Writers: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Tim Seeley, Steve Orlando, Genevieve Valentine, Ed Brisson, Jackson Lanzing, and Collin Kelley
Scripted by: James Tynion IV
Artist: Tony Daniel
It’s an interesting time to be a Batman fan. With Jim Gordon donning the Batman mantle, with Dick Grayson the original Robin being an undercover spy, and the Robin identity being diffused among multiple people some would argue it couldn’t be a worse time to launch a series like Batman & Robin Eternal to examine just what the legacy of Robin means to Batman’s own legacy. However, as this first issue proves: there may not be a better time to do such a thing. The elevator pitch examines something that hasn’t been particularly noted within the main Batman book itself, what Batman’s protégés would do in the event of his death, and replacement by someone who plainly doesn’t tolerate the presence of teen-aged superheroes.
That being said, the main hook as implied has been interesting: the idea that Batman himself arranged for all of the Robins to become what they are. While obviously that wouldn’t likely stick, the idea of toying with the sanctity of the relationships of the Robins with that of Batman is an extremely compelling one. Moreover, so far everyone who appears has something natural to add beyond the banter, including Gordon (even if he’s juggling 3 regular appearances per month at this point). While the predecessor series Batman Eternal started off with a mystery of its own, this one is better crafted to giving the typical supporting characters a more meaningful entrance into the plot and more specifically relies upon the absence of Bruce Wayne to allow for that to happen.
The beauty of a Bruce Wayne-less plot is that he’s not the plot driver as usual, allowing for other characters to step up, and it works to great effect here. The art from Tony Daniel is serviceable, although not of the same varied nature as Jason Fabok’s work in the Eternal predecessor. Dick Grayson does get his due as the lean super spy he’s been built up to be in the current books, which works best in the issue itself apart from some of the scratchier work present.
Pretty much any Robin fan (minus the current ones) will get what they want here. This is a celebration for the decades of Robin history, and for the Batman protégés in general. For anyone wanting the next big Batman plot, or the return of neglected characters: you’ll be happy with the result, although the price tag and length may be a bit of a commitment for some.
3.5 out of 5 Robins
Review by Slewo