Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Batman and Robin Eternal #3 Review

Johnny Spyral

Written by: Tim Seeley
Art by: Paul Pelletier, Scot Eaton, Tony Kordos, Marc Deering, Wayne Faucher,
                     Rain Beredo, Joshua Cozine and Troy Peteri
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 21, 2015

Weekly books are a funny thing.  There is an ebb and flow to the storytelling that has as much to do with rotating creative teams as it does from the weekly schedule.  Like the teams (or because of them), characters and plots come and go throughout the books run, but this one already feels different. While Batman Eternal dealt with a bunch of(too many?) characters, after three issues, Batman and Robin Eternal has been more focused and I am already grateful for that.  It doesn't hurt that I'm a huge Dick Grayson fan, but I also enjoy the other characters and hope they remain in the forefront throughout the entire series.  Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Harper Row, Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain can be in every single issue and I'd be a happy man.  Who knows what the future will bring, but all the mentioned characters are in this am I a happy man this week?  Let's find out...

Fans of All-Star Section Eight should get a kick out of this week's opener.  Last week ended with Jason Todd and Cassandra Cain in Noonan's Sleazy Bar, complete with smashed picture of Sixpack and the Grapplah!  THE GRAPPLAH!  It's a quick Easter Egg, but made me smile.

We then see Jason and Cassandra and my smile wasn't so big anymore.  I don't know what happened to Cassandra over the week, but she went from looking like a cutie pie to...something else.  Must have been a tough seven days.  Jason looked great, it was his dialogue that threw me off.  After the awesome interaction between Jason and Dick (and Tim Drake as well) in the first issue, this feels forced and out-of-character.  I love Jason and Tim Seeley gives the reader a funny Cheap Trick joke, but the other attempts at humor missed the mark for me.

If you read the last issue, you know that Harper got the crap kicked out of her to the point of almost dying.  Well, somebody better tell her companions, because she's still in bad shape.  Tim finally notices she's around (and in bad shape) and everyone heads to the Batcave to fix her up.

Just an aside before I go on.  Why is the T-Rex in the Batcave?  Joker took it in Endgame and at this point it should be part of the scariest slide in all Gotham.  I know it's a nitpick, but it shook me out of the story.

In the Batcave, Harper get's the care she needs, but she quickly becomes an afterthought when Dick plays everyone Bruce's message about "Mother".  Then Seely uses Cassandra Cain as a tool to show the reader the differences between the three Robins.  To get her to talk, Dick is nice, Jason wants to bust heads and Tim uses psychology.  It may be heavy handed, but I liked it.

After Cassandra gives each what I hope isn't the Dim Mak, Dick gets a "call" from Spyral.  We find out that Poppy is still on the run and that Spyral, and Agent Zero in particular, had a run in with "Mother" a long time ago.

I mentioned in last week's review that I was already getting tired of the Scarecrow flashbacks because they were too redundant and while we get another one, I liked this one because of Batman.  Sure, it deals with Dick telling Bruce about his fears, but Bruce's scientific demeanor and the bombshell he drops at the end didn't make him look nice, but it sheds a light on why he had a Robin.

The issue ends at the Beacon Tower where Gotham is throwing a party for Bruce.  Dick is on his way and you just know that some sort of shit is going to go down...but from where?  As we saw before, with Mother involved, the danger can come from anywhere and it does.  It's a cool cliffhanger that makes me want to jump into next week's issue right now.

This issue was okay.  It does push the story forward more than last week's issue, but Seeley's characterizations just felt off.  Jason in particular, especially after the awesome first issue of this series that nailed him.  I also wasn't a fan of the art overall and I'd like to chalk it up as too many cooks in the kitchen, but it wasn't a transition issue, but just a mediocre art issue.  I don't want to sound like a big jerk, but I didn't like what I saw.

Bits and Pieces:

I am still a fan of this series, but it  mostly comes from the stellar first issue.  While this issue pushes the story forward, the characterizations were not strong as Tim Seeley seemed more intent on cracking wise than giving the reader meaningful interactions.  While the art wasn't strong either, I did like the way the book ended and where the story is going.  I still recommend the series, but unfortunately, can't give this issue top marks.



