Batman and Robin Eternal #26. James Tynion IV & Scott Snyder- Story, James Tynion IV- Script, Scot Eaton, Carlo Pagulayan, Igor Vitorino, Geraldo Borges- Pencils, Wayne Faucher, Jason Paz, Marc Deering, Geraldo Borges- inks, Allen Passalaqua & Gabe Eltaeb- Colors.
There’s no turning back now, finally, we get the showdown between Dick and Mother. It may not turn out like you expect though. And of course, Harper makes that choice. Most importantly, the relationship between Batman and his Robins is reinforced. For all the craziness that Batman brings to one’s life, this issue shows that he really does have the best interests of the Robins at heart. He’s not like Mother, though he may have feared he was going down the same path.
The issue opens with a really touching flashback with Harper and her real mother before she was killed. It’s everything you’d hope it would be. And the substance of it shows up later when we see Harper be the woman she was raised to be.
In the present, Harper makes that choice, and that’s to stall long enough to figure out how to do as much damage to the electrical system in the fortress with the knife Mother put in her hand. While Harper, Cass and Dick all do their part, it’s someone else entirely who delivers the coup de grace to Mother. Before that, Azrael appears to help shut down Mother’s back up Somnus system. The extended Bat-family arrives to take on Mother’s Orphans and after an extended battle with the Robins, Orphan himself reappears to finish Mother. Finally, and he takes himself with her. And all is good with the Robins and the non-Robins, Steph, Cass, Cullen and Harper. Batman has truly built a family. And Dick, in true Batman spirit continues to prepare his comrades for any of Mother’s contingencies, not content with a celebration. After all, he knows what it means to be Batman.
We are then treated to an epilogue set after Bruce’s return to the cowl. He has a reassuring moment with both Harper and Cassandra. They both choose their own paths, Harper off to college and Cass assumes the name, Orphan, from her father, with a promise from Bruce or training.
Lastly, Bruce has a debriefing with Dick. Whatever may have been an obstacle between them has been settled. Damian rushes in with his impetuousness and the Reds, Robin and Hood arrive to join in. See, they’re actually on a stake out, and Batman declares it’s a job for Batman and Robin- all of them!
From the beginning, this series was about the relationship between Bruce and the young men who have been Robin. But, as the story unfolded, it became clear that it extended to a larger family. Despite what people may believe about Batman being a lone avenger in the dark of night, for him to grow as a person, he had to be able to relate to other. And this is what is at the heart of this series. It’s an aspect of the character that hasn’t always been embraced, but one which is essential to understanding the effect of the trauma Bruce suffered as a child. It only makes sense that after he lost his family, part of his mission would be building a new one, even if it was done subconsciously.
26 issues is a long story arc.
This is a great story for fans of Batman and any one of his many Robins and protégés. It succeeds at getting to the heart of the character and in a fun and sometimes surprising way. This is a must read for all fans of Batman and Dick Grayson. And Harper Row. It ranks high in this reviewer’s estimation of the Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told. 4 3/4.