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Comic Book: Batman Eternal

Your allies have been slaughtered. Your city is burning to the ground. I have taken everything from you, piece by piece. Watch, Bruce... Watch as you lose everything.

A typical case for the caped crusader goes horribly wrong when a gunshot from Commissioner Gordon hits an electrical transformer and causes a high-fatality, head-on collision between two subway trains. Gordon is quickly blamed for the event and thrown into Blackgate Prison, but a suspicious Batman soon discovers evidence suggesting that not only was the commissioner framed but that his framing was just part of a far, far bigger scheme by a mysterious villain who seems to be determined to utterly destroy Gotham itself. As the mysteries begin piling up and foes old and new start rearing their heads, the various members of Batman Inc. will have to band together in order to stop this deadly conspiracy, but is it already too late and is there anyone left in Gotham for the Batfamily to trust?

Batman Eternal is a weekly comic-book series running from 2014 to 2015 in the New 52, focusing on the eponymous Caped Crusader, his supporting cast and his Rogues Gallery. Released to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Batman, the series is overseen by popular writer Scott Snyder and a cadre of other creators: James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, Kyle Higgins and Tim Seeley.

The storyline was also the unique feature of a Flash Forward in Batman #28, which teased the return of Ensemble Darkhorse Stephanie Brown.

This Comic Book storyline contains examples of:

