Same Old Song and Dance
Written by: Ed Brisson
Art by: Fernando Blanco, Christian Dulce, John Rauch, and A Larger World Studio
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 16, 2015
While I was so into this series when it began, I have slowly, but surely started regretting it even before opening the cover each week. I know that's not a professional thing to admit, but I am being honest. So, trust me when I say that each week I go into my review with an open mind and nothing would make me happier than to tell each and every one of you that that issue is kick ass and I am back on the Eternal trolley. A man can dream, right? Well, one of the best things about these weekly books is that after a couple of issues, the creative teams change and it's like springtime in Cricklade. You all know where I'm coming from! So, is this the issue that puts a smile on my face or will I be left looking out my window, longing for better days? Let's find out...
Like life, Batman and Robin Eternal has been like a box of chocolates...you know the rest and it's that unpredictability that makes me shake my fist at Mr. Russel Stover (fancy chocolatier that he is) and the nature of this story. I never know what we'll get, especially when a new team jumps on the book and this week, Ed Brisson gives us a Cassandra Cain origin story. I didn't see that coming. Well, it's here and it wasn't half bad.
The issue opens where we left off last week...Harper and Dick being greeted by " The Sculptor". Of course, they traveled all the way to British Columbia to find David Cain (Orphan, if you're keeping score), but find out quickly that they were lead there by "The Sculptor", who happens to be a telepath. Boy, I hope they tell us her actual name, because I'm already sick of writing "The Sculptor".
While she initially seems interested in Harper, her attention shifts to Dick Grayson and smoking like a bad ass! After Brisson makes sure we know that Dick's brain is locked up tight against "The Sculptor" (seriously!) and that Canadian cigarettes are shit, she tells Dick that he must stop Mother and what she has planned. Okay, I didn't see that coming, but it makes perfect sense, in a sick, perverted way. "The Sculptor" looks at these poor, molded children as works of art that Mother now is trying to destroy. As an artist, she wants her greatest works to live on. No folks, she is not a good person.
The issue goes a bit off the rails when Dick asks the "Woman who molds children and is smoking like a bad ass" to tell him where Mother is and she tells him that she has to show him. With her GPS? Nope. With a hand drawn map where "x" marks the spot? Nope. With a...screw it, she is going to use mind powers, but Brisson already stressed that Dick's brain is Fort Knox, so she has to mind share with Harper. And thus begins the Cassandra Cain origin I spoke of earlier.
The way this all works is that Harper and the "Lady who works for Mother, but want to stop her while smoking like a bad ass" walk through her memories so that Harper can see the evil that is Mother so they will know what they are up against. Problem is, the Cassandra Cain story we see doesn't really involve Mother. In fact, we are told that it all is going on behind her back.
We do get a lot of David and Cassandra Cain and it's heartbreaking and really solidifies Orphan's status as a villain and Cassandra's as a sympathetic character. We see the lengths that Orphan will go to please Mother, but also prove that he is right. Poor Cassandra is stuck in the middle and after seeing the moment when Mother discovered and quickly banished her, the mind share takes a detour to Gotham and a pretty grizzly scene. It may not explain everything, but it shows the reader why Cassandra ran off when Harper grabbed her hair back in Prague.
The issue then heads towards what every reader has wanted to see since the beginning of this series...We finally get to see which Robin Batman got Mother to make for him. Psyche! Right before we get the big reveal, Dick inconveniently freaks out and pulls Harper out of the mind share. God damn it!!! The issue ends with Dick trying to force "The Sculptor (I gave up), to show him Batman and the molded Robin. Please make it happen.
Like I said, the Cassandra Cain origin story wasn't half bad. It basically pulls her original story into the New 52, sets up Orphan as a real asshole and makes me feel so bad for cute, little, serial killer Cassandra. I was actually enjoying learning about Cassandra a bit at a time and through her actions instead of having my hand held, but if this gets it out of the way for better storytelling, I'll be all for it. The only real problem I had in this issue is when Harper first sees Orphan in the mind share and acts like she forgot everything that lead to this issue. She figured out that Orphan was David Cain and traveled to his home, but she sees him and says, "That's the dude who tried to kill me" and has to be told who he is. This series has been full of little moments like this and I'm sure they will continue. Overall, this issue felt like it wanted to be something bigger, but only ended up pissing me off when the channel was changed right at the best part of the show.
I really didn't have much of a feeling toward the art of either Fernando Blanco or Christian Dulce. Blanco did the art in the mind share scenes and it did the job, but don't wow me at any time. Dulce provided the real world scenes and they were adequate, but too quick to make much of an impression on me. What I'm saying is that overall, the art was okay.
Bits and Pieces:
Ed Brisson jumps on Batman and Robin Eternal, but it's pretty much the same old story. We get a Cassandra Cain origin that is nothing shocking and when we are about to get the bottom of one of this series biggest mysteries, we are snatched away and get nothing. Nothing! The art and story just happen and when I was finished reading the issue, I didn't feel any closer to the destination. In fact, I didn't feel much at all.