It is somehow both cool and uncool to like Batman.
On the larger, overall scene, being a fan of the Dark Knight is almost expected, particularly after the runaway success of Christopher Nolan’s movie trilogy. Go to any Target, Walmart or the like, and you’ll find not only several Caped Crusader toys, but also several clothing options (including Batman pajamas and a robe that I really need to own, except for the fact that I absolutely don’t need them).
In the comic book world (not to be confused with Comic Book World, which, by the way, happens to not only be the best comic shop in Florence, Ky., it’s my favorite comic shop in the world), however, liking Batman isn’t necessarily a good thing. Oh sure, collecting key Golden Age and Silver Age titles is one thing, but among modern readers, you’re usually going to find Batman ranking behind several smaller titles on a list of people’s favorites.
To be clear, I enjoy my share of those smaller titles (seriously, Saga — if it can be considered “small” at this point — is the best thing out there, and I love Letter 44 and Southern Bastards), but what DC Comics is currently doing with the Dark Knight is a thing of beauty to behold. I’ve been a huge fan of the New 52 Batman title, but recently my focus has turned to a different title.
Batman Eternal is an on-going saga told over the course of one year, with a new book released every week. An accident has left Commissioner Jim Gordon is prison as the primary suspect, leaving the Gotham police force in shambles and completely susceptible to corruption (and since it is Gotham City, you can bet corruption will blossom).
Carmine Falcone returns to the city to take charge as the primary mob boss, once again asserting his position over the likes of the Penguin and other villains. Meanwhile, Batman must rely on the help of the entire crime-fighting family to keep Gotham somewhat manageable.
While this is an overly simplistic description, the story (and the art) is far from it. This is a gripping story that has readers anxious for the Wednesday rollout at their go-to comic book shop. Batman Eternal is one of the year’s best titles, small or large. That in itself is pretty cool.