The finale to the “Batman and Robin Eternal” weekly series is a celebration of Batman’s legacy and that of his diverse family. With this conclusion, many story threads are teased for the “Rebirth” future.
Written by James Tynion IV
Illustrated by Scot Eaton, Carlo Pagulayan, Igor Vitorino, and Geraldo Borges
It’s the catastrophic conclusion of the acclaimed weekly series that brings together all of Batman’s one-time partners! Mother’s trap has been sprung, and the whole world is feeling her wrath! Can Dick Grayson pull together his allies to fight an entire army of foes? Is one among them still under Mother’s control? And what will become of Cassandra Cain? You won’t believe how huge this battle can become!
“Batman and Robin” #26 — written by now-veteran Bat-writer and future “Detective Comics” writer James Tynion IV — is a satisfying conclusion to a twenty-six issue weekly series that focused on the Robins and their mission to defeat the villainess Mother. Despite the rotating writers during its run, the series’ story was always credited to Bat-guru Scott Snyder and Tynion. The spotlight on the Snyder and Greg Capullo-created Harper Row (A.K.A. Bluebird) made for a further fleshing out of a fascinating character. With the re-introduction of beloved characters such as Azrael and Cassandra Cain, this series promised a lot. Although there were intermittent slow spots, this extra-sized finale has emotional moments that rely more on character than the mission.
Readers knew from the beginning of “Batman and Robin Eternal” that relationships were going to be the central focus of this series. The machinations of Mother, the strings she pulled as a master manipulating puppeteer, and the swirling mystery that brought every Bat-member together (sans the Bat) were genuine ways to create an intriguing story that didn’t feel forced in any way. “Batman and Robin Eternal” #26, although not an overwhelming shocker, successfully completed the tasks it set out to accomplish in expected and unexpected ways.
Some criticism could be lobbed this issue’s way because of the lack of resolution concerning certain characters. Tynion, however, does this for a reason. Batman and his many Robins/allies are, as the title suggests, an “eternal” bunch. Tynion successfully teases the many possibilities of the paths these characters’ lives can take going forward post-“Rebirth”. Relationships are tested, bonds are further strengthened, and lessons are learned that transform every member of Batman’s inner circle. Bat-fans will be thoroughly satisfied with certain emotional moments, while the casual reader will be enticed to delve deeper into the recesses of this niche in the DC Universe.
There are minor qualms this reviewer has with “Batman and Robin Eternal” #26, but they are inconsequential to the overall enjoyment of the issue. There is a resolution that seems too tidily cleaned up, yet also keeps open the likelihood of further adventures. One character’s arc doesn’t have a resolution and hopefully this individual gains prominence with the advent of “Rebirth”. This person has had classic arcs in the past and is deserving of the reinvention that was given to us in this weekly.
There are characters throughout “Batman and Robin Eternal”’s run that were obvious favorites of each particular writer involved in telling this epic. Tynion, with this issue as evidence, definitely enjoys writing Bluebird and the female characters. He gives them natural and distinct voices, with dialogue that is infectious and proof of his passion and love for these characters. Tynion has fun writing this book and, because of that, causes us to have fun as well.
The art for “Batman and Robin Eternal” #26 was supplied by four artists (Scot Eaton, Carlo Pagulayan, Igor Vitorino, and Geraldo Borges) and four inkers (Wayne Faucher, Jason Paz, Marc Deering, and Geraldo Borges). There isn’t much distinction between each artist, which gives the issue a relatively consistent style. It would have been preferable to have a singular voice in the art department when it came to the finale, but each artist was capable enough to inspire the emotions needed for the issue. A particular highlight in this issue was the opening scene with Bluebird, Mother, and Dick Grayson. The faces are particular emotive and the inking transformed this scene into something more distinct and special than the remainder of the pages. Whoever the artist was, they draw a superb Bluebird. Her outfit and the motion of an object she tosses are dynamic and fluid throughout.Continued below
Inconsistency occurs in just a few instances when it comes to facial expressions and facial build. One particular scene depicts Dick as older than he is and the artist gives him a comically long nose that is inconsistent to what has come before. These minor flaws could be avoided by having one artist and erase the rushed feeling of certain panels or layouts.
Allen Passalaqua and Gabe Eltaeb brighten the issue with colors that burst off the page. From the rich blue hue of Bluebird’s costume (and purple hair) to the flaming reds and yellows of battle, both colorists hold the reader’s eye with palette choices that jolt and are never boring. Their coloring retains the momentum of the action and emotional moments.
With an ending guaranteed to instill hope, “Batman and Robin Eternal” #26 is the end of a weekly series that succeeded in accomplishing its mission. Characters’ backstories were made richer, an intriguing villainess worthy of Batman and his allies was introduced, and further story seeds were planted for the future. Like all successful comic book stories, it left us wanting more of this world.
Final Verdict: 8.5 – Although somewhat flawed because of some inconsistent artwork, the final issue of “Batman and Robin Eternal” was a testament to the love that writer James Tynion IV has for the Bat family.