Written by: Ed Brisson
Art by: Scot Eaton, Wayne Faucher, Allan Passalaqua, Corey Breen
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 27, 2016
We have a little over two months left of this book and while it hasn't been my favorite so far, it has been better than the previous Bat weekly, Batman Eternal. I'm not saying it's perfect...hell, it's not even close to being great, but after the last handful of issues, I am having fun reading it and that's something I rarely said during that other weekly. The last couple of issues have focused on Cassandra Cain, Azrael and Jason Todd all while jumping back in time to show Batman's increasingly dark interaction with Mother. It's all lead to this issue and it really seems like we are about to get the first big reveal of the series in the back alleyways of Cairo. So, do we and is it possible that Batman did the unthinkable? Let's find out...
The issue opens in St. Hadrian's School for Girls and if you are in the know, that means Spyral. Dick is there with Helena Bertinelli and Orphan. Well, he's with Helena while Orphan is behind glass. He may not have any shoes on, but he's got a big mouth and he won't shut up any time he can insult Dick with the tired lines about Batman never trusting him. Dick seems to agree, but when Helena jacks up some hypnos for interrogation purposes, Dick even feels sorry for Mother's (used to have a ) right hand man. However, Dick doesn't hesitate to ask the question everyone whose read this book since issue #1 has been asking...What was Batman doing for Mother in Cairo?
Orphan is one tough dude and spits in the face of the hypnos. How? Poppy told him all about them and he trained to overcome them. I don't know why, but this little bit reminded me of Dread Pirate Roberts and iocane powder, As you wish. Well, we don't get any answers from Orphan so we flashback to Cairo to find out right from the source.
The alley is running red with blood and there is Batman with the smoking gun. It really looks like he did it guys...until we find out he didn't. Seriously, you really thought Batman killed that kid's parents? Well, he didn't and wait until you see who calls him out on his little lie. It's a bit convoluted and some of it makes little sense (why is there so much blood? Were the parents willing participants and why would they do it?), but the worst thing about it is that the whole scene just fell flat. I was not surprised one bit and even a dummy like me saw it coming months ago.
It gets worse as Batman fights Orphan and yells out some of the crappiest dialogue this weekly has seen. He tells Mother what Scarecrow did (I can only think that will bite Crane in the ass one day) and yells out his undying love for Robin. It really felt off. Then Batman detonates a whole bunch of bombs and I'd usually say something like, the guys always one step ahead, but the bombs don't really stop anyone or anything. In fact, Orphan jumps back on Batman and the fight starts resembling the one in They Live. You know the one! Seriously, they go back and forth so much I expected Rowdy Roddy to show up and try to force the sunglasses on Orphan. Just when the scene was about to end badly for Batman. we head back to the present.
Talk about slamming the breaks on momentum, back at St. Hadrian's, Harper isn't fitting in with the locals and Dick and Helena aren't getting anywhere with Orphan. Right on cue, Jason and Tim show up and even though last issue ended with them sending out a message on all Spyral satellites, Dick is surprised. While they talk shop, Harper sneaks in to talk to Orphan. I guess she did it to yell at him about Cassandra, but the brute turns the tables a bit by hinting at who Cassandra killed a while back in Gotham. I'd love to think that it isn't the obvious person, but after seeing how the Batman situation was resolved earlier, all bets are off.
This was an okay issue that was brought down with some very obvious resolution which itself lead to some pretty bad pacing issues. This issue should have been huge, but after waiting all these issues, the mystery just fizzled out. Such a shame.
Scot Eaton's art was good this issue. The only thing I didn't like was the present day Orphan. His look changed throughout the issue and it was a little distracting. Everything else looked good and the Orphan/Batman battle was a highlight...and a highlight...and another highlight. It went on a long time!
Bits and Pieces:
This should have been one of the better issues in this series, but it was just limp, mate. The mystery of whether it was really Bruce holding the smoking gun in issue #1 was solved...in a really lackluster way. This whole issue was a letdown and suffered pacing issues and while the art was good, this issue really wasn't.