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The second issue of Batman and Robin Eternal stumbles this week, as we get a shift in artwork and a story halt.
The second issue of Batman and Robin Eternal is out this week, and although it still has great artwork and an intriguing story, it dims in comparison to last week’s fantastic pilot. Changing up the art team, issue #2’s cover is drawn by last week’s penciller Tony Daniel, while the rest of the book is done by Paul Pelletier.
We catch up to the story with Harper Row brutally beaten by an unknown bloody assassin, just as the still-silent Cassandra Cain bursts in to save the day. The fight scene plays out great; with Pelletier carrying over Cassandra’s style by highlighting hit points on the assassin. It’s great to see Cassandra Cain back in the DC universe, and very suspect that the only word she has said in these first two issues is “mother”.
We then see the appearance of the “Sexy Batman”, when Dick Grayson arrives on scene but fails to stop Cassandra or the assassin. The story slows down here when “The Spoiler” Stephanie Brown arrives, and we get more insight to what Dick Grayson has been doing since his unmasking and “death” in Forever Evil. Even if you haven’t read Grayson, you should already know the basics of what Dick has been up to, so it drags the issue down a bit when it wastes two pages on this.
The issue does improve from here, with another great flashback to the first time Batman and Robin took on The Scarecrow. The artwork is very colorful during this sequence, although one small tidbit was the deviation that Pelletier takes from last week’s classic blue/grey Batsuit, to a darker black and grey version. I personally loved the classic blue/grey suit with the yellow belt, but this is among the inevitable changes tied to having such a diverse creative team. Pelletier’s artwork really shines during this confrontation, with a fear-toxin induced hallucination of the main Bat-villains being the highlight of the entire book.
We then switch back to the Bat family with the re-appearance of Red Robin, and some very odd insight into how he knew the girls were in trouble. This doesn’t really hit home when Red Robin reveals he had put a camera in Harper and Stephanie’s room, since this doesn’t seem like a thing Tim Drake would do. Hopefully we’ll get more action with Red Robin, as he seems to be the only character in this story not getting proper treatment.
The book does nail Jason Todd as Red Hood though, showcasing his arrogance and sarcastic prowess in a new and fresh way. I love how Cassandra Cain easily beats Grayson in issue #1, while Red Hood manages to best her within moments. Hopefully we get more of Jason Todd, and more of the different dynamics between the Bat-family.
The good of Batman and Robin Eternal #2 is the different narratives taking place in separate time periods, even if we don’t get any more insight into “Mother” or the mysterious assassin tasked to kill Harper Row. We also don’t find out more on last issue’s final panel, with Batman seemingly having murdered a young Egyptian boy’s parents. Hopefully the story will veer back into this territory, since this second issue really slows at points of redundant exposition. All in all, this book shows promise of being a new and captivating entry into the ongoing Bat-franchise, and I recommend adding this to your weekly reading list.
Batman and Robin Eternal #2 has its flaws, but is still a worthwhile read from Snyder and CO.