Batman Eternal has been doing a better job of Batman-based detective work than every other title on the market. This issue stars Batman going to Hong Kong to get more information on Carmine Falcone.
The B story features 'The Roman' and his new commissioner looking to take out Catwoman. He has a grudge with Catwoman to settle (which incredibly ties back to the Catwoman Zero Year issue. Kudos to John Layman for setting the groundwork so far in advance!)
Though I will admit, it was a little surprising to see Catwoman be so arrogant as to just be waltzing into vaults without more of a scouting job, but it's a nitpick in the grand scheme of the story.
Back to the A story, Batman teams up with his Japanese counterpart, who has also come to Hong Kong to help with the gang war. I honestly wish that Cassandra Cain hadn't been wiped from continuity because this would have been a golden opportunity to see her again, but what's there is good.
My biggest issue is that the resolution to why The Roman left was pretty freaking obvious, though it does leave an interesting implication that we'll be seeing Yakuza and Triad members in Gotham. I'm also interested in whatever prospects were presented to Falcone and how it ties into the mind-controlling nanobots and supernatural weirdness going on with Joker's Daughter (mostly because I have yet to make sense of those creative decisions).
As for the art, it's not out-of-this-world but it's solid enough, and it gets points for not going cheesecake on the female characters, which reminds me, the character reveal at the end was an unexpected twist, but I honestly don't know how OK I am with the character yet. She seems to be a cool addition, but I've only had one scene with her conscious to make a judgement.
Overall, the issue is an 8.8/10. I think it could have been stronger but it's good for what it is.
This is the first crossover joint-produced by DC and Dynamite Comics and they go all out. Kevin Smith was a great pick for this storyline and he immediately captures the feel of both sets of characters.
Their first crossover on TV was fascinating because the two shows had such drastically different tones, but it was made to work and work well. This one appears to follow in the same vein, making Britt Reid and Kato wise-crackers but ultimately serious, while Bruce and Dick remain their campy 60s selves.
The manner in which they upgrade General Gumm was not as grotesque as advertised, but I certainly won't complain about that. This is exactly the kind of wild villain scheme you'd expect from a 60s villain who suddenly wasn't bound by TV budgeting.
Bruce and Britt's interactions were great as they tried to impress the other, and I laughed at seeing Bruce actually look a little flustered.
The biggest disappointment was the missed opportunity at showing more of Dick Grayson's date. I know it's not something the show would do, but I feel like there could have been some real humor if one more page was dedicated to it. It probably would have been more welcome than the dialogue between Gordon and O'Hara, though I'm not angry I got that fun piece of back-and-forth.
Probably the highlights of the book were the opening scene at Wayne Manor (where Bruce and Dick were spot-on perfectly written) and the closing scene reminiscent of the old-school Batman cliffhangers. I really hope we get a "Same Bat-time, Same Bat-channel" reference before this is all said and done.
Overall, it's a 9.6/10. This is going to be hard to beat for Book of the Month and it's a clinic on how to debut a series. I'm looking forward to buying this over the next 5 months. If you want to read it early, grab it in multiple parts online, but if you want to save a little and get a great comic to flip through, wait for it to be printed as a full comic each month.