  1. I liked this one more than last week. Mostly because I pissed all over the flashback for seeming random, but connecting it with this issue gave it more meaning plus it shows Bruce doesn't share with Robin like he expects Robin to share with him. Or maybe he really did see nothing and is just really a dark emotionless balloon knot we all love anyway.

    I know you hate Red Hoods new costume but I really think if they just get rid of the brown its fine, seriously who wears a brown hoody unless your fixing a street curb or picking up garbage?

    The T-Rex in the Batcave pissed me off too it was literally the first thing I noticed when I turned the page.

    My only other thing and Im just trying to clear it up for my own sanity. They (the writers) keep referencing Grayson #2 for this chick with stomach right? I just finished #2 as I read thru Grayson and is it my understanding SPYRL hired her correct? and now shes double crossing them by eating those spiders and going off the grid cause shes with Mother?

    1. the T-rex was the first thing I noticed as well...I yelled at Eric about it immediately!!! and yes, Poppy was hired by Spyral (they need to screen applicants better) and she is with Mother...and eating the spiders.

      Last of all...I'd love to rock a brown hoodie...and collect garbage. I could deal with the pay raise!

  2. This issue was good. Jason Todd is fun here. Cassandra should stop attacking the robins fight before letting them know she's there to help. She beat Dick in a previous issue but attacking Jason is a stupid decision on her part. Jason uses his assassins training to counter hers.
    The Robins finally help Harper after her beat down by Orphan. I loved the bar scene between Jason and Dick. And like the symbolism that Cassandra showed the robins. She pointed to Jason's fist to represent strength, to Tims forehead for Wisdom, and Dicks heart for what I think is either kindness or courage. 7/10
    Great review. Keep it up

    1. the symbolism was the best part...even though I thought it was forced after Seeley just showed us that by how they dealt with her.

      I am glad Tim finally noticed that Harper was hurt!!!

  3. I found that the first issue was by far the weakest. It had a lot of plot contrivances and the shoehorning of character into cookie cutter roles. I think Tynion is just a poor writer when it comes to ensemble casts. With the Seeley issues, there's a lot more chemistry, and the characters are more well-rounded and firmly defined. And there's fun banter, something that was sorely missing in the first issue. The first issue was basically all style and no substance, while the Seeley issues make the Batfamily actually feel like a group full of vibrant personalities. If you think about, it's the characters that are the big selling point of this series, and the first issue failed on giving readers reason to buy into those characters.

    1. I am not a Tynion fan myself, but I loved the first issue. The scene with the Robins on the rooftop was the best in the series so far,in my opinion.
      As far as cookie cutter roles, nothing can be more cookie cutter than what Seeley did with the Robins in how they deal with Cassandra..mhot head Jason, thinking man Tim and nice guy Dick. Then in casr we didn't understandx Cassandra has to point it out.

      I liked this issue. It just had a couple of things ( some of the art, dialogue) that made me go a bit low with the score.
      I loved the end scene and can't wait to see Dick deal with the impromptu hatchet gang!

    2. The way he writes the bat family is the way teen titans and Titans Hunt should be portrayed. That's what's missing from the the Titans book is a sense of family. True it takes time to build that up but the stories will be richer for it. Right now this is my second favorite title and it's because the family aspect of this story has been built since the beginning of Batman all the way through to Batman Eternal.

    3. I think you misread the Cass scene. Cass was communicating with them, pointing out why she doesn't trust them, based on her interactions with them. She points out that Jason is an idiot who thinks with his fist. She thinks that Tim acts too much like an insufferable genius. And Dick is too trusting. Those are her impressions of them, and that's why she walks straight past them.

    4. Actually, Jason never stood a chance against her. Like it was stated before, Cass was trying to get a read on them through the only way she knew how: through a fight. She judges Jason as being hotheaded and impulsive, based on how quickly he pulled a gun on her, and how effortlessly Dick neutralized his "Japanese assassin armor blades".

    5. I definitely think Cassandra could take Jason in a hand to hand match. But Jason with weapons is a different story. Plus Jason is more accustomed to her fighting style due to his assassin training with lady shiva than Dick is. And he wasn't fighting Dick, so the only reason he stopped him was because he suprized him from behind, kind of like how Cass suprized kicked Dick off his bike last issue.