Batman & Robin Eternal #14 Review

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Well, they'd both qualify for Yellow Lantern rings...

 

 

Scarecrow's new gas, a lass holds a lass, Cass kicks robot ass, and one giant blast are all featured in this fourteenth installment of DC's weekly Batman annal. In this issue, it's a race to avoid being blown up in Mother's nursery or killed by her robot minions. It doesn't help that David Cain, ever loyal even in the face of death, is trying to slow Dick and the others down when they want to escape. But we also get more of that pursuit of Scarecrow by the Dynamic Duo, and discover that Batman enlisted his hooded rogue in his fight with Mother.

 

"Oh crap, is this an AIM base? Did we crash into Marvel?"

Our story begins with an awesome version of the Batmobile crashing through the wall of a chemical plant Jonathan Crane is using to cook up his new batch of fear gas. But he designed more than just fear gas, but, as he explains a few pages later, "trauma toxin" that stimulates extreme mental trauma so that Mother can mold her children to what she wants in less time than usual. For his part, our favorite strawman is eager to betray his new boss, because it goes against his principals. After all, if children are traumatized too much, they become like zombies and won't be able to experience fear. More to the point, when he's finished with his work, Orphan will just kill him to keep him silent. Batman doesn't want to deal with Scarecrow's smug negotiating attitude, and recruits him against his will. Nobody negotiates with Batman, damn it.

 

"Oh, don't worry. I use OnStar."

The job Batman gave to Robin of dismantling a bomb was just mindless busywork, as Batman had already done so hours ago having already visited in secret. Dick must've been pretty miffed when he discovered that, but we don't get to see it. We do know, however, that our first Robin has been questioning a lot of things lately, and it's because Batman keeps things from him like this. Of course, he keeps things from everyone, as we all do, but more.

You have to wonder about how deeply entrenched David Cain is to be willing to attack Dick and the others even as the countdown to nuclear destruction is ocurring. Mother's trying to kill him just as much as the rest of them, but he's willing to give her the benefit of a doubt, through man's greatest coping device... denial! DIck and David are pretty well matched, and it's a pity we didn't get to see how the former beat the latter (what we got in its place was good, though), but Dick does beat him and deactivate the robots, allowing the group to escape without obstacles. For the disappointed, though, I'm sure we'll see Orphan in other fights.

 

"Well, his other strength was tons of money."

The standout portion of this issue, though, is the chemistry between our girls Harper Row (Bluebird) and Cassandra Cain. Casasndra takes point as Harper speeds to the robots' controls.  However, while Cassie is freeing the beast all over the mechanical monsters, smashing many of them, her new friend isn't so successful. She panicks under the overwhelming pressure (lamenting that with Stephanie as Cullen's new sister, her brother will have terrible taste in music... catty). That's when we get our "is this geniune shipping or just queerbaiting?" moment when Cass comforts Harp, holding her face, and the two embrace before deciding to go out fighting. Fortunately they're saved when Dick shuts down the robots so they can leave, but the moment was poignant, and probably made every Spoiler fan open a bottle of scotch.

My OTP.

Good issue. Solid writing from Tynion, loved Blanco & Robinson's art, Rauch's colors popped, and everything came together quite well.

I don't want to be one of those tiresome Tumblr shippers... but damn it, PLEASE LET HARPER/CASS HAPPEN, DC. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. Oooh, or if you want a mix-in relationship, add Tim. And Stephanie. And Carrie Kelley. Just a giant pile of fucking. Also, in this scenario, Jason is dead.

Next: Speaking of Tim and Jason... which nobody else is, because who cares? ...

- Penguin Truth
(2016)

Story: James Tynion IV & Scott Snyder
Script: James Tynion IV
Artist: Javier Pina & Goran Sudzuka
Colors: John Rauch
Lettering By: Marilyn Patrizio
Cover: David Finch, Scott Hanna, and Brad Anderson
Editor: Chris Conroy
Asst. Editor: Dave Wielgosz
Group Editor: Mark Doyle
Batman Created By Bob K--wait...

Still too little credit for Finger.