Written by: Ed Brisson
Art by: Scot Eaton, Wayne Faucher, Allen Passalaqua, Gabe Eltaeb and Saida Temofonte
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: February 2, 2016
A weekly comic book takes a lot of commitment from all parties involved. I'm obviously talking about the writers and artists, but I'm also talking about the readers as well. In fact, I'm talking about them the most because I am one of them. Sure, that is a bit selfish, but we are the ones paying money each week and all we ask for is to be entertained by a good comic book. I'm only speaking for myself here, but I don't think the creators have lived up to their part of the bargain. Sure, there have been good issues and moments, but overall, this weekly has been inconsistent and the good times have been few and far between. Did this issue start a swing towards the positive and get the story in order before the home stretch? Let's find out...
The issue opens in St. Hadrian's where the Robins have teamed up with Spyral to figure out what Mother is up to and then how to stop her. The majority of the early dialogue is between Dr. Netz and Tim Drake and it's okay, but the whole concept of them working together and what is actually said feels very off to me.
If you have been reading Grayson, you well know that Netz is no good. Maybe it will be revealed that she is up to something, but as of now, she seems on the up and up. Bullshit! It may be a timing thing, but having her and Helena helping Dick and company just feels wrong. Then there is what Tim says about ichthys...it only works on children. Yet, the thing that got Tim and Jason heading to St. Dumas in the first place was a "signal" that triggered a bunch of adults at the Welcome Back Gala for Bruce Wayne. Somewhere between then and now, it all got warped and perverted into something that fir the story better. Again, Bullshit!
Meanwhile, Harper is where we left her last issue...in Spyral's prison yelling at Orphan. She just can't believe her ears as Orphan badmouths Cassandra. Really??? It's all leading to what Cassandra did when she was in Gotham with a night to kill. I usually don't like to spoil things, but I want to talk about what happened and if you are surprised by any of it, you haven't been paying attention at all. Before going on, I have to ask the question...where the hell did Poppy come from? I looked back at last week's issue and Harper and Orphan are alone. There doesn't even appear to be another cell last week, but all of a sudden, one appeared with Poppy in it. Neat trick.
We then get our first flashback and again, it spits in the face of last week's issue. Brisson left Batman seemingly knocked out with Orphan hovering over him, but here they are fighting again. I wouldn't mind it if there was an explanation, but there is none. Then Batman brings down the house and Orphan and Mother are trapped under the rubble. If you get the feeling I didn't like this issue so far, strap yourselves in, it's about to get real bumpy.
Mother tells Batman to reach into her pocket and get out the device she has there. If I didn't know better, I would have thought that Mother was looking for a date! Is that a small device in your pocket, Mother, or are you just happy to see me?!? It's some sort of video recorder that shows Batman the who, what and where of his heir. We see a man and woman and it's so obvious who they are. What's not obvious is who is recording this video. Seriously, who the hell is there in Gotham filming these "lowlifes" as they steal copper pipe in an abandoned building? The video continues as the woman gets murdered and the man gets away. Who is recording this?!?!? I won't even get into the dramatic close ups this mystery filmer is using. He or she is the Orson Welles of hidden murder videos.
This all leads up to the big reveal that Cassandra was in Gotham to kill Harper's parents. Who out there is the least bit surprised? It's bad enough that this was so obvious, but it pissed me off that Brisson toys around so long to reveal it. Everyone involved (especially Tynion and Snyder) must really think that everyone reading this book are just grade a morons. Well, we are paying for this piece of shit story so they may be on to something. I also want to mention that at the beginning of the series, Mother told Orphan that Cassandra was a disgrace and she never wants to see her again. She doesn't seem to have any issues with her now...during the most important mission ever. When did she have this change of heart? When?!?!?!?
The book then goes back and forth between present and past with Orphan telling Harper that Batman knew and didn't take her in as his new Robin and Batman yelling at Mother until she does the only cool thing in this entire issue, bite a hidden cyanide tooth and seemingly dies. At this point, I could care less. By the way, at this point, it seems like Poppy and her cell have disappeared.
The issue ends with the Robins figuring out that Mother may use the signal (which I'm now so confused as to what it actually is) to target schools, just as it targets St. Hadrian's. Boy, could that have been timed any better? That's when Dick realizes that Harper is missing and we are left wondering what will happen next month when she is under the signal's influence. Guess what? Poppy's back and I hate this series!
I don't think I can tell you how much this issue infuriated me. We get yet another lame reveal that is presented like it's M. Night Shyamalan worthy...come to think of it, it is. By that, I mean it is pure and utter crap. This issue is filled with so may inconsistencies that everyone involved should be ashamed.
Scot Eaton tries his best to pull the book up by his art alone, but sadly, it's as inconsistent as the story. Some of it looks pretty good, but then you get a panel like the one below. Since when is Cassandra a 75 year old asian woman???
Bits and Pieces:
While I haven't been the biggest fan of Eternal up until now, this issue makes me want to give up reviewing this book, travel to Tibet and become a monk. In fact, I want to do anything and everything to avoid reading another issue like this ever again. I now officially hate Batman and Robin Eternal.