Batman and Robin Eternal #19. James Tynion IV & Scott Snyder- Story, Tim Seeley- Script, Paul Pelletier- Pencils, Tony Kordos- Inks, Rain Beredo- Colors.
This issue is a little bit different from the usual Batman and Robin Eternal. We get a big dose of action as Mother’s plan begins to take fruition. The entire issue takes place in one locale and in the present. The characters all link up and reset the stage for the next chapter, though it seems by the end of the issue that #20 will be a bit more action before the next sequence can begin. Most importantly, the tension that has been simmering between Helena and Dick in Grayson is present here and we see Dick step up his leadership directing Helena and Dr. Netz ignoring the fact that Helena is his superior at Spyral.
St. Hadrian’s- Everybody–
Ichthys has taken affect and turned all the kids in the area into “Mother’s Children.” The students at St. Hadrian’s turn on their instructors, and as trained assassins, they certainly give the adults a good showing. Sheer numbers prove to be too much for the adults. Unfortunately, Tim, Harper and Cassandra are affected as well.
Harper succumbs in front of Poppy and Orphan. And Orphan is euphoric. Jason stumbles upon them and ends up having to fight Harper. Cain and Poppy are able to escape as Harper and Jason take down each other. Poppy and Orphan end up on the run from a horde of Spyral students, however.
Meanwhile, Dick and Tim are with Dr. Netz and Helena. They figure out that this is not simply a test of Ichtys, but they are after something- a better delivery device for Ichthys. Apparently, Spyral had developed something which would suit Mother’s needs. Helena explained that Spyral might’ve needed to affect a mass population with their Hypnos and had developed Somnus for just that. This doesn’t sit well with Dick. At the same time Tim and Cass lose control. Before being completely lost, Tim is able to tell the team that the Scarecrow’s fear gas will act as an antidote to Ichthys. Tim and Cass get a hit of “fear” and Dick splits them up into to two teams- Dr. Netz, Tim and Helena to the generator to shut down the power at Hadrian’s and prevent Mother from gaining control of Somnus, and himself and Cass to find Jason and Harper.
This issue expands the scope of Mother’s plan and shows Dick taking charge in a manner which will be familiar to long time fans of the character. The story continues to hum along with excitement and just the right amount of characterization. There is a real depth to the full cast of characters as we see glimpses of the conflict within Helena and her position as Spyral as well as Tim fighting so hard through the affects of Ichthys to contribute to the team. As Dick’s position at Spyral is tenuous, it is very intriguing to see him having to rely on them whlie at the same time be appalled by their development of Somnus. And I never get tired of seeing the Kathy Kane/ Batwoman inspired duds the St. Hadrian’s students wear.
Jumping into this issue might be tough. There’s a lot that’s transpired for the team to get to this spot. Having Scarecrow’s fear gas on hand was a bit of a lucky turn. Why did Netz have it ready to go? Or maybe there’s more to it and Dick will figure it out as the story moves along.
Another great issue in this highly enjoyable series. The character moments are truly the best parts of this book, but the story continues to be engaging. While Mother has become a lot more vulnerable throughout this series, the threat she poses still gives the Robins a big challenge.