"Eternal": Months ago, Arthur Brown was out on the same night that the Court of Owls' Talons attacked Gotham City. Despite all the chaos, Arthur had figured out the truth. The legend of the Court of Owls was real, and he
- This is our city. And when Hell is unleashed, we don't run and hide, we stand up. And there's a symbol, a symbol we all know stands for what we can do. What we are capable of. Tonight needs more than just one hero. It needs a city. It needs all of us. Tonight we need to do what he does for us every night. Tonight, we all need to be Batman.
Synopsis for "Eternal"
Months ago, Arthur Brown was out on the same night that the Court of Owls' Talons attacked Gotham City. Despite all the chaos, Arthur had figured out the truth. The legend of the Court of Owls was real, and he had reasoned out where they were hiding - a feat no one else had been able to manage. He broke in to Harbor House and challenged the Court to come forward. When he discovered that every member had been poisoned, he was distraught. He'd formed the greatest plan to bring down the Batman - but without their funds and resources, he couldn't pull it off. There was, however, one remaining member of the Court: Lincoln March, and having just killed all of the other members, it would only take convincing him to see Arthur's plan come to fruition.
Arthur is dead now, killed by his own co-conspirator, who admits that it's a little sad that he didn't see it coming when he was smart enough to figure out everything else. He tackles Bruce over the edge of the Beacon Tower roof with his jet thrusters, and rather than go on another air tour of Gotham with Lincoln March, Bruce pries one of the long shards of glass from his body and thrusts it into the jet mechanism, removing March's ability to control it. Soon, they both collide with the screen from which the Riddler used to broadcast his nightly challenge during the Zero Year.
Meanwhile, Batman's allies have been trying to maintain some semblance of order in the chaos that is the Cluemaster's Gotham. Riots have begun to break out in The Narrows. Having been trapped under a pile of debris, Red Hood calls back to Julia Pennyworth in the Robin's Nest and asks that she record what he's about to say as a message for Bruce.
Lincoln notes the irony of the fact that Bruce will die in the same place that he first revealed himself to the citizens of Gotham. And, with all the pandemonium that has befallen Gotham, all that will remain to explain it will be the Batman. Arthur Brown and his cronies are long gone, but when the people of Gotham find out that a penniless Bruce Wayne is the Batman, both men will be forgotten. The Batman's legacy will be over forever. As if in answer, Jim Gordon's plan rolls out, and the Bat symbol has been painted or projected onto the side of nearly every skyscraper in the city. In the meantime, Bruce ties the remains of his cowl around his head to protect his identity from anyone else who would see the fight.
Jim's voice rings out across the city, admitting that the people of Gotham have seen hard times. He reminds them, though, that there is a symbol to ensure that everyone in Gotham knows what makes them strong. With that, Bullock gives the order, and every flood light in the city shines into the night sky as a new Bat-Signal. Jim explains that this night requires more than just one hero. The people of Gotham City will have to fight for their home, just like Batman does every night.
In her attempt to escape the city, Spoiler is distracted by the Bat-Signal in the sky, and nearly gets hit by a car, were it not for an average citizen leaping to her rescue. She marvels that he went to the trouble, and he explains that he was moved by the former Commissioner's speech.
Unwilling to let Red Hood die in a collapsing building, Batgirl speeds to his location. She is nearly crushed too, when the Talon, Calvin Rose, grabs her and Jason up in his arms and drags them to safety. He explains that Julia put out a call on nearly every network in Gotham - and so every vigilante is on call. Even Selina Kyle, having taken up the leadership of the unified crime families has put her men to work saving lives.
Despite Gotham's rallying, Lincoln March is still intent on killing Batman, but he is surprised by a punch to the face from the Spoiler, who declares herself "Batman". When he recovers, he sees that all of Batman's allies have surrounded him. Desperately, he tosses a smokebomb and escapes into the tunnels beneath the city. Bruce attempts to go after him, but Jim Gordon stops him, drawing his attention to the Bat-Symbols all over the city, and reminding that Batman has things under control.
A week later, Jason Bard visits Vicki Vale at work, and she warns him that whatever he may think, she intends to print her story detailing every evil and corrupt thing he did. Jason admits that he has already resigned the Commissioner's position as of two hours previous, and explains that he's actually come to give her an interview corroborating her story.
Batman, meanwhile, is annoyed to find that Selina Kyle is using a Bat-Signal to call him. He warns her not to, and insists that whatever relationship they had before is done. He knows she was involved with thefts from all of the businesses she helped save during the riots. Smirking, she responds that the end of their relationship was her decision before it was his, and she can't comment on the thefts.
At the ruins of Arkham Asylum, Jim Corrigan explains to Batwing that Batman had assigned them to work together on the Asylum investigation for a reason. Batwing needed to see that there were things beyond his understanding. Now that he does, and seeing how he handled it, Jim offers him a position on his new GCPD task force: the Midnight Shift.
Barbara and Jim Gordon, meanwhile, are catching up after he was in prison for so long, and Jim grumbles that she's pampering him too much. She marvels at how he was able to keep his cool for so long when she nearly crossed the line trying to help him, but luckily a friend had pulled her back from the edge.
That friend was Jason Todd, who can't quite articulate the fact that he has developed some feelings for her since their missions together. He tries to tell her in a voicemail, but can't bring himself to send it. Instead, he calls for his friend Roy to come pick him up, and get him out of Gotham.
In the Narrows, Red Robin checks in on Harper Row and Stephanie Brown, the latter of whom has just been to the morgue to identify her father, but won't talk about it yet. Upon being introduced to her, Tim experiences a certain awkward feeling, and excuses himself. Before he can go, however, she demands to know if Lincoln March was found. Tim can only say that from the pieces of his suit they found in the sewers, it seems like someone got him.
Beneath the city, the Court of Owls has captured Lincoln, and with little sympathy for him after what he did to their leaders, they lock him away in stasis, remarking that they would perhaps release him in a decade, once he had learned his lesson.
Convening with Jim Gordon on the roof of the GCPD Headquarters, Batman admits that it's been a hard year. Jim responds that they're all hard years - but this is what they signed up for. In any case, the city does not sleep, and The Scarecrow is attacking again. Steeling himself, Batman prepares for the year to come.
Appearing in "Eternal"
- Batman Family
- Gotham City Police Department
- Killer Croc
- Selina Kyle
- Spoiler (Stephanie Brown) (Flashback and main story)
- Cluemaster (Flashback and main story)
- Lincoln March (Flashback and main story)
- Scarecrow (Mentioned only)
- Black Canary
- Court of Owls (Flashback and main story)
- Cullen Row
- Roy Harper (Phone call only)
- Vicki Vale
- Casey Washington (Mentioned only)
- Penny-Two (Mentioned only)
- Scarecrow's reappearance during the conclusion leads directly into Batman (Volume 2) #35, which was released a few months earlier.
- This issue is reprinted in Batman Eternal Vol. 3.
- Spoiler next appears in Catwoman (Volume 4) #42.
- Batwing next appears in Batgirl (Volume 4) #43.
- Talon next appears in Batman & Robin Eternal #24.
- Killer Croc next appears in Batman (Volume 2) #36.
- Harper Row next appears in Batman (Volume 2) #39.