  • Absolute Cleavage: Catwoman combines this with a gender-flipped Man of Wealth and Taste look as the kingpin of Gotham crime.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Crystal Brown is apparently getting this, since she's apparently willing to sell out her daughter to her ex-husband, who had just tried to kill Stephanie, whereas in previous continuity she cared a lot for her daughter.
    • Jason Bard is revealed to have undergone this as well.
  • Abusive Parents: Cluemaster is... not a good dad for Spoiler. Her mom isn't so good either.
  • Badass Boast: By the state police in issue 24, to Arthur Brown.
    "You're six miles outside Gotham, sweetheart. You're in state custody, not Gotham. And you don't own us."
  • Batman Gambit: Stephanie pulls this on her own dad in issue 24, getting him captured by the State Police six miles out of Gotham and their jurisdiction (and, thus the ability to get out a free man by pulling the right strings).
  • Beastly Bloodsports: Catwoman breaks up a dog fighting ring in #23. The ring sometimes pits exotic animals against the dogs and this time were using an endangered leopard.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Since Kingpin!Catwoman seems to refute her and Batman's old school Foe Romance Subtext and Dating Catwoman status quo, their relationship is more this and Friendly Enemy; she refuses to take his crap about her new job and explicitly tells him "No more Double Entendres" while choking him with her whip, but helps him find Stephanie Brown.
  • Big Bad: Whoever is manipulating Batman's Rogues Gallery and the GCPD. As of Issue 25, it is revealed to be Thomas "Hush" Elliot.
  • Breakout Character: Harper Row and Stephanie Brown are both intended to be this; Harper is finally going to become a superhero herself, while Steph's entire role in the story is intended to 'bring her more fans than ever before'.
  • Cardboard Prison: Averted by the GCPD now... because Commissioner Forbes isn't even locking Falcone's men up anymore, or anyone Batman captures, including people like Professor Pyg.
    • Bard gets around this by having Vicki Vale around, knowing that the moment they're let out it'll be all over the papers that Falcone's men are running the department.
  • Character Shilling: Jason says all the Robins knew that Barbara as Batgirl was better than every one of them... We never see her particularly that great at being Batgirl, in this series, or ever really. It doesn't help that both Jason and Barbara were wildly out of character during that subplot.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: While it already happened in the reboot thanks to Executive Meddling, Cassandra Cain's lack of presence in the Bat-books becomes far more blatant by issue 20-21 when the Architect from Gates Of Gotham makes his return. Given Cass's role in the story (especially at the timenote ), it raises the question of what happened if she wasn't there. Of course, Batman is the one who reacts with shock upon seeing him, despite not even being a player in the story, so exactly what happened is a mystery.
  • The Commissioner Gordon: Deconstructed Trope: His existence as a known aid to a vigilante puts James Gordon in prison without bail as he waits for his trial for manslaughter in Issue 4.
    • Defied with Bard, who Batman opts to work loosely with after he arranged for Penguin to find Carmine, which led to the death of several men. Batman doesn't kill or allow people to be killed and doesn't trust him.
      • And then, Bard becomes the new Commissioner, and while he doesn't trust him, Batman is willing to work with him; unknown to Batman, however, is that Bard is secretly working to undermine him and help 'Mother' take control of Gotham.
  • Continuity Nod: Cross-continuity, that is. Upon the reveal of Blackfire as a major villain, the death of said villain in Batman: The Cult is gone over by Vicki Vale's newspaper in summary for new readers.
    • There is mention of Nightwing's "Death" from Forever Evil when Batgirl talks to Red Hood.
  • Continuity Porn: Since it's meant as a celebration of Batman's 75th anniversary nearly every major and minor character in the Batman mythos plays some role in the story, including obscurities like Road Runner and Ten-Eyed Man.
  • Corrupt Politician: Mayor Hady is finally directly identified as one in Issue 2 by his "kingmaker" Carmine Falcone.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Batwoman brought anti-hypnotizing lenses and fear gas, just because she might have ran into the person responsible for Jim Gordon seeing things and uses it to make him talk.
  • Dirty Cop: By the time of Batman #28, the nightly patrols of GCPD officers either beat you to a pulp for breaking curfew, or escort you to an illegal nightclub.
    • Invoked by Mayor Hady and Carmine Falcone when looking for a new Commissioner of Police. The man they choose is perfectly aware of who the latter is and what he wants, and has no hesitation in turning the police department into just another cog in The Roman/Carmine Falcone's war on masks.
    • Somewhat subverting the norm, when the Obviously Corrupt Forbes takes the reigns of Commissioner, most of the unnamed officers and SWAT unit appear to follow his example, but mostly due to Just Following Orders. When given the chance to defy him, they willingly support Jason Barb's Batman Gambit to force Forbes into charging Falcone's men, and expose himself as corrupt to give them the evidence to take him down.
  • Dirty Coward: Forbes again. When briefly kidnapped by one of Falcone's men to take him to Falcone, and when he gets there and Falcone is displeased with him, he is clearly terrified.
  • Enemy Mine: Batman and Killer Croc team up to save a little girl named Jade from becoming a Human Sacrifice.
  • Evil All Along: Jason Bard isn't the honest cop he appeared to be; in actuality, he's working with the one behind all what's going on.
  • Evil Plan: Someone manipulates Gordon, a henchman, and the subway trains under Gotham to make it appear that Gordon opened fire on an unarmed man, hit an electric box and somehow caused two trains to collide head-on. Gordon is then arrested and removed from being Commissioner of Police. It's a minor villain who is responsible using tech derived from the Mad Hatter, but he's killed by a knife that links to Carmine Falcone, who states it was someone else pulling the strings. Bard is also working for them, and refers to them as 'Mother'.
