No period jokes, please. It just doesn't flow well.
The balance starts shifting as Crane's gas is now misting and while Mother is persisting, Dick is resisting, and Midnigher does all the heavy lifting in the penultimate chapter of DC's weekly padding showcase. JUST FUCKING END ALREADY. The past few issues could have been made a single issue with little change to the plot, and it's frustrating that a book with many a good turn has spoiled its potential by just listlessly meandering and filibustering at this point. Was everybody in the Bat team too busy preparing for DC's Rebirth relaunch to take a look at the pacing of this story? It's really not looking like I'll bother collecting this, even for Cassandra.
"She can't even purple!"
Mother keeps giving her spiel to Harper about how Cassandra is a weak, incomplete project, just like Harper is, but Harper has potential to be more than she is, and all she has to do is kill Cassandra and take that step to become better, blah blah blah, join the Dark Side. It's not even clear if Mother even believes her own bullshit at this point, because there's no way anyone less than entirely delusional can believe Harper is prepared to do such a thing. Not helping Mother's case is the fact that Tim and the rest pretty easily spread the fear toxin that takes the children out of her thrall and Dick is closing in. Honestly, it even looks like Mother has a death wish going for her.
"Are... are you talking about yourself?"
You have to hand it to Midnighter in this issue, he's clearly the character with the most actual personality, cracking snark, and busting heads, basically taking on all the Orphans single-handedly while Batman's apprentices and allies can't even beat these guys on their own (and have barely been able to take down little kids). Honestly, while I can see the practical need for so many Bat characters to take on the worldwide menace, most of these people didn't appear in this book until this final act and only longtime readers of the comics would even recognize some of them. It may seem hypocritical to complain about this when I bitched he was being treated as the "golden child", but what is Damian even doing here if he's not even a significant part of this storyline? You made a story specifically to celebrate the anniversary of the character of ROBIN and the current Robin doesn't even do anything in it!
Maybe this is just an advertisement for Midnight's solo book. Well, okay, I'm sold.
No, the only characters that seem relevant at all are Dick, Harper, and Midnighter. Now, I like all three of these characters (yes, even Harper), but when you call your book Batman & Robin Eternal, perhaps it shouldn't be about the nebulous concept of Batman's child soldier machine and more about the importance of Robin as a figure in Batman's war on crime and what he means to Batman, Gotham, and the DC universe at large. I'm all for including Harper, and I've mostly loved what they've done with her, but it didn't have to come to the exclusion of Tim and Damian (fuck Jason). Stephanie Brown was introduced as a player, then dropped, Babs hasn't done a damn thing worthwhile (guess we'll wait for Batgirl Eternal), and shouldn't the proper Batman, Bruce Wayne, be back by now?
"Which is why I show my children Batman v Superman!"
The book has become a middling extension of the Grayson series, not a celebration of Robin. While the previous weekly had its flaws, it really did celebrate what Batman was about. This issue's massive padding for fan service just proves that the writers couldn't decide what they actually wanted to do to show what Robin is about. It's as if they realized how badly they botched it and decided to just throw in as many characters as they could to satisfy the readers. Well, what would be satisfying is if this storyline was edited better.
The conclusion had better fucking mean something.
- Penguin Truth
"We're waking out of a green cloud of gas, dazed? Must be Tuesday here in the DC universe!"
Next: Harper's Destiny
Story: James Tynion IV & Scott Snyder
Script: Steve Orlando
Artists: Javi Piña & Goran Sudzuka
Coloring: Chris Sotomayor
Lettering By: Marilyn Patrizio
Cover: Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez, and Tomeu Morey
Editor: Chris Conroy
Asst. Editor: Dave Wielgosz
Group Editor: Mark Doyle
Batman Created By Bob K--wait...