Mind Capsules – New Avengers #31 and Batman Eternal #49

New Avengers #31
New Avengers #31

Writer – Jonathan Hickman
Artist – Kev Walker
Colours – Frank Martin

Travelling through time and dimensions is a funny thing and can often bring about the unexpected, thus when the identity of Rabum Alal is revealed, it is a little surprising to say the least.  As the clock ticks down to the end of everything and the beginning of Secret Wars, Jonathan Hickman throws yet another little twist into the mix.  One of the good things about it is that it picks up on one of the little plot threads he had going and essentially wraps it up, though we still have to find out exactly what it is that Rabum Alal is doing.  Also great to see was some more of Stephen Strange, new leader of the Black Priests and probably one of the most powerful beings in the universe now that he knows all of their words of power.  An interesting facet to this tale is the involvement of the Black Swans and the revelation of what it is they do, or at least some of them.  It would be nice to see a miniseries or at least a single issue devoted to the telling of their origins and how they came to serve Rabum Alal.  That brings us to the best and worst thing about Jonathan Hickman’s run is that it is so large and grand in scope and filled with such big and epic ideas is that you want to explore them all and yet, you can only do so through whatever it is he wants to show you.  Yet while it might be a little disappointing not to find out all you want to find out, his stories are great for the fact that they really get your mind turning and thinking about all of the things that go unrevealed, which not too many series can claim, though this one can and does.  Kev Walker’s pencils look as good as ever and they really add to that very large canvas that Hickman is painting.  Leaving us on a bit of a cliff-hanger, Walker and Hickman tease us a bit about what is coming next, but as always, you never actually know just what it is they will spring on you until you actually have it in your hands.  It may not a very good introductory issue for new readers, but it is rewarding for long-time ones.

4 out of 5

Batman Eternal #49
Batman Eternal #49

Writer – Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Kyle Higgins, Ray Fawkes, Tim Seeley
Artist – Fernando Blanco
Colours – Marcelo Maiolo

While it had seemed like the Penguin had gotten the upper hand on Jim Gordon in prison, Gordon manages to turn the tables and get himself to safety while capturing Penguin at the same time.  As the prison riot rages on, our heroes are doing the best that they can against the rogues and when all seems lost, help finally makes itself known in the form of Alfred who is not all the prisoner that Hush has thought him to be.  Not only that, Julia makes it to Red Robin’s computer and together, the Pennyworth’s take care of Hush and get the Bat-squad back online and back on track.  Add to the fact that Batman is back in the mix and maybe the city might have chance.  The only thing that is still missing and has not been confirmed as of yet, is just who is behind everything that has been happening.  Is it the Joker?  If so, when is he planning on making an appearance and secondly, when did he get smart enough to orchestrate the downfall of an entire city?  The star of this issue though was Alfred.  Still suffering from the side effects of the fear toxin and imprisoned by Hush, a boy he used to help look after, the man has not had it easy this series.  But with that old army training and a will made of iron, the man is not one to give up easily and he goes on to prove why he is a valuable member of Batman’s inner circle.  For just a moment, we also get to see Spoiler refuse her father’s offer of a team-up, which is probably for the best as he has already tried to have her murdered.  It is hard to put your trust in a guy who does that.  As for what the last few remaining issues hold, you can guess what happens to a certain extent, but there are sure to be a few more surprises along the way.

4 out of 5

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