Batman and Robin Eternal #15. James Tynion IV & Scott Snyder- Story, Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly- Script, Christian Duce- Artist, Gabe Eltaeb- Colors.
The first half of this 26 issue series was a lot of mystery unraveling and solidifying the Bat-family. They were in the dark, confused, but now the second half of the series seems to be shaping up as an offensive against Mother both in the present and the past. This issue we learn that there are a few pieces of the puzzle left to be put into place. Icthys. It’s Jason and Tim’s goal at Gnosis and it lurks in the past as Scarecrow and Mother plot against Batman in Prague.
The Present- Tim, Jason and Azrael in Gnosis, The Secret City of St. Dumas-
Azael realizes he’s failed the Order of St. Dumas when he allowed Tim, Jason and Bane to infiltrate the stronghold on Santa Prisca. He resolves to make things right as he refocusses himself. The early warning sensors alert him as Tim triggers them on his way through the dessert to Gnosis. Azrael meets him at the door and Tim speaks penitently offering an unconscious Jason Todd as proof of his sincerity.
In his headgear Azrael can hear St. Dumas talking to him. It is St. Dumas that believes Tim and orders Azrael to drop Jason into a pit with a locked cover and to bring Tim to an audience with himself. Tim plays the role well enough to convince Dumas to the point that the “Saint” offers Tim the role of Azrael in lieu of Jean-Paul’s failure. This upsets Jean-Paul clearly, but Tim continues to make trouble for the Order as he balks at taking up Azrael’s mantle.
While this portion of the issue started out fairly intriguing, the ruse played out too quickly. It didn’t seem believable that Dumas would take Tim at his word. Dumas is interfaced with a number of computers and seems to have whatever knowledge he desires at his fingertips. Admittedly, he is not the original Dumas, but rather the current one as it appears the moniker is passed along to the next member of the Order who is deemed worthy. Buried deep under the sand in the hidden desert city of Gnosis, “Dumas” and the Order have been waging their private war for years.
The Past- Scarecrow, Mother, Orphan, Batman and Robin in Prague-
Scarecrow divulges to Mother his psychological profile of Batman- his “professional opinion.” He paints Batman as someone who is afraid of fear and is a “brutal, unstable, insane little boy.” He does appear to be pandering to Mother as he refers to her as Batman’s only mother. In the Prague Batcave, Dick and Bruce prepare for the upcoming fight. Dick at first has some misgivings about Batman being 100% forthcoming about the mission. While Bruce tries to assuage Dick’s concerns, there’s something about the scene and the reader’s knowledge of what’s going on that make it seem like Bruce is still holding back. With the end of issue #1 in mind in that alley in Cairo, it should come as no surprise. Bruce and Dick are headed to Cairo ostensibly to stop the Scarecrow from releasing his fear gas.
Orphan was watching Mother and Scarecrow and continues to make his concerns known. David Cain’s role in this story seems to be solidified. However, the Scarecrow may yet surprise us. There is still the mystery of that alley in Cairo as well. Just what did Batman do?
Dick and Bruce are off to Cairo in the past. In the present, Jason manages to escape his pit-prison and Tim has a showdown with Azrael. It all falls apart for Jean-Paul. Disgraced in front of St. Dumas, he is faced with a decision. It’s easier for him as Dumas puts Tim down and Jason once he arrives on the scene.
Dumas says that Jean-Paul will die with Tim. You can see it in Jean-Paul’s eyes. But he doesn’t get to act. Perhaps, Jean-Paul will get his redemption next issue. Dumas hits Jason with the Ichthys.
So what might Jason fear most? The Joker with a crowbar, maybe?