Batman and Robin Eternal #24. James Tynion IV & Scott Snyder- Story, Steve Orlando- Script, Alvaro Martinez- Pencils, Raul Fernandez- inks, Gabe Eltaeb- Colors.
It’s pretty clear that the final confrontation is going to come at the very end of this series. Just when you think it’s about to happen…still, another issue. This isn’t necessarily bad, but as we approach the end, I’m ready to see Mother get what’s coming to her. Another element that seems particularly evident is the notion of choice. Mother’s misguided tactics and motives have been about giving these children the strength and resources to make it in the world. And in order to do so, she’s taken away any choice from her victims. It’s particularly ironic in this issue that Mother seems to be giving Harper a choice. This is all contrasted with Bruce and the Robins and his belief that he was giving each of them a choice, or more so, helping them after they had made a choice. Mother just doesn’t get it.
Dick stands outside Mother’s fortress in the ice as his team is scattered across the globe fighting Mother’s “children.” Inside the fortress, Mother is working her mind games on Harper Row. Mother is trying to get Harper to “free” herself from Batman’s interference. Harper still reeling from watching Mother slit David Cain’s throat is certainly vulnerable. Knowing that Harper is vulnerable she presents Harper with a choice- kill the person who killed her Mother and take back control of her life for herself. This is the choice that Harper has to make to be the person she wants to be- kill Cassandra or take the fight to Mother directly.
The extended Bat-family is doing their best to hold off Mother’s children as the Bat-family tries to stop the towers around the world which are distributing Ichthys. While they each have some initial success, when Mother releases her Orphans, the struggle becomes more intense and the situation more dire. Midnighter turns his monitors over to Cullen and he heads out into the field and sends Stephanie as well. Dick Grayson is still outside Mother’s fortress awaiting some “air support.” Shortly, it arrives- Azrael.
Jean-Paul has arrived to kill Mother, and while Dick is happy for the help, he wants to see Mother brought to justice in front of the world.
This is really Harper’s issue. She has the biggest emotional component. And her story arc really emphasizes the idea of choice. It’s one of those moments that goes beyond comic books or super-heroes. It asks the reader the same question- “what would you do?” “What is the morally correct response?” “How do you view the world?” It’s an example of art reaching the highest levels of achievement. This happens more often than we notice because comics can be so fast paced, and while this book is racing to it’s conclusion in a few issues, it has slowed down long enough to present this the reader with this well-developed conundrum. “Who will Harper choose to be?”
The pace is so fast that it almost doesn’t allow for enough room for this story to breathe. But it does, just enough.
At this point, this book is a must read. There’s enough here for even a new reader to jump on for the 3 issue finale. Go for it!