We Are FamilyWritten by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Scot Eaton, Carlo Pagulayan, Igor Vitorino, Geraldo Borges, Wayne Faucher, Jason Paz, Marc Deering, Allen Passalaqua and Marilyn Patrizio
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 30, 2016
Well, we have finally made it. This is the end of the road for Batman and Robin Eternal and
depending on where you stand on the series, I guess you will have different emotions playing around your pretty little heads right now. Most of you already know that I haven't been the biggest fan of this weekly, but I actually am sad to see it end, only because I was hoping for so much more. However, the storytelling and the constant rule breaking killed it for me and up until this finale, I consider it yet another disappointing weekly series from DC. Much to my many haters chagrin, though, I have stuck with it and am one of the few people who reviewed every single issue. Claims of bias aside, give me a little props for that at least. So, it's with a little hope and a little fear that I jump into the last issue of Batman and Robin Eternal. Does it tie things up in a satisfying way that makes the entire series worthwhile or is it just another issue that pisses me off...or is it somewhere in between? Let's find out...
I will tell you this, James Tynion opens up this final issue with one of the best scenes this series has yet seen. It's also something I wish would have been explored more before now. It's Harper Row interacting with her mother, Miranda, and it is powerful, touching and so bittersweet since we know where it all leads. It also finally made me want to take the knife out of Harper's hand and slice Cassandra Cain's throat myself! Yes, it's that good.
Of course, Harper is better than me and after Cassandra just about made me cry (for real!), Harper shows that her mother may have been taken away from her far too early, but was telling the truth when she told her daughter, "I'll always be with you." While it's not one bit of a shock that Harper doesn't join Mother, I really couldn't have asked for a better way to show it.
I have been a fan of Harper Row since she first showed up in Batman, but this whole beginning sealed the deal. I found myself getting so pumped up as Harper told Mother what it was like growing up, raising Cullen, struggling to get by and that she did it because of her mother and what she taught her. Everyone reading this book already knows how evil Mother is, but Harper makes it all hit home and makes even the name "Mother" become the filthiest thing this old lady can use to describe herself.
While all that was awesome, Mother wasn't going to run and hide because of a harsh tongue lashing and after Harper stalls her backup plan, Mother again shows that she is just pure evil. Thankfully, two characters show that they are well on their way to redemption which opens the way (and the doors) for the whole gang to show up.
While Harper, Cassandra and Spoiler make me wish they were the Rebirth Birds of Prey team, Dick and the rest of the Robins square off against Mother and that old hag has some real fight left in her Where the hell did that come from???) She also presents what amounts to the most fucked up video presentation I've ever seen and believe me, I've seen some shit! Speaking of which, where do these people get this type of video? Who is filming this sort of thing?
While all this is going on, she continues the Batman and Robin insults that have littered this series and then it's time for Dick to step up and tell her the what's what. It's not as powerful as Harper's speech earlier, but it gets the point across.
Of course, for me, it wouldn't be Eternal without some nonsense and that happens when Mother pulls her trump card...her palace was built on an active volcano and she has triggered it to erupt and take everything with it. I'm not about to go crack open my science and geology books on this, but on a surface level it just sounds so ridiculous. However, nothing prepared me for the craziness that happens next. It really is something I don't want to spoil, but a character returns and I really can't figure out how it is possible. I went back a couple issues and checked some things out and really, there is no way this character should be here. Oh well, it does continue the theme of parenting and redemption and also is the end of Mother's would be empire.
While I was left with some important question unanswered (cough cough Azrael cough cough), I did like the way Tynion wrapped things up, Batman (in his new duds) visits with Harper and they talk it out. Again, Harper shows how kickass she is and while her story doesn't end the way I was hoping, it's open ended enough for my dreams to still come true. It also makes sense for the character and what she's been through, so you get that as well. As far as the rest is concerned, we get a little preview of Tynion's upcoming Detective Comics and a nice Batman and Robin ending that may have been a little bit cheesy, but had me smiling anyway.
Did this issue make Batman and Robin Eternal worth reading as a whole? I can't make that claim, but I will tell you that it let me walk away from it with a good feeling. I loved everything that happened with Harper and Cassandra and to a lesser degree, the Bat Family. However, Mother and her plan was the main focus of this series and it doesn't end in a completely satisfying way here. Maybe it's just me, but Mother felt more like a device than a character in this finale which was a shame.
There might have been more people on the art team than in the final battle of this issue and while that usually spells disaster, that isn't totally the case here. Sure, some of the art is better than others and there is a couple of transition issues, but as a whole, I think the team did a good job.
Bits and Pieces:
Well, it's all over and thankfully, Tynion let at least this reviewer walk away from it with a good taste in my mouth. It may not have solved all the problems I've had with the series overall and didn't even end satisfactorily, but this issue was full of real emotion and most of the characters ended up in a better place because of the journey. Fans of the series will already be reading this, but if you stopped reading it, you may want to check it out to see how it all ends.