Review: Batman & Robin Eternal #8


I hope everyone had a great New DC Day yesterday — it was certainly a big Batman one, with the first issue of Dark Knight III: The Master Race debuting.  Also released was the eighth issue of the weekly Batman & Robin Eternal, “The Curtain Falls”.  Genevieve Valentine was on the script for the second issue in a row, after leaving us with a huge cliffhanger last week.

Valentine didn’t quench our thirsts for a resolution to the cliffhanger immediately in this issue, instead opting to begin with a Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson flashback from their time on the Mother/Scarecrow case.  They’re at the Prague ballet, and it’s made very evident how much Bruce is keeping Dick in the dark about the Mother aspect of the case.  Dick is a smart kid, obviously, and he is piecing together that there could be more to the case than just Scarecrow.  Bruce meets Mother backstage, and he commissions her for a job.  He places a tracker on her, so I have to assume that the whole conversation was just to gain her trust so that he could bring her down.  But, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t go create someone for him, which would effectively put the blood of two people on Bruce’s hands.

In present time, Dick begins talking with Mother after he ran into her at the end of the seventh issue.  Bluebird and Cassandra Cain are meanwhile fighting off an army of ballerinas ordered to kill them by Mother.  Dick has deduced that Bruce commissioned Mother to create one of the Robins, but she won’t tell him who.  She also tries to get into his head and tell him that he was never a good enough partner for Batman.  Mother clearly knows more about him than he ever could’ve imagined, but he doesn’t let her take advantage of it, refusing to come with her to learn more and instead going to help Bluebird and Cassandra.  I’ve always viewed Dick as Bruce’s strongest apprentice, so to see him not fall for Mother’s mind games was important to me and symbolic of who he is as a character.  A theme in this title has been Dick’s self-doubt, but in the end, he was confident enough to pass up on Mother’s offer so he could help his partners instead.

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The fight scene with the ballerinas is epic.  Bluebird and Cassandra are taking on about a dozen ballerinas at once, and they’re kicking butt.  That is until the choreographer hits Cassandra over the head as she’s beating up Sarangarel.  Then Dick joins in to help them, and they win the battle and re-group as police show up on the scene.  In one of the most interesting scenes of the issue, Harper tugs on Cassandra’s hair.  This appears to really frighten Cassandra, prompting her just to run away from them.  She is making her first New 52 appearance in this series, and there is still so much to learn about the character.  I’m hoping we get a lot more information on her origin as the series progresses, and I’m betting her bizarre behavior in response to the hair-tug has something to do with her past.

Red Hood and Red Robin are meanwhile still on Gamorra Island in this issue, following some more leads.  They chase a man to a church, where they confront him.  He tells them that an “angel” attacked him, and we see that he is under the influence of fear toxin.  This adds another layer to the story, but I wish we could’ve gotten more details in this issue about who this man is and what the Scarecrow is doing.  There wasn’t enough time spent with Red Hood and Red Robin in this one.

Next: Review: Batman & Robin Eternal #7

This was a solid read.  I didn’t like it as much as I liked Valentine’s first issue last week, but the story is certainly making much quicker strides than in its first few weeks, so I’ll still give it five batarangs out of five.  Also, I’d be remiss not to mention the issue’s chilling cover by Dan Panosian, really showcasing the eeriness of Mother’s character.  Valentine hands over script duties to Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing next week, while Alvaro Martinez and Raul Fernandez hand over art duties to Roge Antonio, so let’s hope this next creative team can keep up the good work.  Stay tuned to Caped Crusades for reviews of each Batman & Robin Eternal issue as well as for all your Batman news!