly surround him, but he reveals that his suitcase is full of Fight Gas – gas what makes you want to fight people. He releases the gas on the coppers, who start shooting each other. As Milo attempts to escape in the chaos, Batman smashes through a skylight – duh – and knocks him to the ground. Milo tries to start a fight, that obviously goes badly for him, and Batman leaves the guy dangling from the rafters on a rope as he heads off to then rescue the police by fighting them all. Once they’re defeated, he returns to pick up his mad scientist. I guess this is all designed to act as a coda to the Arkham Asylum stuff, but it feels cheap not to let Batwing get some kind of final victory here. I hope he does get something else to do before the series ends, because he was important at the start and it feels like they lost his thread somewhere along the way.
Milo attempts to climb up the rope he’s hanging from, which shows impressive core strength, and then he gets onto the roof of the hanger and tries to do a runner again. He races past some staff – stabbing one in the neck with a syringe, so I hope you feel guilty about that one, Batman – and off across the airfield. As he thinks he’s made a Prison Break-style escape a spotlight shines down and we see the Batjet hovering directly over him. He chooses to surrender rather than be “neutralised”, which all in all is the smart choice. Batman, not wanting to take any risks, orders the jet to shoot Milo repeatedly.
But only with rubber bullets, of course! Which smash up all the remaining syringes he had on his person. How did he get past airport security? In Gotham?
At this point Batman gets nasty, beating up Milo and demanding answers about who set him up to take over Arkham. We get some babble about there being a mix of science and supernatural powers which combined to let him cause all sorts of weirdo chaos through the facility. He also reveals that he got one of those cards inviting him to take over Gotham, so there remains someone else out there who pulled the strings here. I mean, no duh, of course the main villain wasn’t going to be Professor Milo, but I do like that he got this issue to have a escape attempt, even if it should’ve been Luke doing the capturing.
Anyway, as Batman tries to finalise the details with Milo, the ghosts appear out the ground and start reaching up at him. Oh no! G-g-g-ghosts!
8 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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