Monday, January 25, 2016

Batman and Robin Eternal #7 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Ooo, it's getting good!  Let's get started.

First, we've got Dick with Cass and Harper in Prague.  They've identified the prima ballerina at the ballet as the next target on Mother's list, so Dick sends in Cass and Harper to keep an eye on her while he tries to follow Orphan's signal.  (Since almost everyone on Cass' list is dead, Dick assumes that they're cleaning house.)  Meanwhile, an angry Tim has recruited Jason to help him follow a similar signal, one reminiscent of the interference that he couldn't penetrate the night of the attack on Beacon Tower.  Along the way, Jason hilariously tries to get Tim to talk about his fight with Dick.  It's clear that Jason really does want to know how satisfying it is to punch Dick ("Punching Dick Grayson is kinda my dream date"), but he's also trying to get Tim to talk about how he feels.  (Look at Jason, going all Dr. Phil.)  Jason IDs some black-market pros to question in the bar where he's brought Tim, though I'm not quite sure why they think that they'll know anything about Mother.  Meanwhile, Dick realizes that it's all been a trap:  the Orphan signal was faked to lure him to the theater, and Mother activates the ballerina (along with seemingly all the dancers on the stage) to take on Cass and Harper.  More importantly, Mother makes her first appearance, telling Dick that it's good to see him again. 

Beyond the increasingly intriguing plot, this issue really sings due to its characterization.  I love that Dick already knows Harper well enough that he gives her his tuxedo from when he and Bruce were in Prague to wear to the ballet, since he knows that a dress isn't really her style.  But, a dress is Cass' style, so Harper steals one for her, and we get to watch as she enjoys for the first time getting to feel like a normal girl.  Plus, Valentine gets that the ballet would be particularly meaningful to Cass, given her ability to read movement like language.  Meanwhile, Jason's talk with Tim at the bar -- where he reminds Tim that he understands what it's like to be the Robin that no one trusts -- is touching, in part because of its bro-i-ness.  Jason isn't exactly the type of guy that handles emotions well, but he makes the connection that he needs to make with Tim.  Even the NPCs get great treatment, with the director of the ballet -- the adoptive mother of the ballerina -- conveying sorrow before activating the girl, wishing that Mother would wait.  (It's pretty clear that Mother gave the woman the girl.)

My only nit-picky point is that Harper comments that Orphan lost a foot; but, he actually lost a hand, in issue #5.  But, given the beating he gave Harper around that time, maybe she was just too concussed to remember.  #noprize

I think it's the first issue that I've read of Valentine's, but she can stay as long as she wants.  I can't say that I was as thrilled with Martinez's fairly generic pencils, but, overall, it was an exciting issue, particular since I didn't see the trap coming.

**** (four of five stars)

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