Hush has taken over the Batcave and the inmates have taken over Blackgate – Batman is still out of town, and the Bat Fam are all in some serious trouble across the streets of the city. Who will step up and save the day? Would you believe, the character who was put into an easily escapable death trap last week? It’s Batman Eternal #49!

Writer: Kyle Higgins
Consulting Writers: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Tim Seeley and Ray Fawkes
Artist: Fernando Blanco
Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo
Letterer: Steve Wands

The police are heading across to Blackgate en force to shut down the latest breakout that’s started to take place, this time caused by Penguin. Bullock, Sawyer and Bard himself are in the lead car, which leads me to assume that Jason Bard is just going to talk out this story in one piece, and without being held accountable to having worked alongside Falcone and Hush; getting Jim Gordon locked up in the first place; and attempting to kill Batman?

In the prison, Gordon is being held by that big tall dude from last issue – his name is Terry, which is a curious choice because I don’t think it’s a pre-existing character – and about to get shivved by Penguin. He makes a jibe that provokes Terry into punching him and dropping him to the floor, which is exactly what he wanted. Jim quickly rolls into the nearest cell with Penguin in his arms, before shutting and locking the door so it’s just the two of them in there. Gordon smacks Penguin round a few times whilst the goons watch on, unable (and unwilling) to get involved. After a quick reference to Watchmen, Gordon watches as they all walk off, not invested enough in Penguin’s wellbeing to traipse all the way back to the main controlroom to unlock the door. Jim ties Penguin up with a bedsheet, so everything’s handled on this end.

The Bat-Fam are having less success now Hush is playing around with their comms. Bluebird and Red Robin are especially struggling, and it looks like Joker’s Daughter is swinging Batgirl around by her ponytail? Hush watches it all on his computer feed, having a great time, the best time. Alfred is in the see-through cell now, so it’s his turn to watch on as everything goes down – and to get involved, because Hush hasn’t put the mute function on. He asks why Hush is doing this, and Hush says “because they’re his, and I love breaking his toys”. With that, he randomly decides to override the controls on the Bat-Boat and drive it off into the dock, use it to sink a cargo ship or two. As the boat heads off, Hush takes a break from mocking the Bat-Fam to walk over to the cell and mock Alfred more directly.

His mistake, of course, is to underestimate Julia, who steps into Red Robin’s “Nest” and activates the computer there, which is the only one more powerful than Batman’s computer.

Stephanie Brown is getting an aerial tour of Gotham in her dad’s helicopter – the ClueChopper? – after he grappling hooked her last issue. He’s changed his mind on wanting to murder his daughter though, offering her the chance to join him instead and work alongside. He WAS impressed by her clue-setting skills! Just like Catwoman predicted. Aww. Stephanie, not particularly tempted by this Empire Strikes Back-like scenario, takes the Luke Skywalker option and bails out the helicopter – unlike Luke, she doesn’t lose a hand in the process, however. Cluemaster watches on sadly as Stephanie stares him down and then runs off across the rooftops in her Spoiler outfit.

Hush watches on as the Batboat heads towards the nearest cargo boat, which is probably full of tulips for Poison Ivy or something as villains are the only consumers in Gotham’s current economic climate. Just as it’s about to smash into the side, it veers off-course as Julia hacks the system and takes back control for herself. She mocks Hush, which alerts Hush as to what just happened. As they engage in a hack-off, Alfred very quietly whispers an override code for his cell and sneaks out whilst Hush is completely distracted. He advances on the villain and lands him in the back of the head with a double axe-handle. Macho Man would be proud! He breaks Hush’s leg and then knocks him out with a single blow to the head.

Go Alfred!

He leaps to the console and undoes the hacks on the Batboat and the Bat-Fam, enabling all the heroes to regain control of their tech and regain their respective fights. That isn’t quite enough to level the fights though, because all of them are battered and bruised. As Red Hood and Bluebird are knocked down and about to be defeated, Batman flies back into airspace and welcomes Alfred back to the batcave. Help is coming.

Bane, in his cyborg suit, looks up in the air just in time to see Batman flying his fighter jet directly into his path. He jumps up in the air and launches a superman punch at the plane, as the issue ends on a Rocky climax! Who will win? Cyber-Bane or Bat-Plane?? This comic has gone so far off the rails and maybe I’m just punchdrunk but I think it’s brilliant.

 

3 issues to go!

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