Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Batman and Robin Eternal #19 Review

Fear Itself

Written by: Tim Seeley
Art by: Paul Pelletier, Tony Kordos, Rain Beredo, Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Price: $2.99
On Sale Date: Feb 10 2016

Okay, I wasn't a fan of last week's issue of Batman and Robin Eternal.  I'm hoping we can all put it behind us and get on with our lives and this series.  I always go into each issue with an open mind, but I have to admit, after getting everything off my chest last week, I was kind of excited to see what Tim Seeley had in store for us in his last two issues of the series.  I did enjoy his other issues so my hopes of something better weren't unfounded.  So, with the big mysteries of Eternal solved and behind us, what does Tim Seeley and Eternal have up their sleeves now?  Let's find out...

The issue opens up in an English Shop and through a crazy little scene, we are quickly reminded how last issue ended...Mother's signal (I promise I won't get hung up on the semantics this week) has turned every kid in town into a cold blooded killer.  It's brutal and pretty awesome and that continues in St. Hadrian's School for Girls.

The kind of destruction going on in St. Hadrian's would make Alice Cooper blush as students are attacking teachers in a free for all attack.  If you are a reader of Grayson, you'll recognize some of the faces, but the most important is Paris Pantoja.  She saves her teacher, Miss Gold, and as they run away asks if she can hear the voices telling them to kill the adults.

Okay, while I would have liked a little more explanation as to why Paris can fight the signal, I'll let it slide because it does set up what happens in the issue and gives certain kids a fighting chance.  Plus, I love Paris and it's a nice little shout out from one of the writers of Grayson. Don't get me wrong though, I really would have loved a little more explanation.

Meanwhile, Harper is still in the basement with Orphan and Poppy and the signal is working it's magic on her.  This is where I really would have loved to know Harper's age beforehand (and the age limit that the signal effects), but again, I'll go with it.  After Orphan quickly tells Poppy the rules of Mother's signal, Jason Todd shows up looking for Harper.  He finds her...and a taser.

We then head to the Spyral Control Center and the bulk of the characters and while Tim yells the obvious, Helena is freaking out and wants to know what is going on.  Really?  Last issue ended with everyone there getting ready for exactly what is happening.  They pretty much spelled it out completely.  

One thing I am used to in this series is the characters getting a lot of exercise...jumping to conclusions!  This time it's Tim who figures out that Mother is after Spyral's Hypnos and the Somnus Satellite.  You know, the satellite that can transmit a large scale signal to the entire world...the one we are just being told about.

That's when the signal makes it's way to Tim and Cassandra...huh???  Last issue, we were told that the room was soundproof and airtight.  What gives?  While I'm starting to get upset again, Dick ended last issue by saying him and Jason were going out to help, so why did he stay behind?  I guess he is just a lazy Dick.  Oh well, Back to our young heroes, Cassandra and Helena battle it out while Tim and Dick fight until Tim shakes it off and jumps to yet another conclusion...Scarecrow's Fear Gas can counteract the ichthys.  I actually like this.  It's a bit of reverse engineering of the process and it makes as much sense as anything else we've gotten in this series...I just wish it wasn't so forced on us.

After gassing the youngsters, Helena, Netz and Tim head off to shut down the satellite, while Dick and Cassandra go off to find Jason and Harper.  After a couple more Grayson in jokes (which I loved), Cassandra slaps a fear gas mask on Harper and while she can't hear Mother anymore, she has a reaction to the gas that really felt off from what Scarecrow told us a while back and what we saw pages before in this issue.  It really felt like a forced attempt at a thrilling cliffhanger.

I liked this issue better than last week's, but there are still so many problems with this series that make me angry with each page flip.  I realize that Tim Seeley is trying to push the story forward, but most of the major revelations in this issue seem to just happen without much explanation.  In the end, I like where this issue seems to be taking us, but I can't ignore the inconsistencies either.

I did like Paul Pelletier's art.  Besides some characters randomly losing their pupils, I had no real complaints and I think the art team did a good job with the extended action and fight scenes in this issue.

Bits and Pieces:

Tim Seeley jumps on Eternal this week and brings along the standard inconsistencies and while the big reveals felt overly forced, they push the overall story forward which I am grateful for.  Paul Pelletier's art was good and I'm not sure if this series has just made me punch drunk, but I didn't completely hate this issue.

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  1. I have sooo many questions about what's going on in this story but at least this issue was pretty to look at.

  2. I would mark this issue on the positive side of the Eternal teeter-tauter. I think showing the fear gas as a temporary solution with side effects was a good touch. They could have just made it heal them altogether and I'm glad they didn't.

    The best sense I can make of Icthys is the signal works like the St. Dumas signal that spoke to Azriel. Because this is Mothers version she had her's specifically target children (possibly 19 and younger) instead of the followers like the church uses it for. So it seems like the signal can target specific groups in certain areas its broadcast (take it for what you will). Since the "fear gas" is the "old way" like Orphan is a fan of it looks like it can counter the signals effects. This maybe why Mother wants nothing to do with it anymore.

