Batman and Robin Eternal #3. James Tynion IV & Scott Snyder- Story, Tim Seeley- Script, Paul Pelletier & Scot Eaton (pgs 18-20)- Pencils, Tony Kordos, Marc Deering (pgs 11, 15-15) & Wayne Faucher (pgs 18-20)- Inks, Rain Beredo- Colors.
Dick Grayson is just as important as Batman. Think about that. He’s been around only about a year less than Bruce, and in the bigger picture of comic book history, despite his role as sidekick for so many of the past 75 years, he’s as iconic as The Batman. Batman and Robin Eternal is the Dick Grayson showcase.
Robin number two, Jason Todd opens the issue right where Batman and Robin Eternal #2 left off. Facing off against Cassandra Cain, Jason as usual has gotten it wrong. Dick arrives on the scene to stop Jason and Cassandra before it goes too far. They go back to the Batcave to plan and stitch up Harper Row. Dick shares the video Bruce left him that explains a bit about Mother. Meanwhile, Dick’s Spyral back up, Poppy, isn’t entirely out of the game as she pulls out her nanites with a magnet.
Back at the Cave, Dick gets a communique from Helena at Spyral with the details on Poppy’s recent cell phone calls.
They went to the Gotham Tower, where Bruce Wayne’s re-welcoming party is being held. There’s a flashback to the Batcave with Dick and Bruce after their altercation with the Scarecrow. Dick comes clean to Bruce about what he saw, but Bruce says he saw nothing. The way in which Batman is depicted it seems clear he’s holding back and not being honest with Dick. Back in the present, Dick races off to Gotham Tower, realizing that Bruce has become the target. And it doesn’t look good for Bruce….
The pacing of this weekly series is excellent. It’s difficult to find the right blend sometimes, but so far the creative team has done a great job of working the characters to great effect and pushing the story forward just enough. There are lots of tension points in this series that create drama- Dick vs Jason, Dick with AND vs Spyral, the Bat-Family vs the past/Mother and Dick filling the void with Batman in absetia. Pelletier continues to do a solid job this issue and the continuity from last issue is welcome. The Saturday Matinee Serial Cliffhanger format is not only fun but effective- hopefully everyone remembers issue #1’s final panel!
The panel with Dick and Bruce is particularly good in the fact that he is able to show the desperation in Bruce’s face and hint at the fear he is feeling. In contrast the panel a little later on shows a stoic Batman admitting nothing. The character work overall continues to be a high point so far. That’s what really separates a good from a great comic and this is falling into the great category.
I can only imagine that one might not like this series if one doesn’t like the slower paced weekly format, though I feel enough is being included in each issue to keep the reader excited and the cliffhangers certainly are intriguing enough to bring the reader back. There’s nothing here a fan of the Bat-family will find out of place or discouraging.
The mystery, the characterization and the interaction between the members of the Bat-Family make this an extremely enjoyable series. Only three issue in it certainly seems like Batman and Robin Eternal will be a defining moment for this Bat-Era. Plus, it builds on Dick Grayson’s status as the equal of Batman.