I'm sorry to say, but this issue unfortunately reminds me a little too much of the old "Batman Eternal." As you can probably tell, it's not a compliment.
- The authors are definitely phoning in the Jason and Tim story, in terms of jumping from Point A to Point C. Last issue, Jason magically recognized a bunch of black-market dealers, even though it was unclear why he though that they would know anything about Mother's technology. In this issue, Tim learns (presumably from these dealers) that the Order of St. Dumas has been selling technology on the black market and that it matches Mother's signal. Moreover, some "angel of death" has been attacking dealers that dealt with the Order. I think that we're supposed to draw the conclusion that Mother and the Order are working together and that they're now cleaning house, possibly because the Boy Wonders have stumbled upon the connection. But, Lanzing and Kelly (whoever they are) don't make that connection clear, though I'm not sure if it's purposefully obfuscating or not. Moreover, they hint that the Order trained Orphan and that he could be the aforementioned "angel of death." Jason and Tim head to San Prisca, where the Order has built a church on the prison that used to reside there. Not surprisingly, they encounter Bane, and they offer to team with him to take down the Order.
- Harper's interaction with Dick is extremely awkward here, as Lanzing and Kelly have her just blurt out her family history to try to convince Dick that she's not "lucky." Dick is apparently surprised by this information, but he also doesn't hit her with his own reality, to make the point that he knows from personal experience that she's taking too many risks. Moreover, Harper says that he didn't know because she doesn't share the information with jerks...even though she just did. (Yeah, I don't know.)
- Snyder continues to embrace his approach of Bruce as incompetent, as Mother completely outmaneuvers him here. We learn that he put a "device" on her that allowed him to crack into her network, though we're not told how exactly that worked. But, Mother immediately discovered it and fed false information about Scarecrow into it, though we're not told how she started with a hunch that Bruce was Batman. (After all, it's possible that Bruce Wayne on his own was tracking her.) When Robin appeared at the safehouses that she pretended belonged to Scarecrow, it confirms for her that Bruce is Batman. Here, it's his over-confidence that undoes him, even though Snyder has used a number of reasons over his run to explain his incompetence. Mother accuses Bruce of wanting a new Robin and not a new wife; Bruce denies it and flees from her.
** (two of five stars)