    The satellite is new news I'm not 100% ok with at this point in the game but that's how Ive twisted the signal to make sense in my world. Come to my side with me Jim itll get you through to 26.

    1. also cover has Red Hood with his Ninja Blades out so I will need you to add a point to the score just for that.

    2. I agree, This is is defenitly better than last weeks. I really like the way there counteracting the Ichthyis. Because it makes elements that where more promenent early in this run of eternal finally be worth something.

      We have a better understanding at what age the signal has its affect. Which I'm happy about because I've been debate Cassandras age with a few friends. Cassandras somewhere between 18-20 years old which makes sense if you read every flashback scene with Cassandra and Young Dick as Robin.

      And Jim... A much fair score this week. That-a-Boy.

    3. You realize that this review is dedicated to you, you SOB! Maybe it just took me a week to work out my frustratons, but even at a 4.9, I came away feeling a bit more positive moving forward.

      I really liked the fear gas bit and we finally get a better understanding of ages...though that presents a big issue with me about something that happened with Harper before this series (which I will talk about on the podcast).

      The series still has too many inconsistencies for my liking, but if the last bunch of issues are filled with cool action and some information I'll be cool with it.

    4. Branden, those ninja blades are cool!

    5. Jim you know I'm just busting your balls right? You know this series has anyone who reading it at there wits end. But then again not one of us should be suprized, especially if you read the first eternal series. All this series proves to me is that even the best characters in the DC roster, there should be no Weekly Titles published at DC.

    6. I really hope Rebirth gets RedHood more mainstream. Since I came back to comics and saw Red Hood movie he's been oNE of my favorite characters. I want him done better

    7. Id love to see Red Hood on an actual Team Book. Like Suicide Squad Or The Outsider and Justice League Dark. I think we seen enough of him getting over his Problems, now I like to see him Lead an actual team, and go after Villians that Matter again.

      The Tynion Arc of Red Hood and the Outlaws had Jason Take Down
      Ras al ghoul. And the last arc of Red Hood and the Outlaws Had Jason Go Against the Leader Of
      "The Daimonites".

      I'd like to See Jason take on characters like Deathstroke, Black Mask, and Even Trigon, since he is part of the All-Caste he can hand magic level threats as well. That's something the rest of the bat family isn't known for handling well.

  3. There were a lot of parts in this issue that was much better than before, but it also feels really rushed. The opening with the bus crash and the Spyral girls felt perfectly paced, and then a bunch of stuff just awkwardly happened. The art kind of got worse over time. The dialogue was good when it didn't have to rush through various plot points. Still, I'd still say it was one of the better issues.

    1. i agree that a bunch of stuff felt rushed and forced...i know the score doesn't say it, but this was a bit better than the last few issues

    2. Jim, Just to clarify. I'm joking around with you.

    3. i know! I actually admitted on the podcast that I should have went around 1 3.5 last that i've had a bit of time to think about it and read this issue...but that in no way makes you right! are officially the "Batman and Robin Eternal Nazi!!!"

  4. Still not good enough.
    I appreciate that the story moved forward, but with 8 issues left they shouldn't have shoe-horned so much in.
    While the inconsistencies feel unforgivable to me, its the characterizations that are nearly criminal. Apologies for the vent, but:

    1. Red Hood is more than just some jokey-thug, and even at her best, Harper shouldn't have scored a shot on him.
    2. I appreciate Tim being brilliant, but his fear gas "deduction" was laughably forced. I'm not saying it wasn't a good idea, but Tim could have theorized it before his "mothering".
    3. Dick spent the entire issue just looking shocked or disapproving. These are his brothers, his charges, and his students that are being terrorized, and he looked even more clueless than Helena half the time.
    4. And Helena, letting the "bat boys club" just walk all over her Operation, especially if you know her from Grayson, makes me want to vomit lava all over this book.
    Just my 2 cents, -Fall

    1. Have to agree with you on the Red Hood thing, and the Grayson thing.

      Jason would not have been taken down by Harper. That just Lazy ass writing so they can add drama. It reminds me of that issue where the Writer makes Jason tell Tim he's worried because he's running out of bullets. They make Jason seem weak to Prop up other Characters in this Story Even though in my honest opinion Jason is the most Combat Savy of all the Robins.

      Dick did seem pretty apathitic towards the situation, but I guess him showing consern wouldn't have helped the situation.

      But I can believe Tim figured out how to counter act ichythis. That was Tim and Jason's main mission this whole story. Not to Mention he's the smartest person in that Room.

      Helena knows her place.... I know that sounded sexist but it wasn't. She knows that each Robin is Leagues above her when it comes to handling any situation. She a good leader but common....are you going to lesson to Nick Fury, or are you going to lesson to Capt. America.


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