The problem is that Cass had to start stealing from the Red Cross to keep up with the mask blood.
A loving embrace, a father disgrace, and a blood mask on a face in this thirteenth issue of DC's weekly Batman bildungsroman. As usual, much of it is in a flashback, which is where we get the best material in this, but what we have in the present is good stuff, too, with Cassandra confronting her killer father. We see that whatever happened between Batman and Mother in the past, Cass' memory shows his compassion. But somebody without such mercy is David Cain, who's been cleaning house... er, messily.
"The goggles are nice," thought Cassandra, "but they don't smell enough like pennies."
So it seems that Mother's "nursery", where she raises (brainwashes) her children, is built under cliffsides and such in a giant hole in the Ukraine. It kind of reminds me of the Western Air Temple in Avatar: The Last Airbender. If they weren't about to blow it up next issue, it would have been cool to see it be turned into an overseas Bat base. Seems like such a waste of a colorful backdrop. She has robot drones who corral the children, shuffling them off to one part of the process to the next, but they're weaponized, and at least one is still in order, since Cassie has to fight them in the present. It's here where Cass encounters her father.
"I'm not starved for affection, I'm pickpocketing you."
David Cain truly is twisted in this continuity. He's not only killed the remaining children in the nursery (which he deems inferior because they used the fear toxin to simulate trauma, which pushes them to Mother, instead of David just causing them real trauma), but their bloodied corpses are piled in a big pit he throws Cass into. He even shifts the blame for their deaths onto Cassie's escape, since he planned to prove the older way was superior with his raising of her in his fashion.
In probably the best scene of the series thus far, we flashback to Cassandra talking with Batman during the "Endgame" storyline, when he's just about to confront Joker for what may be the last time (until another writer writes him!). He wants to help her take down Mother's operation, but he can't. He tells her to pass the information to Dick (which she did in issue 1), then instills in her words of confidence, telling her that she is who she chooses to be (the Iron Giant lesson). In the present, this inspires Cass to paint the Bat symbol on her face as she plans on fighting her father herself. But fortunately she doesn't have to, as Dick and Harper arrive to assist. I'm not one usually manipulated into "the feels" by comics and such, but this almost made me misty-eyed, showing Batman's caring side and echoing all those missed chances Cass had for a hug by showing our Caped Crusader embrace the troubled girl.
But Mother isn't one to pass up a chance to kill several birds with one stone, and announces that she's just going to destroy the nursery with everybody in it. So, uh, we'll have to see how they escape from a nuclear blast. Are their refrigerators nearby? Oh, right, only corpses end up in fridges in DC.
Good issue, probably my favorite of the run thus far, and I enjoyed the art style.
Next: What's With Batman And Chemical Factories?
- Penguin Truth
Story: James Tynion IV & Scott Snyder
Script: Ed Brisson
Artist: Javier Pina & Goran Sudzuka
Colors: John Rauch
Lettering By: Corey Breen
Cover: Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, & Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Editor: Chris Conroy
Asst. Editor: Dave Wielgosz
Group Editor: Mark Doyle
Batman Created By Bob K--wait...
Still too little credit for Finger.