Review: Batman & Robin Eternal #14


I review the 14th and latest issue of the weekly Batman & Robin Eternal series!

I hope everyone had a Bat-tastic first New DC Day of 2016 yesterday!  It was a really light one for me, as the latest issue of Batman & Robin Eternal, “Scare Tactics”, was the only thing on my pull list.  It’s Thursday now, which means it’s time for my weekly review of that title.  Warning: You are now leaving the spoiler-free zone for the 14th issue.

James Tynion IV is back on script duties for a second issue in a row, and instead of quenching our thirsts for the cliffhanger at the end of last week’s issue, this one expectedly begins with a Batman and Robin flashback.  The two of them bust into a chemical plant in Prague run by Scarecrow.  I can’t remember the last time I saw the Batmobile burst through a wall in any medium, but I would not be opposed to seeing that way more often — what an entrance!  It turns out that Batman was invading the plant on his own agenda (to meet with Scarecrow).

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Batman has been keeping Robin out of the loop for so much of this Mother/Scarecrow mission, which has seemed fairly in-character to me, but what hadn’t been seeming in character was him being manipulated by Mother behind the scenes.  The meeting he has alone with Scarecrow seemed much more in-character when it comes to Batman working with villains.  Mother had commissioned Scarecrow to write a psychological evaluation of Batman for her, and Batman tells Scarecrow that he has to write it how Batman wants it written in exchange for protection from Mother.  Batman demonstrates in this scene that he is still in control of the situation, saying to Scarecrow, “This isn’t a deal.  You work for me, now.”

Back in present day, Dick Grayson, Bluebird, and Cassandra Cain are in quite the pickle.  Tynion did a good job showing us just how loyal David Cain is to Mother, as even when she threatens to kill him with the bomb, he still won’t betray her and believes it’s a test.  Bluebird and Cass go to the control room in an attempt to deactivate the robots sent to kill them, and we are treated to one of the most heartfelt conversations of the book so far.  Cass reassures Bluebird that they’ll make it out alive, and Bluebird tells Cass that she doesn’t blame her for the killing that she did for Mother.

I loved seeing Bluebird and Cass kick some robot butt, but ultimately, they weren’t going to be able to defeat all of them (and the computer’s controls were locked).  It is Dick who subdues David to get his controls instead.  He had to win a pretty brutal fight with David first, which I am pretty bummed we only got to see the start and the aftermath of.  Dick, Bluebird, and Cass escape the Nursery in a fighter jet to head to Spyral headquarters.  One of the artists on this one, Fernando Blanco or Roger Robinson, made really good use of facial expressions on the last panel of the issue.  Dick says “No more secrets,” and we see Cass grimace as if there’s something she’s still hiding.

That’s not a traditional cliffhanger like the one that capped off the previous issue, but to me it’s a more intriguing one.  Cass’ new origin story has already been explored, but there’s clearly much more to learn about her in the second half of this run.  I haven’t been reading Grayson, so it’s hard for me to speculate the motivation behind heading to Spyral, but I’m eager to see what the next step of solving the mystery is.  Next week’s issue #15 is scripted by Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing, and based on its cover, it looks like it may actually be more focused on the Red Hood/Red Robin storyline.

Next: Review: Batman & Robin Eternal #13

I definitely thought Tynion’s issue #13 was better than “Scare Tactics”, but that probably has much more to do with the content that needed to be written than with Tynion himself.  This one still warrants five batarangs out of five.  It had some of the better action scenes of the series so far, and we got to see Batman having a really Batman moment.  Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and be sure to stay tuned to Caped Crusades for the new review each week and for all your Batman news!