Batman and Robin Eternal #1
Review by Paul Bowler
DC Comics new weekly comic series Batman and Robin Eternal #1 is finally here! This sequel to the hugely successful weekly series Batman Eternal will focus on Robin and the many characters that have been involved in the Dark Knights legacy as Robins, and will form a major Bat-Family story event to celebrate Robin’s 75th Anniversary!
Years ago, Batman and Robin tackled one of the most unsettling cases of their careers, when they brought down a secret organization run by a ruthless human trafficker – a mysterious woman known as Mother. Although Dick Grayson never fully appreciated the true scale of the case back then, those dark secrets from the past are returning to haunt him and everyone who ever worked alongside Batman. Now Bruce Wayne is no longer Batman, Dick Grayson and his allies must deal with the menace without him. But who can really be trusted, is someone amongst them not quite who they seem, and who is the silent – yet extremely deadly – young woman swathed in black who has recently arrived in Gotham City in search of Batman?
Batman and Robin Eternal will feature a wealth of characters, villains, international intrigue, plot twists, and a few new additions to the saga of Batman and Robin along the way over the next six months in this new weekly blockbusting DC Comics series from lead writer James Tynion IV, together with Batman writer Scott Snyder, and co-writers Tim Seeley, Steve Orlando, Genevieve Valentine, Ed Brisson, and Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, with lead artist Tony S. Daniel fronting an art team which includes Paul Pelletier, Scott Eaton, and Francis Manapul.
Being the 75th anniversary of Robin the boy wonder, and of course the character of Dick Grayson, the original Robin, this 26 issue weekly series gets off to a exciting start with Batman and Robin Eternal #1, featuring story by James Tynion V & Scott Snyder, script by James Tynion V, with art from Tony Daniel’s, together with inks by Sandu Florea, colors by Tomeu Morey, and letters by Tom Napolitano, we plunge right into the heart of the action as three time lines converge as one. Years ago in Cairo, Egypt, a hooded figure guns down a young boys parents, while Batman and Robin patrol the Gotham skyline in the then, and in present-day Gotham Spryal agent Dick Grayson’s return to the city (see Grayson #12) finds him engaged in a motorbike chase with drugged-up weapons designer. Grayson gets some backup from Red Hood and Red Robin, and soon the action-packed chase is over and the trio quickly capture the high-tech weapons dealer.
I really like the strong dynamic between Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Tim Drake. They make a great team, there’s some fun banter between them as well, and working in a Gotham where Bruce is no longer Batman has clearly strengthened the bond between them. While Dick sets off to deal with some official super-spy business, Red Hood’s opinion of Gotham’s new Dark Knight is brought into sharper focus when Bluebird has a run in with the new Batman, and it seems Harper’s no pushover when it come to dealing with Bat-Bots!
Even though the weekly series takes place in the present-day setting of Gotham, where Bruce Wayne is no long Batman and Jim Gordon has taken over as the new robo-suited Dark Knight, Bruce still have a key role to play. The story revolves around a mystery from the past from back when Dick Grayson was Robin, and Bruce Wayne was the Batman, and involves Mother during Robin’s first globe trotting adventure. Flashbacks to these past events featuring Batman / Bruce Wayne and Robin / Dick Grayson are fleeting in this first issue, but when Grayson’s mission at the reopening of a Gotham University in the present reminds him of his first encounter with Scarecrow when he was Robin, it sets in motion a deadly chain of events that could unleash danger and betrayal on all sides as an unknown figure from the past returns.
It’s also good to see Tony Daniel returning to Gotham City. Tony Daniel’s spent over five years writing drawing Batman comic books and more than three years writing them, so it’s fantastic to see Tony Daniel’s art in Batman and Robin Eternal. Since moving on from Detective Comics in 2012 the writer / artist has worked on a number of projects, including writing and drawing the recent run of Deathstroke. As we might’ve expected, Batman and Robin Eternal provides a welcome reunion for Daniel’s with these iconic characters, and his brilliant artwork on this first issue quickly sets the tone and style of this weekly series. The inks by Sandu Florea are also excellent, highlighting every aspect of Daniel’s art, and the rich colors by Tomeu Morey make this issue look absolutely stunning. Needless to say, the cover for Batman and Robin Eternal #1 by Tony Daniel, Sandu Florea, and Tomeu Morey, is superb, and probably one of the most impressive covers for a new series that I’ve seen in a long time! (There is also a great variant cover by Mikel Janin.)
It’s no secret that the all new, silent and deadly version, of Cassandra Cain makes her welcome debut to the New 52 in Batman and Robin Eternal, and it’s clear her role will be a key factor that drives the narrative of this weekly series. Let’s just say that her appearance during this issue comes at a most unexpected moment, actually it completely wrong-foots you, and it’s a brilliantly handled scene that illustrates her fighting skills perfectly. I’ve always liked Cassandra Cain, she’s a terrific character, and I’m looking forward to discovering more about her role in the events of Batman and Robin Eternal in the weeks ahead.
There are also some good scenes featuring Harper and her brother, Cullen, their bond is as strong as ever, however, it seems Steph isn’t too happy about being left on the sidelines again while Bluebird hit’s the streets. Harper Row is another worthy addition to the Bat-Family, she’s evolved into such a pivotal character since her introduction, and I’m sure Batman and Robin Eternal will give the character a chance really to shine.
Dark secrets wait in the shadows, there’s a message from the past for Dick Grayson, and who is the mysterious Orphan? James Tynion V and Scott Snyder have worked their magic on Batman and Robin Eternal #1, Tynion’s engaging multi-layered script sets a high benchmark for the series, as the story weaves seamlessly between timelines, and the art by Tony Daniel’s is stunning! Batman and Robin Eternal #1 delivers a cracking start to the series, packed from cover to cover with full-throttle action, great characterization, and one of the most jaw-dropping final pages ever its clear we are going to be in for one hell of a ride!
Publisher: DC Comics
Story by James Tynion V & Scott Snyder
Script by James Tynion V
Art: Tony Daniel
Inks: Sandu Florea
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Cover: Tony Daniel, Sandu Florea, and Tomeu Morey / variant cover: Mikel Janin