Batman has an idea that Ra’s Al Ghul might be the one behind everything! He packs up his bags and heads off to Pakistan to find out what’s going on, and walks straight into some real tedious ominous monologues and a bunch of villains who were supposed to have died years ago. And they ALL want to talk his ears right off. It’s Batman Eternal #46!
Writer: Tim Seeley
Consulting Writers: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes and Kyle Higgins
Artist: Alessandro Vitti, Christian Duce, Ronan Cliquet
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr, Matt Milla
Letterer: Steve Wands
Poison Ivy kicks off this week’s issue, having taken over another massive greenhouse for a lair. Of all Batman’s villains, she’s probably the second-easiest to find at any given moment, because she’s inevitably going to be in a greenhouse. The easiest to find, of course, is Mr Freeze, because he always puts a bloody great big ice mountain on top of whatever building he’s occupying this time. Ivy’s pretty chuffed here because she’s taken out all the other supervillains, which leaves Gotham ready for her to take over – as long as she can stop all those heroes, I guess.
Batman isn’t such an issue at the current moment, as he’s in Pakistan, beating up some ninjas and trying to find out where Ra’s Al Ghul has gone. For reference, because I can’t be bothered typing that name out every time, I’ll be calling him RAG for the rest of this recap. At this point even Batman is tired of going through the same old routine with RAG – beating up the preliminary ninjas, ominous cackling, all that malarky – and wants to just sit down and have a talk with his dear old father in law. To prove that point, he drops a giant light on a bunch of ninjas, which is looks painful.
Nearby, a man in a nuclear suit aqualung sort of thing with a skull for a head is working on some machinery for RAG. This is Dr Darrk, who has clearly been through some things since I last read about him in a comic. RAG pops up on the monitor to quickly confirm that he’s not actually the big villain of this story, as I think we all suspected, and then they start talking about, erm, time travel. Oh no.
At Blackgate, Catwoman walks in to go have a chat with her dad, ignoring some of the things that an overzealous and presumably now time-limited janitor yells at her. Selina’s annoyed that it looks like her dad has started setting up his black market again from his prison base, with deliveries arriving at the docks. Her cronies are getting nervy about there being a market on the docks, so she’s here to get dad to shut it all down and leave her alone. He denies it, so she says that if he’s telling the truth, he should prove it by finding out who is actually behind the shipments.
Julia isn’t having the best of times either, what with Hush still being holed up in a see-through cage within the Batcave. She’s put up curtains so he can’t see her shower in… what appears to be a natural waterfall at the base of the cave? It’s like I’m A Celebrity. He says some real creepy stuff whilst she’s trying to have a nice brood in the shower, which causes her to call him a “bloody mummy bastard”, which is fun. She slides some army rations into the prison once she finishes, then heads over to check up on Alfred, who is still sleeping off some fear dreams. Those are back! She complains that she’s got a hangover herself – turns out she drinks Guinness, which doesn’t seem likely – before being alerted to something happening to Batman in Karachi.
As she tries to patch through, she gets cut off and Batman is welcome by the faceless voice of RAG, just as he is every time he heads over to these caves. He must practice these speeches. I wonder if he podcasts? Good way to check how your presentation skills go over. Anyway, it seems he’s used time travel to move them all into a moment which is “timeless”, so the past and present and future can all show up as weird fever hallucinations through the rest of the issue. Yaaay. RAG is such a tiring character nowadays. He’s a slog wherever he appears, all smoke and mirrors.
Batman looks round the room and sees various visions of the future, including Tim Drake in the Batman costume; Batman Beyond; Damien in his costume from that alt-future issue Grant Morrison created during his run. That last one seems to actually impress Batman in some way, who puts a hand on his hallucinated son with pride. Oh wait! Is Damian dead at this point in time? That’d be why. As Damian vanishes into smoke, a bunch of rando Batmen show up, ready for a fight scene – or they would, if Batman didn’t get as bored of this as me and turn his attention instead to the skull in a giant thermal outfit. He punches out Daark and demands answers. Of course, this being an issue about RAG, the answers are only questions. Ugh.
Someone called “Lord Death Man” shows up, which is how you know Tim Seeley really enjoys reading Grant Morrison comics, and Batman rolls his eyes through beating the guy up. It’s really impotent as a fight scene, which is why Batman wanders off halfway through because he just doesn’t care anymore. RAG comes back on the tannoy and explains that he isn’t responsible for this current major conspiracy which has sought to ruin everything for the Dark Knight, which is all Batman actually wanted anyway. Job done!
The smoke fades away, and reveals that RAG is actually not in any shape to be doing any conspiring right now – he’s in a hospital bed, still injured from their last fight. Batman is pissed off at having come all this way to find out there’s a different grandmaster behind everything, and RAG puts a comforting hand on his shoulder like “don’t worry petal, you’ll find your nemesis soon, and I’m sure you’ll do a great job of besting him, really you will.” Once that’s over, RAG will then come for Batman afterwards, giving him a sporting rest period beforehand. What a gentleman. Apparently RAG did get one of those cards welcoming him to Gotham, but he burnt it.
That takes us to Blackgate, where The Lion is trying to sort things out. One of his boys comes over and hands him a shipping manifest of everything that’s come in black-market to the docks, but none of it makes sense – it’s nonsensical gear and items. That’s when Rex realises… the supervillains are all still out there in Gotham: Freeze, Scarecrow, Joker’s Daughter and Ivy are all still in the city somewhere. And they’ve gone BONKERS on Ebay. A massive supervillain carnival is making its way to Gotham, and Batman’s too distracted to do anything about it!
6 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.
This post was made possible thanks to the Shelfdust Patreon! To find out more, head to our Patreon page here!