Saturday, November 21, 2015

Batman and Robin Eternal #2 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

I'm happy to say that Seeley does a great job here.  Not surprisingly, he's got down Dick's voice beautifully, and it really shows.

The highlight of the issue for me was Dick expressing surprise at the number of teenage superheroes in Gotham, climaxing with him asking if they were handing out costumes in cereal boxes when he meets Spoiler.  It goes exactly to the heart of what I think we all want this story to be:  Dick as the leader of the Robins, in all their official and unofficial iterations.  In other words, in the wake of the loss of Bruce, Dick is stepping into his role as head of the family.  (Stephanie essentially demands that he do so in this issue, complaining about the "robot" chasing them around the city in the wake of Batman's death.  She also keeps referring to him as "sexy Batman," which cracks up my shit.)

At the moment, Dick is more interested in just making sure that the people on Mother's list are still alive.  He arrived at Harper's apartment just in time to see Cassandra kick the Orphan's ass, and he's relieved when Tim arrives to help, since it means that he's also alive.  (Tim has apparently planted monitors in the girls' apartment, saying that the Orphan's attack justifies him keeping a particularly creepy eye on them.  It certainly fits with this more arrogant and ethically challenged version of Tim that we have in the DCnU.)  They then contact Jason, who's holding Cassandra at gunpoint.  I love this moment, since it really gives some rare credit to Jason.  Cassandra has so far been portrayed as an unstoppable fighting machine, but Jason has apparently managed to subdue her.

Speaking of Cass, she still hasn't spoken, though they know her name since the Orphan helpfully mentioned it in front of Harper.  Adding to the mystery, Dick and Stephanie smell fear gas in the apartment, and it appears to be part of the Orphan's costume.  (Its smell prompts Dick to remember his first exposure to the gas, while chasing Crane that first time.  His fear?  That he's not good enough for Batman.)

My only complaint -- and it's a very small one -- is that the Orphan wears his (and it seems to be a him) motivations a little too clearly on his sleeve.  He taunts Harper over her brother fleeing, asking if he's gone to get help or abandoning her like all families do.  Harsh, dude.  Harsh.

Otherwise, it's pitch perfect.  Although they're teenagers, they're all still remarkably competent, as Harper proves when she manages -- in her beaten state -- to grab her gun and electrify the fire escape just as the Orphan touches it.  I love the idea of Dick acknowledging this wealth of talent and assembling all of them into an unstoppable army.  In the meantime, I'm also loving the banter and relationships between them.  Seeley could give me 52 issues of them all at a house-warming party, and I'd be here with bells on every issue.

**** (four of five stars)

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