Batman & Robin Eternal #1 Review

Batman-and-Robin-Eternal-Cover-1

You will quickly learn that from the DC Universe, my two favourite heroes are The Flash and Nightwing.

I have been craving for Nightwing to shine! Ever since he left Gotham, his adventures have been lacking something. His adventures have been lacking heroes, actual villains, and the psychologically twisted city that Gotham is. Nightwing fans are sure to enjoy what this series promises to bring. We get to delve into one of Batman biggest failures in his career back when it was just him and the original boy wonder.

Grayson is back in Gotham and is in action with his former teammates while trying to be a super spy at the same time. This issue reintroduces some old favourites from the bat-family that have yet to show up in the New 52 world and leads me to believe that there will be a lot of teaming up in future issues. If you consider yourself a fan of Nightwing and have lost hope ever since “Grayson” began, then I encourage you to grab a copy because though he hasn’t stepped into the role that we all want him to be, the writers seem to really be setting up Grayson to maybe take on a new identity and get back to being a superhero.

If you feel like you aren’t going to pick up the issue just yet, or need to know more about the plot first, check out below as I give a quick summary and my hopes for the future of this series.

Score: 4/5

** SPOILERS 😛

If you haven’t been keeping up with comics lately, here’s a super short recap:

Nightwing’s secret identity (Dick Grayson) was unveiled to the world and was presumed dead. He then became a super spy with Spyral (an organization that was collecting all of the secrets of the Justice League) in hopes that Batman and himself would take it down. Bruce Wayne now has amnesia and is no longer Batman which made Grayson want to give up the spy life and come back to Gotham, only to be coerced back into from Spyral. Before going back to Spyral, Grayson made contact with all of his former teammates (Red Hood, Red Robin, Batgirl and the current Robin) to let them know that he was alive and that he has some sort of secret plan which we do not know about yet. Oh ALSO, Jim Gordon is running around Gotham in a giant Robo-Batman suit.

This leads us to  Batman & Robin Eternal #1 where we find Grayson partnering with Red Hood and Red Robin chasing down some drugged up futuristic weapons dealer on a pretty cool motorcycle. Even if only for 3-4 pages, it is unbelievably refreshing to see Grayson in Gotham, and teaming up with his adopted brothers. Most issues from the New 52 Nightwing/Grayson have only had the occasional run-ins with other heroes, never lasting very long or brought in as a flashback treat. The conversations between the adopted brothers is also refreshing.  Red Hood and Grayson take down the weapons dealer with a rather cheesy yet satisfying double punch.

We’re also re-introduced to Bluebird a tech savvy side kick wannabe who manages to immobilize Jim Gordon’s bat suit with only a car battery, some computer chips and whistling. I never knew about this character before, but what I find very intriguing is that her sister is ‘Stephanie’ who also runs around in a costume calling herself ‘Spoiler’.

Spoiler has come up in a few Batgirl issues before. Pre-52 Stephanie eventually went from being ‘Spoiler’ to the new Robin, to the fourth Batgirl after Cassandra Cain.

After dealing with the hopped up weapons dealer, Grayson begins his Spyral mission in Gotham in where he is supposed to infiltrate a museum where we learn is the same museum that Grayson had his first real super villain encounter with Scarecrow. He tells the story to his partner Poppy who is watching and listening to him in a Van outside. Grayson quickly learns that he has fallen into a trap specifically for him, not as a Spyral agent, but a trap for Dick Grayson, former boy wonder. He’s betrayed by his partner who aplogizes saying that “mother” wanted this.

As Grayson escapes on his motorcycle, he is booted off by none other than…..Cassandra Cain! Wait, what?! That’s correct, Cassandra Cain whom as far as I know has not been re-introduced in the New 52 world appears from no-where and quite simply wipes the floor with Dick. Laid out on the ground Grayson looks up and see’s Cassandra Standing on the corner of a rooftop in a extremely Batman-esque pose which initially makes you think she is not really a threat, but then proceeds to kick Graysons butt. Granted Dick has is injured at the moment, but regardless it seem young Cassandra is superior in combat. Cassandras outfit also slightly resembles her Batgirl costume but with no bat symbol. I hate seeing Grayson get his butt kicked so bad, which seems to happen lot lately, but this fight was bad ass. He asks her why she hasn’t killed him noting that her blows should be lethal but aren’t

“I can see it in your form…these moves should be lethalbut you’re holding back. Why?

To which she responds with “mother” and hands him a usb that batman and him used to use and leaves.

cassandra-cain-bre

Grayson heads to the Bat-Cave, inserts the USB and a holo-recording of Batman appears confessing to Dick that the mission involving Scarecrow in the museum all those years ago had a lot of secrets that he was unaware of. Batman with shame written on his face explains there was a lot more going and that he had committed his greatest sin, his deepest regret. He reveals that the girl who found Grayson was indeed Cassandra Cain, and that this “Mother” is a threat that needs to be stopped. Without revealing much, he tells Dick to stay alive and asks for his forgiveness. The next and final page is a continuation of the first, where we saw a young Egyptian boys’ parents shot and killed in a similar fashion as Bruce’s parents. The last page of the issue reveals that the man behind the gun in Egypt was Batman holding a smoking gun in front of the child reporting to “Mother” that the job had been done.

Enter the mind of Adrian:

This is huge! Grayson gets a taste of teaming up with the other Robins, gets his ass handed to him by a mysterious teenage girl, and then learns that something is coming for him that Batman wasn’t able to stop. All events in this issue screams to me that we’re going to see Grayson suit up — properly, finally get to see him in his element again, and hopefully walk out with a new secret identity. We’ll have to see what happens in his stand alone title, but from Grayson #12 I feel that writers know that we readers hate Grayson being just some secret agent and long for him to return to his a mask.

What makes me hopeful of this are three things:

First, Grayson asked Tim for a grappling hook saying that it’s the only way to get around in Gotham. There’s so much nostalgia coming from Grayson recently, and a desire to go back to what he once was.

Second was his fight with Cassandra. Getting laid out the way he did shows us again he is ill equipped and unprepared mentally and possibly physically for the mission ahead. He’s in the Batcave now too! I am betting there is some new suit and new upgraded gear that Bruce was working on while Grayson was out being super spy, there just HAS to be!

and finally, the fact that the issue started with him teaming up with Red Robin and Red Hood, and as soon as he was in trouble, he immediately radioed for help from his friends. Also the mysterious ninja man states that he has to kill Bluebird before any of the robins (I assume) find out that they need her.

This better be the best sidekick team up story arc ever, and it better be the transition back to Nightwing, or the emergence of a new secret identity for Grayson and a way out of being Agent 37. I’m excited to see what comes out of this.

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