Batman & Robin Eternal #2 Review

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In hindsight, Batman decided the LSD experiments were premature.

 

Cassandra attacks, The Orphan gets smacked, and Dick flashes back in this second issue of Batman's weekly Batman event book. Our Agent 37, fresh off an encounter with deadly children, a betrayal by a cannibal (can't trust anyone these days), and a possibly life-changing revelation, is scrambling to protect all the people on the list of names on the thumb drive he was given. He doesn't arrive in time to help Harper from receive a beating, but fortunately our mysterious ninja Cassie is a match for the new threat. But what does all this have to do with Jonathan Crane, Scarecrow, and can Tim send me some of those videos of the Row residence? (Sure, you're no Peeping Tom...)

Oh, Harper. You know, so many people seem to dislike you. You're Scott Snyder's pet character, much like Damian Wayne was Morrison's, only for some reason he caught on, even though he's not really a better character, whereas people resented you for not being Stephanie Brown or Cassandra Cain. I guess it's much like my resenting Damian Wayne for replacing Timothy Drake. Or New 52 Timothy Drake for replacing Timothy Drake. I guess people perceive Harper Row as being a forced attempt to appeal to "alt" teens, with her fashion style and attitude. But I enjoy her. She was great in Batman Eternal and I'd like to see more of her as Bluebird. The problem is, now that Cassie has returned, maybe the Bat-roster is too stuffed.

 

Don't be ridiculous, Dick. They have to send in 5 UPCs.

She doesn't seem to have any luck, because with Bruce Wayne no longer Batman and the new Batman a teen sidekick-hater, she's been denied her training (guess Tim is too busy being bland to help out), and on top of Bat-Bot clamping down, now this new threat, Orphan, has beat her bloody, and off-panel to boot. At least she's able  to help Cassie subdue the guy with the help of her souped up stun gun, but I hate to see Harper seem so pathetic so soon in the story, since she's barely solidified herself as a full-fledged Bat family character.
 

Well, it could be worse for her. She could have disappeared like New 52 Carrie Kelley.

The most interesting thing about the issue by far, though, is the flashback to Dick Grayson's seemingly short tenure as Robin. With the New 52 continuity (or Prime Earth, or whatever you want to call it), Batman's only been active for a few years, and yet he's had several Robins. They tried to make it seem not as bad to cram those in by saying that Tim Drake was never Robin, was always Red Robin... but that doesn't really help, unless he was Red Robin at the same time as somebody else being regular Robin. But they also made Dick Grayson's Robin much older during his time in the costume, around 16 when he started. Here he remembers his and Batman's first encounter with the villain Scarecrow, using of a potent gas that makes you hallicunate what you fear.
 

"Would it hurt if I took of that mask?" "It would be extremely painful." "You're a big guy." "For you."

 

Their encounter with Scarecrow in the cornfield outside of Gotham reminds me somewhat of the official Post-Crisis Scarecrow origin story in Batman Annual #19, a "Year One" spinoff story by Doug Moench, called "Masters of Fear" which shows Batman's first defeat of the sadistic straw man. Only in that issue Batman was alone, since Robin didn't come into the picture until a few years later in the old continuity. Depicted here, Robin is quipping, annoying Batman, and somewhat insecure that he isn't worthy of being his partner, as seen by his fears when sprayed with the gas. I like that since it's Dick's own flashback, they don't show what Batman saw. The connection seems to be that Orphan's mask is feeding him fear gas, which seems to be acting the same way Bane's Venom drug does for him. How does fear gas help him fight, though?
 

"Come now, Dick. You're much better than the next Robin will be."

 

Anyway, it seems that Cassandra is going to see how Jason Todd is doing, which is a big mistake. Not because Jason will beat her up, but because I'll have to read about him. Though I'd be a little interested in getting a flashback to Jason's stint as Robin in this latest continuity.

Next: Bar-Hopping!

- Penguin Truth
(2015)
 

Story: James Tynion IV & Scott Snyder
Script: Tim Seeley
Pencils: Paul Pelletier
Inks: Tony Kordos
Colors: Rain Beredo
Lettering By: Carlos M. Mangual
Cover By: Tony S. Daniel, Sandu Florea, and Tomeu Morey
Editor: Chris Conroy
Asst. Editor: Dave Wielgosz
Group Editor: Mark Doyle
Batman Created By Bob K--AHAHAHAHA, NO. Batman Created By Bill Finger
 

Steph, too, now craves the Dick.