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.
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.
"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.
Big Bad: Whoever is manipulating all the villains and corrupt cops/officials.
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 might just be his opinion, and he thinks he can speak for all of them though, since Damian Wayne has only ever admitted that Bruce and Dick are better than him, and even that was by the time he was Batman. It's especially difficult to imagine Dick being jealous of Barbara, either.
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 huge role in the story, 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.
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.
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.
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. Minor villains Cluemaster, Hush, and Lock-up also return, and non-villainous characters such as Stephanie Brown and Julia Pennyworth join them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
Running Gag: Nobody gives Arthur Brown the respect to just call him Cluemaster.
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.
Catwoman will become the new leader of the Gotham underworld here.
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.
In Issue 9: "Subject's name is Julia." "Julia Pennyworth".
In Issue 23: "You still go by Kyle, but the truth is you're a Calabrese, Selina."
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 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.
Preceding that was The Reveal of Selina Kyle as the new Kingpin of Gotham.
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.