    • The Flash Forward at the end of the first issue implies this will somehow lead to Bruce Wayne, unmasked and with the bat-symbol carved into his chest, tied to a broken batsignal while Gotham burns. It's stated in Issue 3 that Cluemaster, Lock-up, and two other minor villains are working for someone who might be manipulating everyone, even possibly Falcone and Batman, to take over Gotham. In Issue 10, Falcone hints that someone else was behind him deciding to go back to Gotham and in Issue 21 outright states that he was invited to do so and shows Batman the card.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The man behind Gordon's disgrace specifically mentions that he'll be targeting the Penguin as well as Batman. By issue #7 he's destroyed Penguin's casino and legacy.
    • The chronologically later Batman #28 implies that Catwoman, as the new leader of Gotham's underworld, has mutual enemies with Batman, inclining her towards being a Friendly Enemy in spite of her proclaimed withdrawal from the Villainesses Want Heroes trope.
    • And as it turns out, Bard taking down Falcone was this as well.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: In-Universe. Cluemaster's choice of colors for his outfit are given an annoyed Lampshade Hanging by his daughter, Stephanie Brown.
    Stephanie: (about bloggers commenting on her information regarding Cluemaster) ...making fun of his costume... I mean, orange and blue, dad? Really?
  • Fighting Your Friend: Batgirl gets the same hypnotic treatment as her father and sees Batwoman and Red Hood as Joker and her insane brother. Red Hood snaps her out of it.
  • First Name Basis: In Issue 25, Batman shows that he and Hush are on this, with them calling each other Tommy and Bruce respectively. Pretty much justified given the latter's history.
  • Foregone Conclusion: There are several status quo changes that have been reflected in the monthly Batman titles, before they were revealed in Eternal.
    • Anyone who's read Batman #28 knows that Selina, not Carmine Falcone, will gain control of the Gotham underworld and that Harper will become Bluebird.
    • The newly launched Arkham Manor book suggests that Bruce will lose the Wayne Estate to the city, and that Arkham Manor will be destroyed.
    • Based on the new direction in Batgirl #35, it's possible that Barbara has a falling out with the Bat family.
    • Commissioner Gordon won't be getting out of prison anytime soon, it seems.
    • Alfred seems healthy and happy as of Batman #35.
  • Foreshadowing: The new Kingpin of Gotham's casino is called the Egyptian. There's two giant statues of cats in the background. As shown in Batman #28, it's Catwoman.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Harper Row.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Killer Croc has become a defender of the poor and destitute, and even helps Batman and Jason Bard solve the murder of a vagrant.
  • He's Back:
    • Carmine Falcone, and Deacon Blackfire return as villains. The former was killed by Two-Face in previous continuity, and the latter had a single (though beloved) storyline back in the 1980's. The former is more of an example in-universe, however, since he's getting revenge for being taken out of power, while the latter is out-of-universe. Cluemaster, Hush, and Lock-up also return, and non-villainous characters such as Stephanie Brown and Julia Pennyworth join them.
    • In an example that is more just within the continuity of the New 52 itself, this storyline shows the Batfamily (sans Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne) coming back together for the first time since Death Of The Family.
  • How We Got Here: The story opens on "The End", where Bruce is chained to a broken Bat-Signal with the bat-logo carved into his bare chest as the city burns around him and the presumed Big Bad taunts him.
  • Insistent Terminology: Arthur Brown keeps trying to say that he is not to be called Arthur, but rather Cluemaster. Nobody listens.
  • Let Me Get This Straight: Played for Laughs in Issue 25 with Julia Pennyworth commenting on the dinosaur animatronic in the Batcave.
    Julia: Let me get this straight. You just made a decision one day... "oh, my twelve-year-old-boy daydream of a base isn't rad enough. I have to get myself a dinosaur."
  • Letter Bomb: Cluemaster delivered one to Stephine's friend's home and killed her.
  • Loophole Abuse: The new Commissioner said to not arrest anyone captured by Batman. Said nothing about leaving them there until they can get free themselves, which Harvey Bullock does.
  • Milestone Celebration: The story is part of the celebration of 75 years of Batman.
  • Mission Control: Alfred to Batman. Later on Julia takes his place.
  • The Mole: Jason Bard.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: While investigating in Brazil, Red Hood admits that his Portuguese is rusty and that he might have just called the boy he was questioning a small horse. He had, but he managed to get the gist of his question across.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Catwoman leans against Batman and stretches her arms in a blatant flirtation. Batman simply looks away. And the irritated look on her face is hilarious.
  • Not Me This Time: Killer Croc didn't eat the face off a body in the sewer since it was someone who he was protecting. Turns out to be a zombie from Arkham Asylum.
  • Obviously Evil: As a standout example, Jack Forbes shows how much of a Dirty Cop he is and all of his immoral, anti-Batman behavior pretty early on, so much to the point that pretty much everybody in the GCPD knows he's up to something. This allows Bard, who is also corrupt and working toward far higher aims, to easily become Commissioner himself with no suspicion until Issue 25.
  • Offing the Offspring: Cluemaster's first real act of note in the New 52 is to try and execute his unfortunate daughter with a Hand Cannon. Of course she escapes to play spoiler on his plans.
  • Oh, Crap: Several:
    • Batman and Catwoman's reaction to Carmine Falcone's return.
    • Penguin when the above mentioned villain is revealed to be attacking him on all fronts before he's ready.
    • The cops loyal to Gordon experience this and some Heroic BSOD when Forbes is revealed as Commissioner. It's a bit less fear and more outright shock, since they realize exactly what this means for the department during the gang war.
