Batman& Robin Eternal #1 Review

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Not pictured: The actual current Robin

 

It's time to review Eternal 2, where Cassie debuts, does some badass kung-fu, and when things come unglued, shocking things ensue! It's DC's new weekly Batman saga, hot on the heels of Jim Gordon becoming Batman and Dick Grayson's spy career's growing complications. With Bruce Wayne out of action, Gotham's streets are defended by a group of costumed teens and young adults that the new Caped Crusader has no patience for, and the first Robin uncovers a startling secret his mentor had kept for him for years.

In the previous weekly, Batman Eternal, Batman found himself tossed around by a cabal of lesser-known villains weaving an intricate plot to distract Batman, cut him off from his contacts and resources, wear him down with threats, and then go in for the kill. This was all at the behest of Arthur Brown, the Cluemaster, and Bruce Wayne's supposed brother, Thomas Wayne Jr., also known as Lincoln March or the Owlman. The plot involved supernatural forces, the framing of Jim Gordon, and a great deal of destruction in Gotham City. Bruce Wayne lost a great deal of his fortune to Hush, but gained new allies, Julia Pennyworth and Stephanie Brown (calling herself Spoiler). In the end, Owlman dispatched of Cluemaster to take the kill himself, but was stopped by a collection of Batman's allies, and locked away by the Court of Owls.

 

It was... it was an eventful day.

 

Since that storyline, there've been some changes. For one, Batman supposedly died in an all-out bloody fight with the Joker. Bruce Wayne emerged eventually, but has no memory of being Batman, and lacks the skills to return to the mantle. The Gotham Police Department has teamed up with a corporation to develop their own Batman, and Gordon was chosen to don a robotic bat (bunny) suit for it. Dick Grayson, working for the Spyral spy organization, has been retrieving super-powered organs, stomping terrorists, and having an ass the Midnighter can recognized. Damian Wayne has come back to life and is travelling the globe to atone for past sins. Batgirl has become a phenomenon in the Burnside area of the city. And... well, who knows what Tim and Jason are up to? Nobody reads the books they're in. I know I don't, at least.

Our opening issue takes Dick Grayson as the central POV character. After getting some help from Tim Drake and Jason Todd in taking down a guy in a motorcycle that drives up buildings, he attends his next mission as an agent of Spyral. This mission involves finding a dirty bomb before it goes off at Gotham State University. Suddenly he's accosted by gun-toting children looking to splatter his blood against the art gallery and when he makes an exit, his mission partner turns on him. Things get even weirder when Dick encounters a super kick-ass girl (Cassandra) who dominates him in battle, but then passes along a USB stick from Batman. Even more perplexing is what's on the drive, which Dick accesses in the Batcave, where he sees a list of Batman's teen partners and a confession from Batman admitting something terrible.

 

Wait, Jean-Paul? As in Jean-Paul Valley?
 

From how it's presented, it appears that Batman himself had a hand in the orphaning of his cast of helpers, possibly under the control of a figure known as "Mother". He even gunned down a child's parents in Cairo, Egypt, according to the first and last pages. Batman. Shooting dead. Parents. In an alley. With a gun. Clearly something is very, very wrong here, and I'm just going to let it play out before I get outraged like some readers were. I just hope there's a good explanation here besides simply brainwashing. Batman would have killed himself if were responsible for the orphaning of children.

 

 

I am shocked. At the size of that freaking gun, that is. What kind of handgun is that big? Did Batman steal that from Cable?

Speaking of orphans, another mysterious character, the Orphan, was stalking Dick, and is now stalking alt-wunderkind Harper Row, the Bluebird. Harper is frustrated because the training Batman said he would give her has been postponed, what with Bruce Wayne an almost completely different person now. Even worse, the new Batman, Jim Gordon, is not happy about kids playing superhero, and has been trying to capture her, or at least discourage her. Making matters worse than that, this Orphan knows where Harper lives, and has come to kill her. Looks like her burgeoning vigilante career has hit a few speed bumps.

 

Actually, the position of Robin is overstaffed right now.

 

A lot of people disliked how easily Cassandra dominated in a fight with Dick, as if her cool first impression was at the cost of his dignity. After all, he was a Robin, he was Nightwing, he's one of the best fighters, he's comparable to Bruce in some ways. Are any of the people upset about this even familiar with old universe Cassandra Cain? Cassandra Cain's mother was Lady Shiva, the martial arts master. She was raised as a child assassin by David Cain, her father, and after her first kill decided never to kill again. She was trained by Batman and Barbara Gordon (who was Oracle). She became Batgirl, took her own mother on in combat, and was eventually rebranded as "Black Bat". She literally "spoke" through fighting for a long time, not having much speech skills. Cassandra Cain gives Batman a run for his money. I think she can handle Dick Grayson.

 

 

"Who am I? I'm... blue-eyed, for some reason."

And let's face it, Dick Grayson has just barely made two narrow escapes and is caught completely off guard by Cassie. We have no idea how the battle would have come out if it went on longer than Cassie wanted it to. Maybe Dick would have turned things around. Who knows? Let's let this play out, it's just the first episode.

Cassie was one of my favorite comic book characters, certainly one of my favorite Bat Family members and I'm glad she's joined the newer universe continuity. But things are getting pretty crowded! I just hope Tim Drake gets to do something.

Next: Redecoration at the Row Residence!

- Penguin Truth
(2015)

Story: James Tynion IV & Scott Snyder
Script: James Tynion IV
Pencils: Tony Daniel
Inks: Sandu Florea
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Lettering By: Tom Napolitano
Cover By: Tony Daniel, Sandu Florea, & Tomeu Morey
Varient Cover: Mikel Janin
Editor: Chris Conroy
Asst. Editor: Dave Wielgosz
Group Editor: Mark Doyle
Batman Created By Bob K--AHAHAHAHA, NO. Batman Created By Bill Finger