Batman & Robin Eternal #17 Review

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"Shit, I knew I dropped the Batmobile's keys somewhere around here."

 

Mother is cuffed, Batman is roughed, Orphan is tough, and Harp's in a huff in the seventeenth episode of DC's weekly Batman escapade. We get more of the flashback to the past than ever with Batman's bluff being exposed and a fight breaking out with Orphan that takes them into the nearby theater. Batman gives a speech that neither of his foes appreciate. And when we flash forward again, Harper inflitrate St. Hadren's to personally interrogate David Cain, but he's licking his chops to tell Harper of Cassandra's dirty past deed. Oh, and Tim Drake and Jason Todd were in a panel somewhere in there, but who cares? The less of them the better, because we're finally crawling out of the sewer with a far better issue than the past two.

 

"I've killed another soccer mom. The world will thank me."

As we all expected, Batman did not, in fact, shoot a child's parents dead in the streets of Cairo to satisfy Mother and have a new Robin to raise. Not that anybody reading this thought he actually did it, even under duress (unless he was fully hypnotized or brainwashed), but I appreciate that his fake-out is immediately revealed by an unlikely source: the child himself, who was already one of Mother's agents with fake "parents". It's a good twist that Mother isn't quite as gullible as the usual Batman villain and has even planned a real orphaning to take place in Gotham as they speak in Egypt (more on that later).

 

"Rock and roll music, parents, a fuck to give..."

 

The bulk of the issue revolves around Batman fighting back against Mother and Orphan. Fortunately his shooting scam wasn't his own plan, catching his enemies off guard with hidden charges, collapsing (hopefully unoccupied) buildings around the theater. This only works for a moment, though, because David Cain is ready to go into combat immediately.  They take the fight into the theater, tearing up the food court, smashing through a projection room, making their way into a screening room. It's an interesting environment for a fight that's rarely used. It's good to see Batman stand for his beliefs of being nonlethal, before Mother predictably takes advantage of her charges' unquestioning loyalthy to gain an advantage. That kid is so disturbingly chill with being threatened with death.

 

"This theater has several reels of Batman & Robin."
 

Okay, so it was already fairly simple to conclude that Cassandra was the killer of Harper Row's mother from previous hints in earlier issues. She was the daughter of a killer raised to be a killer, Harper had been mentioning her mother's death, the Sculptor refused to let Harper look closer at the memory of Cassandra's killing in Gotham, and Harper and Cass have been getting really close. It doesn't take the World's Greatest Detective to put together the pieces of that puzzle. But in this issue we get a new wrinkle, the detail that the Robin that Batman fake-ordered was being "made" in Gotham years ago, around the same time Harper would have been a kid. The implication seems to be that Cassandra killed Harper's mother for Mother to make the "perfect Robin" for Batman. Fuuuuuuck.

Even though I already guessed most of that particular plotline beforehand, I was still satisfied with it, and this new element makes it even better and makes me appreciate this book all the more. It isn't just coming out of nowhere, either, it makes complete sense. I'm happy I can still be surprised by comics now and then.

It's going to be tough on the Harper/Cass shipping, though.

- Penguin Truth
(2016)

 

That is the worst go-go cage.

Next: Row Row Row Your Gloat, Gently Down The Scream

Story: James Tynion IV & Scott Snyder
Script: Ed Brisson
Artist: Scot Eeaton
Colors: Allen Passalaqua
Lettering By: Corey Breen
Cover: David Finch and Brad Anderson
Editor: Chris Conroy
Asst. Editor: Dave Wielgosz
Group Editor: Mark Doyle
Batman Created By Bob K--wait...