Batman and Robin Eternal #4. James Tynion IV & Scott Snyder Story, Steve Orlando- Script, Scot Eaton- Pencils, Wayne Faucher- Inks, Gabe Eltaeb- Colors.
Since Dick Grayson’s first appearance as Robin in Detective Comics #38 in 1940, the idea of family has been part of the Batman character. Perhaps not overtly, but certainly on a subliminal level one could argue that Batman’s sidekicks and other heroes that are associated with him, despite whatever protestations he may make, are Batman’s attempt to replace the family he lost on that fateful night in Crime Alley. This issue of Batman and Robin Eternal continues to introduce more of the extended Bat-Family, some who have volunteered without Batman’s consent. But isn’t that the way it usually is?
The Present, Wayne Tower–
This issue picks up directly with the kitchen attack on Bruce Wayne at the Wayne Tower welcome home gala for the amnesiac Batman. Dick seems overwhelmed at first by the sheeer numbers of attackers. He is soon joined in Bruce’s defense with the appearance of the Robins from We Are Robin. Just to make it a real old home week for Dick, Batgirl shows up shortly to join in the fun. They manage to stop the attackers and get Bruce to safety. However, something seems amiss when Dick admits to Batgirl that he didn’t know she was coming to help. Dick has a quick exchange with the We Are Robin leader to admonish them about the dangers of the life. Dick is at his best as a leader and he certainly comes off that way as he tries to warn the Robins. In another world Dick could be mentoring this group, but he’s pretty busy in this universe.
The Present, In The Cave–
Cass and Harper have skirted off to try and find a way out through one of the myriad of passages therein. They’ve made their peace, but Stephanie Brown is feeling left out and gets left holding the bag when Tim and Jason reappear. They blame Steph for allowing the other two to disappear.
Nothing transpires in the past though there are a few hints of things. The ending is of particular note as is Dick’s arrival at the Drake home. Something is clearly brewing with Tim and his role in the Bat-Family. This combined with the last panel seem like more misdirection. Right?
Bruce recognizes Dick’s voice as Mr. Sparrow from Grayson #12. He can’t make out his face though, because Dick’s Spyral Hypnos are working hard. Dick communicates with Jason and Tim about the severity of the situation they are in. The issue ends with a huge spoiler.
Spoiler (not Stephanie Brown)
Tim receives a call from Mother. Ouch.
This issue pushed the story forward just enough. It adds to the mystery of Mother and Orphan and solidifies the deep bond between Dick and Barbara. Bringing in the Robins and Batgirl was a nice touch. The Bat-Family works well in this format and expanding it adds to the overall approach. This story is about family at its heart and all families continue to expand over time.