    • Stephanie's reaction to seeing her dad and his 'friends' in costume, and Arthur's reaction to his daughter walking in on him planning his plans. Both are pretty shocked and realize things are about to get pretty shit.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: It's easy to tell just how serious the situation gets by the time of Batman Issue 28 from the fact that Selina Kyle openly averts the Dating Catwoman trope with Batman.
  • Pineapple Surprise: Stephanie Brown does this to her father the Cluemaster in #3; pulling the pin on one of the smoke canisters hanging on his costume when he tries to shoot her.
  • Prison Riot: Marcus Row instigates one when he sells information that one of Carmine's people killed one of Penguin's.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Tim and Jason realize that whoever is attacking them is trying to strike them in their heart. They end up grabbing Barbara and the trio go and save Bruce.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Gordon is so much this in Issue 1 that even when he is arrested, he doesn't object at all, letting himself be held accountable for the law, and telling any who try to stop the arrest to let it be. To a degree, Falcone is one: he doesn't pull You Have Failed Me on his subordinates when he's mad at them, unlike Penguin...
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When Jade was taken into child services and then given to her scumbag uncle Killer Croc tracked her down and mauled everyone who got in his way. When she dies he kills everyone in the room and then breaks down.
  • Running Gag: Nobody gives Arthur Brown the respect to just call him Cluemaster.
  • Sigil Spam: It's confined largely to himself and his subordinates, but Carmine "The Roman" Falcone seems to have adopted a red rose as his symbol. He wears it on his chest and his henchman have it tattooed on their heads. Ironically, this resembles the tactics of the "freaks" he's fighting.
  • Smug Smiler: Major Forbes is almost flagrantly corrupt and hostile towards both Commissioner Gordon and Batman, and when the former is arrested for the subway incident, he can't stop smirking and crowing over Gordon's misfortune and has this expression plastered on his face when declared Interim Commissioner.
  • Spanner in the Works: Stephanie Brown earns her moniker of Spoiler when she escapes her father's criminal conspiracy in issue #3. By the time of Batman #28, she's become the Living MacGuffin people are offering millions to obtain.
    • Harper Row to Red Robin. She not only hacks his computer, but she breaks into his hideout while he's in the middle of an investigation and sneaks onto his plane.
    • Bard manages to derail Carmine's plans, and get Forbes, him, and Penguin arrested.
  • Status Quo Is God: Averted. One of the purposes of this story is to establish new status quos for several books in the Batman line, including Batman, Catwoman, Arkham Manor, and Batgirl2011.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Batman, natch.
  • The Stool Pigeon: Marcus Row is the prison snitch who kicks off the Prison Riot.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Several already confirmed.
    • Catwoman will become the new leader of the Gotham underworld here. As without one the gang war cost the life of one of her friends.
    • Harper Row will become a costumed hero named Bluebird.
    • Stephanie Brown goes from a normal girl to the Spoiler, cementing it with her own costume and weapon in Issue 20.
    • Deacon Blackfire goes from a cowardly priest who did manage to gather the slums of Gotham into a revolutionary army to a supernatural being who has even Jim Corrigan worried.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Jack Forbes becomes the interim commissioner of the GCPD, and immediately takes everyone off of every case, including stopping the brewing gang war and being on the lookout for various super villains, in order to make the entire force aimed at taking down Batman, regardless of how much they are needed elsewhere. He even let Professor Pyg go after Batman left him gift-wrapped to send a message that he doesn't work with Batman.
    • Jason Bard is working under the orders of the one who leads to the situation in the bad future.
  • Unexpected Character: Various characters come into play to bring back old elements of the Batman mythos that haven't reappeared in a long time. Key examples are Blackfire, who was in one story in the '80s and never really came back barring one exception, and Julia Pennyworth, who has not been seen since the '80s either.
  • We Can Rule Together: Cluemaster tries this when he attempts to get Stephanie to stand down, saying they could have been "Cluemaster and The Pointer". Steph's response? To groan and point out that a Pointer is a dog. Getting Crap Past the Radar, much?
  • Wham Episode: Issue #26 Gotham enters martial law, Alfred is taken from his hospital bed by Hush and wakes from his coma to find himself in the care of the Joker's Daughter, and Stephanie now has a very large bounty on her head courtesy of her father's friends, meaning she'll have to keep running for her life.
  • Wham Line: In Issue 2. "Say the name." "Blackfire."
    • In Issue 9: "Subject's name is Julia." "Julia Pennyworth".
    • Issue 21: One of the most prominent modern-day Bat villains makes his return to the New 52: "Hush now. Let me show you" .
    • In Issue 23: "You still go by Kyle, but the truth is you're a Calabrese, Selina."

  • Wham Shot: While the character's return had been announced earlier, fans wary of any Smallville comic hijinks were thrilled with the last page of Batman #28: Stephanie Brown in a Spoiler costume, as the Living MacGuffin Batman had assaulted the Egyptian to recover.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Killer Croc calls out Batman for being missing during Forever Evil while Bane was breaking everyone's back.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: As of #20, Steph is wearing a new Spoiler costume highly reminiscent of her Batgirl costume, but given that at this point she's living rough and has no one helping her, it raises the very big question of where, exactly, she got the costume or the means to make it.
  • Whole Costume Reference: Bluebird's new costume (blue and black with domino mask and popped collar) resembles the Pre-New 52 aesthetic of Nightwing so much that fans initially thought she would inherit his codename.

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