Batman and Robin Eternal #10. James Tynion IV & Scott Snyder- Story, Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly- Script, Roge Antonio & Geraldo Borges- Artist, Allen Passalaqua- Colors.
Inches. There have been some massive jumps in recent issues of Batman and Robin Eternal as we have learned a lot and been surprised. While this issue offers some answers and a bit of clarity, it doesn’t push forward too much. It moves forward in inches. That’s not always a bad thing. We have the same three settings again, beginning with…
The Present- Red Hood and Red Robin in Santa Prisca-
Jason and Tim along with Bane are facing off against Azrael. Jason and Tim manage to escape as Bane as incapacitated by Azrael with what appears to be the Order of St. Dumas’ version of the Vulcan mind meld. Bane sees some stuff he wasn’t prepared for and is suddenly a “believer.” There’s some really nice interaction between Jason and Tim as well as a bit of humor, but a real validation of Tim’s “Nerd Skillz” is the bit that shines the brightest. Yes, it really says “Nerd Skillz” in the book. While this sequence highlights their differences, it also makes it clear that despite these differences, Jason and Tim are family.
The Robins make it to the computer mainframe to find information linking the Order with Mother. They find it, but they also find out about Azarael’s history. He’s Jean-Paul Valley and he’s one of Mother’s kids and the Order paid for him to be developed.
The Past- Batman and Robin in Prague-
Batman ain’t happy. Not one bit. Dick’s gone out by himself and gotten into some trouble running down the leads on Crane’s operation. When Bruce returns from last issue’s encounter with Mother, he tries to clamp down on Dick’s independence. They get into it and what we get is a scene that is more reminiscent of an older Dick Grayson trying to break away from the Bat that we’ve seen before in the pre-Flashpoint DC Universe. This appears to be speeding up this aspect of Dick’s time as Robin; he seems to be done with Bruce almost at the beginning of his tenure as Robin. Perhaps, we’ll get more exploration of Dick’s time under the Robin mask as well as an overview of each Robin’s time as Batman’s sidekick.
What’s really surprising is what comes next- Bruce goes to see Mother again and this time it appears that he’s going to hear her out on her offer of “developing” a sidekick/heir to the Bat that won’t disappoint. Yikes!
The Present- Dick and Harper in Prague and Elsewhere-
Dick continues to validate Harper’s competence as the two search for a lead on Cassandra. The paper trail takes them to Mudge Island, British Columbia and the home of David Cain. However, Cain is not there. Instead, a new player enters the game- The Sculptor, and she apparently knows all there is to know about Harper Row, her “sweet runaway girl.”
Each group of characters is left in a quandary. Jason has escaped with a Tim Drake who’s had Azrael put visions in his head. However, it appears that the effect is not unlike the Scarecrow’s fear toxin. He’s behaving quite similarly to how Dick Grayson was acting, including the “We’ve failed Bruce” dialogue. Speaking of Bruce, it certainly appears that he’s biting on Mother’s offer, but I still believe we are looking at misdirection. I’m thinking Bruce’s reasons for hiding the case from everyone is more about failure to stop Mother instead of Bruce throwing in with Mother. Lastly, it appears that Harper is about to find out more about her past, stuff of which she had no inkling. Next issue should provide some more answers….