Batman & Robin Eternal #21 Review

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What a tragedy... now she can't see Batman v Superman in theaters this March!

 

 

Mother, who's hoary, has one gory back story, and how she became predatory makes Batman take inventory, all in this twenty-first installment of DC's weekly Batman serial. The entire issue takes place in the past, whether it be Bruce following up on his encounter with Mother or the new villain's background being told to him by some one she "helped". And from this we see the parallel between Batman and his foe and the very different, yet similar directions they took. We also get some pretty solid art from Tony S. Daniel, making the story more palatable.

 

"Wonder Woman will be by to tuck you in." "OH THANK YOU, BATMAN. THANK YOU."

 

Somebody finally sheds some light on what makes Mother tick by regailing Bruce Wayne with the sad tale of a young (unnamed) girl from a country called Gardevia. Apparently it was one of those countries on the verge of being swallowed by the Soviet Union. The population was decadent because they figured they were about to get screwed, and when the Communists started occupying, things became a powder keg. The girl was working a tavern on the night a Societ soldier choked on some food. The Red Army accused the people of poisoning him and began opening fire on the citizens. Eventually a whole purge began, and the girl witnessed her parents being gunned down. She hid among the corpses of her parents and others, pretending to be dead for as long as she could, and when the soldiers left the area, she snuck into their quarters, killed them, and stumbled away. She was found by the old woman telling the story to Bruce, who has since paid her back by killing her parents, and then when Bruce leaves, killing her, too.

 

"I mean, except for a kid with some parents."

Now, assuming the story told was true, the girl who became Mother was tramatized by her parents' deaths much as Bruce was, and was changed by it. But whereas Bruce lived in luxury, the girl was from an occupied country and had nothing to her name. Bruce, because he had the comforts of wealth, including the parenting of Alfred, carved himself into something that wanted to ensure no such terrible thing happened to any other young child, fighting crime. Mother, on the other hand, came to the conclusion that, as Tyler Durden would say, "It's only after you've lost everything that you're free to do anything." She felt freed by the purge, and set out to find and make children like her and guide them, both for profit and fulfillment. This is, of course, assuming her motives weren't simply to see others suffer as she had out of a malevolent sadism.
 

The competition at the old folks' home's Gwen Stacy Impersonation Contest was fierce.

 

I'm not sure if the story was intended to make us sympathize with Mother as we do, say, Victor Freeze, or Harvey Dent, because of their own personal losses. It clearly shows that Mother has no mercy even for the person who took her in and helped her, but on the other hand, she did go out of her way to avenge her parents' deaths by killing the soldiers, despite having basically been indentured to various jobs to pay their debts. But one's feelings towards one's parents can be complicated. I think, rather, that this was a perfect recipe for a monster to be born, and it shows that people can just as easily go the path of evil in similar circumstances to Bruce's.

Nevertheless, Batman has been wondering if he's not just doing with Robin what Mother is to her children, molding him in his image. What's more, he fears that he's inavertedly set Harper down a similar road as Dick through his mistake in handling Mother. He wants badly to help her and her brother, provide for them as he did for Dick. The desire is tempting. But he also wants to believe she can become something without his direct involvement. So he instead tries to intimidate her father into walking the straight and narrow. (It doesn't work, look at him in the previous weekly, a jailbird.)

 

"That doesn't mean I can't make an impact... on the pavement."

Unfortunately, Batman makes a big mistake by erasing the files on Mother from the Batcomputer, assuming this is finished. And it's a mistake many have paid for since.

Really good issue, more thought-provoking than usual. Between Tynion's writing and Daniel's art (with help from the colors and inking), a really vivid, memorable experience. I felt teased that it was a big flashback when the previous issue ended with Damian's arrival, but by the time I finished, I was glad they did this.

- Penguin Truth
(2016)

Next: A Family Affair

 

"This isn't the pizza I ordered."

Story: James Tynion IV & Scott Snyder
Script: James Tynion IV
Pencils: Tony S. Daniel
Inks: Sandu Florea
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Lettering By: Dave Sharpe
Cover: Tony Daniel & Tomeu Morey
Editor: Chris Conroy
Asst. Editor: Dave Wielgosz
Group Editor: Mark Doyle
Batman Created By Bob K--wait...