Bane Of My Existence
Written by: Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly
Art by: Roge Antonio, Allen Passalaqua and Saida Temofonte
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 2, 2015
If you held a gun to my head and asked me my overall feeling for Batman and Robin Eternal, I'd say that I like it. Then I would call the police when you weren't looking and make sure you rot in prison for what you did. While you were locked away, you'd wonder how the story ends because they don't let you read comics where you're going and I wouldn't tell you because you are a jerk. What does this have to do with this week's Eternal? Nothing at all, except that I want you to know that while I haven't been too kind to a bunch of the individual issues in this weekly series, I still have an overall feeling of positivity when thinking about it. That and I support gun control...or maybe a-holes with guns control if that's a thing. Let's get on with this week's issue...
The issue begins with Tim Drake and Jason Todd flying over Santa Prisca and yes, this address changes all the rules. Just like smelling smoke and looking for fire, you see Santa Prisca and you know good old Bane will be arriving shortly and indeed he does. He's also on the cover, so it's really no surprise at all!
I have been complaining about Jason and Tim's role in this book since nearly the beginning. They may not be the main focus, but what they are doing seems important enough. So, why is that every time they show up, it feels like we've missed an important scene? It just happened when they went from kicking a guy out a bar door, to chasing a tech dealer with no explanation between. Last issue ended with them finding said tech dealer (in an awesome fear induced cliffhanger) and now they are flying over Santa Prisca. Tim has a throwaway line about other tech dealers, but it is a poor explanation and just comes off forced. Speaking of poor and forced, Jason and Tim's dialogue is that as well. Someone explain what Tim is talking about in the panel below.
Hey, we get a shark repellent joke, haven't seen that before! Well, at least we get a Red Hood, Tim Drake, Bane three way! That's sounds like fun, right? Well...
First we get one of the most ridiculous bits of redecorating I have ever seen. Again, I will leave it to the actual page to do it's work because it is more ridiculous than I can give it justice for with mere words.
But Jason, it looks so pretty! We finally get to the main attraction, Bane and things do not get much better. It's no surprise that their meeting devolves immediately into a fight scene and I personally wouldn't have wanted it any other way. However, it is a whole bunch of macho bullshit which I usually love in a battle royale like this, but it is not fun and just feels like filler and nonsense.
We then travel to Prague and visit with Dick Grayson and Harper Row. If you remember last issue, Dick was hoping that something would pop up to show them where to go next, but nothing does. I'm serious! They have no idea where to go next. The whole scene seems to set up Harper to be an ass to Dick and establish that she is the best (and worst) of the three Robins in this story. Almost like she was made to be the perfect Robin?
We finally get to the meat (and Cheese?) of the issue...Bruce going to see Mother to get his "trophy". It's a really good scene that shows the reader that Mother was one step ahead of Batman from the get go and knows so much about him. It even suggests that what Bruce is doing to Dick may be what inspired Mother to go from "making" debutantes and socialites to children warriors. Time will tell, but the scene ends with Mother looking into the future and predicting that Bruce would come back to her in a buyer's mood.
We end the issue with Bane, Jason and Tim in Santa Prisca and while we get some clues that seem stressed too much not to be important down the road, nothing compares to the cliffhanger reveal of a long overdue fan favorite. I don't know how he fits in the endgame of this story, but I am officially intrigued.
I will not mince words here, this issue was horrible. Please don't let the potential fun of a Bane/Robin team up or the awesome end reveal fool you into thinking otherwise, this issue stunk on ice. I hate to be be mean, but Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly are not superhero comic writers and it shows. The dialogue and script in general came off as someone who researched the characters they are writing, but never truly knew or understood them.
Roge Antonio's art was okay. That's about it...okay. The story had some big moments that Antonio took advantage of, but I wish he didn't make Tim and Jason look so similar after Jason's Red Hood mask was destroyed. Also, why can't every artist on this book sit sown and agree on a standard look for Harper? It's starting to really piss me off. That being said, the final page did look awesome so I'll give him credit for that.
Bits and Pieces:
This is my least favorite issue of Batman and Robin Eternal yet. It's not just the awful dialogue, but the feeling that the whole issue only exists for the big reveal ending. It's pretty damn awesome, but doesn't justify the forced and boring story that lead to it. If you want to learn how to make a Red Hood, Red Robin and Bane team up no fun, this is your instruction manual.