Batman and Robin Eternal #14. James Tynion IV & Scott Snyder- Story, James Tynion IV- Script, Fernando Blanco & Roger Robinson- Art, John Rauch- Colors.
Trust. Family. Humanity. As much as last issue was an affirmation of family, this issue teases the trust issues that Bruce Wayne has cultivated with his friends and family. This tease has been there all along, since the first issue and sprinkled here and there throughout. Those teases pay off in the finale of this issue as Dick affirms his understanding of Bruce as a man and not something more than human. Humanity. Oh, and it strengthens that familial bond as well.
The most important aspect of this issue is that while it doesn’t progress the plot forward very far, it adds so much to the characters. It also allows the Trust teases to pay off. It is very well put together and an extremely satisfying read despite boiling the plot down to “Dick, Cass and Harper escape the bomb.”
The Past- Batman, Robin & The Scarecrow in Prague-
Bruce and Dick have tracked Jonathan Crane to his chemical facility. Crane gets Batman to send Robin on a bomb dismantling errand on the roof and Crane then gives up Mother. He tells Batman her plan and why he’s been helping. Batman turns the tables on Crane and only promises him safe return to Arkham Asylum if he reports to Mother what Batman wants Crane to report. A little manipulation is good for the Bat.
The Present- Dick, Harper, Cass and David Cain in the Nursery-
Oh, yeah- there’s a nuclear bomb about to go off beneath them. The bomb element in the past and the present was a nice connector. Unfortunately, the results are not the same. Dick sends Harper and Cass to dismantle the bomb! Dick takes on David Cain as Cain continues to be oblivious to the danger and considers it a test. To no avail, Dick pleads with him to help them.
As Harper fails to make any headway with the bomb, she and Cass have a beautiful bonding moment. I can see a new book on the way- Gotham Girls starring Harper, Cass, Steph and Harper’s brother, Cullen. This conglomerate has developed over this series and Batman Eternal into a unique group that would function well together that could develop under Bruce and Dick’s watchful eyes. With maybe a little Red Robin sprinkled in.
Dick puts David Cain down. Down. Don’t ever think that Dick Grayson isn’t every bit as capable as Bruce. Dick arrives to help get Harper and Cass out with Cain as their prisoner. Cain tried to play Bruce’s humanity against Dick by revealing things about the past that would’ve broken Dick’s trust in Bruce. But Dick knows Bruce, unlike David Cain. Dick isn’t under the supposition that Bruce is more than human. To Cain, Batman is a living legend.
A physical embodiment of fear. A symbol, something more than human. To Dick, Bruce is a man. He gets hurt, he bleeds, he questions. He is a man. As Dick says, it’s his greatest strength and his greatest weakness. This is no Bat-god. Bruce is a man for good and bad. But at the end of the day, he is a good man at the head of a family. Family, remember that. Oh, so close to 5…4.75.