Review: Batman & Robin Eternal #17


I review issue #17 of Batman & Robin Eternal, “Let’s All Go to the Lobby”!

I hope everyone had a Bat-tastic New DC Day yesterday!  It was a light one for me, with only Batman & Robin Eternal #17 and Arrow: The Dark Archer #2 on my pull list.  It didn’t actually feel so light to me though, because the new issue of Batman & Robin Eternal packs such a big bang for its buck.  Today is Thursday, which means it’s time for my weekly review of said issue.  Warning: There will be spoilers past this point.

Have you ever been hungrily waiting at a restaurant for an absurd amount of time, then you finally get up and go to the bathroom, and your food is finally waiting for you when you get back to your table?  After my decision last week to stop speculating on when we’d get the full scene of Batman shooting two parents, the scene we’d all been eagerly anticipating dropped this week, and it did not disappoint.   The Dark Knight was at his deceptive-best in using either rubber bullets or paralytic squibs to fake the murder.  He also tells Mother that he “never lost faith in Robin”.  The whole Batman-working-with-Mother situation was unfathomable to me, but one thing that also had really worried me was his betrayal of Robin.  I’ve always been a huge fan of the partnership between Batman and Dick Grayson, so to see that Batman acknowledge never having lost trust in him made me happy.  Well, Mother had tricks up her sleeve too, further proving her mettle as an opponent, as she staged the murder, with the son, Ahmed, being one of her “children”.

The fight that ensued between Batman and Orphan was so intense.  Batman really lets loose against him, something we don’t always see enough of.  The other great thing about this fight is that it’s lengthy.  I loved seeing Dick take on Orphan in issue #14, but it was only really one page of fighting.  There’s more-or-less four full pages of the Batman vs. Orphan fight here.  It left off with Orphan gaining back the upper hand after Mother distracted Batman by threatening to kill Ahmed.  Mother explains that her children are willing to die for her cause.  There are lots of criminal organizations in the DC Universe in which the members are loyal enough to die before talking (think H.I.V.E.), but they don’t typically also possess the reach that Mother’s does, as she has “children” all across the globe, in all different professions.

Meanwhile, at Spyral HQ, Dick and Helena Bertinelli have got Orphan held prisoner.  I have to give a shout-out to Scot Eaton’s art of Orphan.  He’s got him wearing this very sadistic grin and sweating, and it just made my spine tingle.  From a psychological standpoint, this made for a great scene, because Dick and Helena were trying (to no avail) to use Hypnos to get Orphan to talk, but Orphan was making just as much progress continuing to taunt Dick that Batman wasn’t good enough for him.  Obviously we as the readers now know Batman always believed in him, but I can see this growing theme continuing to haunt Dick, making for a very intriguing conclusion down the line.

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Harper Row sneaks her way into Spyral as well.  Why Dick didn’t just bring her along (and Cassandra Cain for that matter — where is she?) didn’t really make sense to me, but she goes into the interrogation room to talk to Orphan.  While the big reveal was that Batman didn’t kill anybody, a smaller reveal was Orphan’s confirmation that Cassandra is hiding something and that it will affect Harper.  It’s starting to become clearer what that secret is, too.  When Cassandra looked worried in issue #14 when Dick said “No more secrets,” it planted the seeds of doubt about her honesty throughout the series.  Now Batman not being involved in anyone’s murder is making me think that Harper was actually the replacement Robin and that Cassandra is the one that killed her mother.  If that’s the case, it is going to be so suspenseful when Harper finds out the truth.  I’d also be relieved that they’re using a New 52-exclusive character to be the Robin created for Batman, rather than further tarnishing another character’s beloved pre-Flashpoint origin.

Next: Review: Batman & Robin Eternal #16

It pleased me that Red Robin and Red Hood meet back up with Dick at the end, because their story was far less interesting to me than that of Dick, Harper, and Cassandra.  Going forward, I’ll be eager to see how Batman gets out from under Orphan’s sword and in present time, to see where the Bat-family continues their mission.  Ed Brisson did a superb job scripting this issue, as it’s one of my favorites of the run so far.  I’ve upgraded my arsenal, and now I have 10 batarangs to dole out rather than five, and “Let’s All Go to the Lobby” gets 9 batarangs out of 10.  Be sure to keep it locked to Caped Crusades for a new Batman & Robin Eternal review each week and for all your Batman news!