Batman and Robin Eternal #25. James Tynion IV & Scott Snyder- Story, Steve Orlando- Script, Javi Piña & Goran Sudzuka- inks, Chris Sotomayor- Colors.
This is a fast paced penultimate issue that does a fine job of setting up the finale in issue #26. While not as thoughtful as last issue, it does provide a follow up to the theme of “choice” and the near payoff between Mother and Harper. It also further distances Mother from Bruce Wayne as it demonstrates how damaged Mother is in her world view. I believe there’s even bit of room to pity her- how very Silver Age.
The Orphans are really giving the Bat-family a tough time of it. Midnighter and Cullen come up with a plan to help the family. Just as each hero was delivered to their respective tower to take down with Midnighter’s God Garden Tech, Cullen, who’s still in the control room sets up doorways at all the tower sites so that the family can shove their Orphan out of the way permanently. And boy, are they in for a surprise when they arrive at Midnighter’s house of fun! This allows the Bat-family to stop the Ichthys broadcasters on the towers. Crane completes the Trauma Toxin and Cullen is able to deliver it to the Bat-family around the world.
Last issue, Harper was faced with a choice- to kill or not kill Cassandra. Mother, as she has manipulated so many children in her life, believes she has given Harper the way to complete her circle of pain and trauma- kill Cassandra! Cassandra killed Harper’s mother and knocked her life off the rails, only by killing Cassandra will Harper complete the circle. And this insistence on Mother’s part really demonstrates how broken and damaged she is. She claims she wants to save the world by making every child stronger. He vision is limited because of her own experience. He had to push through trauma and pain and believes that is the ONLY way to become stronger.
So Harper has to make a decision….Mother’s soliloquy is interrupted as Ichthys is shut down and the Trauma Toxin takes affect, releasing the children from its influence.
Meanwhile, outside, Dick is working his own head games on Azrael. In a lovely bit of oratory, Dick manages to convince that Azrael that by killing Mother, Mother succeeds. Dick has provided Azrael with a choice.
Dick crashes in on Mother and Harper to set up the final confrontation.
The tension is certainly right where it should be as this series is right on top of the finale next issue. The distinction between Mother and Bruce continues to be a deeper touch to the series. The Bat-family functions as a large extended family. Bruce’s legacy is alive and well in an ever expanding family of heroes. Bruce has done what Mother wished to do, but that she never could given her methods.
Too late in the game to worry about negatives, this last bit will read quite well in one sitting.
Anticipation is high for the final issue- Dick and Mother’s showdown, Harper’s choice and the future of the Bat-family. And a lingering question- Will Bruce make an appearance? Gotta be back for the finale in Batman and Robin Eternal #26!