Written by: James Tynion
Art by: Fernando Blanco, Roger Robinson, John Rauch and Marilyn Patrizio
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 6, 2015
This issue starts the second half of Batman and Robin Eternal and from talking to anyone who will actually talk to me, the trolley is getting less and less crowded with fans. I can't blame readers who got off at an earlier stop because after the crazy hype that proceeded the first issue's awesome cliffhanger, we haven't really gotten much to keep the fan's interest piqued. I'm not saying that EVERY issue has been bad, just most. However, I'm going into this issue with high hopes as I liked the last issue and James Tynion is back again this week for another go at it. So, did Tynion make it two in a row or will more people tell me they are dropping this book? Let's find out...
This issue starts up with a Prague flashback involving Batman and Robin busting up a chemical plant with the Batmobile and I'd love to say it looked like an episode of "Breaking Bat" here, but I'm classier than that. While the Dynamic duo fight off the Heisenberg wannabes, Batman gets a private call for none other than Scarecrow. He wants a face-to-face with Batman and has even set up a diversion to take care of Dick for a bit. Batman isn't so hip to the idea at first, but when Scarecrow tells him it's about Mother, he suddenly gets more interested.
I am so glad that we finally are seeing Scarecrow again. It's obvious that he plays a big role in the story so having in M.I.A. for this long felt odd to me. Now, if we can only get any of the Robins to seek him out in the present, I'd be even more satisfied. Seriously, why hasn't Dick paid him a visit?
Speaking of the present, we head off to the Nursery and surprise, surprise...nobody has blown up just yet. While it seems silly to think that Dick, Harper, Cassandra and Orphan would die here, the bomb is still ticking away and time is running out. While Dick tries to "convince" David to call a temporary truce, Harper and Cassandra run off to disarm the bomb. Neither happens, but we get a couple really cool developments here. Dick takes care of Orphan by channeling his Bat anger, but also gives a pretty cool speech about why they fight for Bruce. It's the first time in this series that I actually felt Dick give Batman some love and it made me smile. The other part I liked even more. When Harper fails at disarming the bomb (I bet Tim Drake could have done it!), she freaks out, but then hugs Cassandra and tells her she's glad she met her. After seeing what Cassandra's "upbringing" was like last issue, it was a really touching scene.
I do have to mention one thing that bothered me, however...how old is Cassandra? This is actually a question I'd like to ask every artist who has been on this series. This issue she looks to be around 18, she has looked as young as 12 and everything in-between. It may be a nitpick, but it's really getting on my nerves.
Something that didn't get on my nerves this week was Batman. Tynion almost seems like he is running damage control the last two issues by giving us back the Batman we know and love. I'm sure Scarecrow wouldn't agree as Batman listens to his proposed team-up plan and then tells him what is actually going to happen. He might help Crane escape Mother's clutches, but only after he does what Batman tells him. If you like the idea that Batman plans for everything and is always a step ahead of everyone, you will love this scene. I know I did.
The issue ends with Dick, Harper, Cassandra and Orphan (yes, Orphan) flying out of the Nursery just as it blows up. Dick sets course for his current workplace with the promise of finding out the truth, once and for all.
I really liked the last two issues of this book and especially enjoyed this one. Tynion may not have given readers as much of a forward push with the story as I'd expected, but he made up for it with some awesome character work. I now demand that Cassandra gets more play once this series is over, love that Dick told everyone (including the reader) why he fights for Batman and finally love this Batman and see that he isn't the bad guy that we thought he was at the beginning. For crying out loud, I even felt bad for Orphan and was happy that Harper hasn't forgotten about her brother like it seemed that she had. That's a whole lot of "likes" and "loves" for a book that I've been so down on.
Besides Cassandra growing older since last issue, I liked the art in this issue as well. I loved the way Scarecrow looked and liked the faux newsprint accents of the flashbacks. Fernando Blanco, Roger Robinson, John Rauch and Marilyn Patrizio did a really good job here and it made me wish that there was a consistent team throughout this series.
Bits and Pieces:
While this isn't a jumping on point for new readers it may be a good jumping back on point for those who took this book off their pull lists. Actually, go back and get last weeks issue and this one and hope for the best going forward. James Tynion did a great job of laying the foundation of great character work and I can only cross my fingers that the other writers will grab the baton and not drop it before the finish line. For now, I'm back on the Batman and Robin trolley.