The Rules are the Rules
Art by: Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez, John Kalisz, Gabe Eltaeb and Marilyn Patrizio
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: March 16, 2016
Hello ladies and gentlemen and welcome to this week's review of Batman and Robin Eternal. While thinking about how to start this review, my mind ran wild with ideas. Should I explain our site's mission statement of reviewing every book whether we like it or not for the thousandth time? Maybe I could tell everyone who thinks I'm overly biased to go fuck themselves. I even thought of just skipping this review totally and possibly make a sandwich. Well, I'm not going to do any of those. I am just going to review this issue like every other issues in the series...you can decide if that's good enough for you. Just don't hate me because I have different ideas than you. That sounds like something Hitler would do and you don't want to be like Hitler, do you? DO YOU???
This week's story opens with Dick Grayson on Mother's doorstep and while that should be a good thing (or at least it's promising), his comlink is a real Debbie Downer. The fight against Mother is not going so good and that is a huge understatement.
We then get a pretty cool page showing the fight and those involved. There are a couple of new editions from last week, but that's not something that I'm going to dwell on because one makes total sense (Robo Batman) and another is one of my favorite New 52 characters (Calvin Rose). While we are at it, I really hope that Luke Fox shows up in his Batwing suit...tell Batgirl to call him up. They are dating, right? Yes, I'm still confused about why the Ichthys signal isn't affecting any of the younger heroes and I was really hoping we'd get an explanation this week...we do not.
We then check in with Midnighter who must have decided that he looks a lot cooler in his costume since the end of last issue and with Tim Drake who defies the laws of physics as well as the rule that Midnighter's doors are jammed at the signal towers when he "gets creative" in Russia. Yes, it is kind of cool, but goes against something specifically laid out only two issues ago.
While this is going on, Red Hood is beating up children which is understandable since they are being controlled by Mother and turned into little vicious killers. What I don't understand is the trash talking and jokes going on while it's happening. They are little killers, but they are still kids who are being brainwashed.
After reading that, you might think that I was against Steve Orlando's dialogue in this issue, but that's not the case. The overall script is not bad at all, there are just a couple of things that made me scratch my head.
It's back to the Arctic, but this time we see Mother and Harper. Mother is spouting off her sadistic world view to her one girl captive audience and we even get a recap of Mother's origin story for good measure. As far as Harper goes, Mother is really playing off the fact that Batman didn't provide the life that Harper deserved and while it is a bit heavy handed and a bit played out, this was my favorite part of the issue.
While this is going on, Dick Grayson is still at Mother's doorstep when a jet plane crashes right into the entrance. It's Azrael and if he was trying to make an explosive entrance, mission accomplished! I stopped wondering why he would do such a thing when I started wondering why he hated Midnighter's snowmobile so much. I liked seeing Azrael back for the book's final issues, but I still don't know why he attacked Dick on sight after how we last left him.
The issue continues by showing Mother's army of Orphans attacking Team Robin and it's not going well for the good guys. Midnighter knows how bad (he has a fight computer, you know) and enlists Stephanie Brown for some backup. Please believe me when I tell you that I love Steph joining the fight, but I have a HUGE problem how it happens. She doors directly to the Tokyo Tower and that is against the rules!!!
The issue ends with Mother trying to make Harper take the final step to being what she thinks is her destiny. If you blink, you might think you are watching the ending to Return of the Jedi and that isn't necessarily a bad thing.
I liked this issue better than last week, but it's still not great. The parts with Mother and Harper were good, but the rule breaking (ignoring?) were again a bit too much. The overall story didn't move forward much at all and just felt like more setup for the big finale.
I did like the art this week and Alvaro Martinez really worked the fight scenes well. In fact, everything looked spot on and that's quite the feat with so many varied characters involved.
Bits and Pieces:
This was not the worst issue of Batman and Robin Eternal. Steve Orlando spends most of his time setting up the last two issues of the series and that's the issues strength and it's weakness. While it all could pay off big in the long run, as a single issue, it was middle of the road. With how this series has gone, I'll take it.