This issue wounds me, too, Batman.
Tim has a bad trip, in the past Dick flips, Harper drips, and the quality slips in this tenth episode of DC's weekly Batman catastrophe. There's a lot of combat in the St. Dumas cathedral, Jean-Paul Valley has terrible hair, Jason uses shark repellent, we meet that lady we saw with Mother some issues ago, and Bruce does his patented "You're a loose cannon, Robin!" speech. The artwork may be decent, but this issue might be the first truly bad entry into this series, because with all that's going on, a lot of it is just paint-by-numbers filler. I think I've had more fun in actual churches.
My reaction to this issue.
Wow... the Santa Prisca subplot has really hit the wall. Last issue I was so hyped up. We had Tim Drake, Jason Todd, and Bane breaking into a crystalline cathedral to stop a murder cult defended by a badass designer assassin. There's no way they could have messed that up, right? You know, like by having Bane completely job right away after bothering to incorporate him into this storyline and have the fight with the cultists look uninspired? Nah, they'd never---oh, wait. They did. We finally get to see Tim Drake kick serious ass, and it's drawn as less dynamic and compelling than Dick, Harper, and Cass taking on the psycho ballet a couple of issues back. It's just filler to the next plot point, and not very well done filler. It's ho-hum bullshit to the highest order. The writers have not even tried to make Tim or Jason interesting in this issue and the artists aren't helping, either.
STOP THIS, WRITERS
... to be interesting? Yes.
The shark repellent spray made me chortle, though.
The flashback stuff isn't much better. This bullshit the writers are trying to do by making us think Bruce is seriously considering having a Robin made by Mother because things aren't working out with the eager to prove himself Dick is such basic and rote, it's almost an insult to cliches. It was embarrassing to see a teenaged Dick Grayson tantrum like he was a little child because Daddy is threatening to take his play things and Bruce be in "Douchebag Loner Bruce" Mode. Fuck these writers. By this time, Batman has already been working with Dick, this sort of thing shouldn't be happening. Dick isn't the kid as Robin he was in the old continuity, this Dick is supposed to be only a little bit before Nightwing. If he was ten to twelve years old, this wouldn't be so out of place, but Dick is acting like a little shit for a seventeen or eighteen year old and Dick should be more trusting at this point. What continuity are these writers writing in?
"... I'M TAKING MY TOYS AND GOING HOME!"
On the Grayson and Bluebird front, Dick and Harper do a little digging to uncover the identity of the Orphan who keeps attacking those on Mother's list. Who is he? Well, apparently (and I believe I guessed this some time ago), it's David Cain, who in the old continuity was an assassin who helped train Bruce Wayne on his quest to be the best at everything and the father of Cassandra who trained her to be an assassin from a young age. But our heroes don't find Orphan in the location they come to, or Mother, but a woman who calls herself the Sculptor, and who claims to know Harper intimately. Dun dun DUNNNNNN...
"I know what batteries you use in your vibrator."
"I don't use one."
"Oh, sorry. I know what batteries Grayson uses in his."
"It's... it's to use on girls!"
Is Harper a designer baby (can't imagine her low rent scumbag father could afford a designer kid)? What secrets does the Sculptor know? And when will Jean-Paul Valley stop looking like Zippy the Pinhead? We'll find out next issue! Maybe.
Also, I said the artwork was decent, but some panels look kind of off, like when Dick and Harper are going over the information print-out and Dick's face is... ugh. But most of the art is dependable, and that bit with Tim totally tripping from Azrael's touch is fantastic.
This is the most Tim has done to be compelling in this issue.
Next: Head Games!
- Penguin Truth
Story: James Tynion IV & Scott Snyder
Script: Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly
Artist: Roge Antonio & Geraldo Borges
Colors: Allen Passalaqua
Lettering By: Marilyn Patrizio
Cover: Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, & Dean White
Editor: Chris Conroy
Asst. Editor: Dave Wielgosz
Group Editor: Mark Doyle
Batman Created By Bob K--wait...
Still too little credit for Finger.