Kids and dead parents, sort of a running theme in Batman… but now it's WORLDWIDE (like in Egypt) in the past?
The Spoilers:Annnnyways, I'm sure there will be more on that, like on the last page, but let's get there when we get there. Back in the present, Grayson is back in Gotham for Spyral business, and he gets sidetracked chasing some futurist weapons dude down, but to save him some time, he calls in some help in the form of Jason and Tim, allowing him to go on his mission. Elsewhere, Harper Row is still around, avoiding and getting the better of GorBat.
On his Spyral mission, Dick is at a banquet in a location that means a lot to him, it was the same place he and Bruce had their first super villain moment together agains the Scarecrow, and Dick is getting a bit nostalgic with the field partner he's working with… Until a bunch of creepy kids come up to him and start talking all sorts of mess about that night, Bruce keeping secrets, and then all of them killing him. Fucking kids, man.
So they all whip out guns and Dick tries to get away. The kids don't intend to kill Dick, but someone named "The Orphan" does, as he's cleaning up "Mother's" mistakes. Dick makes it back to his van, but turns out his Spyral partner is under the influence of this Mother and turns a gun on him, winging his arm with a shot. So off Dick goes, trying to get into contact with anyone who can help, while the partner who just betrayed him radios into The Orphan who decides to take out the one person who would be able to figure everything out.
So Dick isn't getting any response from Tim, Jason or even Babs. You know what he is getting? A kick right off his motorcycle from a new contestant… Cassandra Cain, who just straight up whips his ass up and down the street. During his beating, Dick realizes all of Cassandra's blows should be lethal, but she's holding back and he asks why. Cass just says "Mother." Dick tries to get more info out of her, but she hands him a thumb drive, says "Mother" again, and vanishes.
Harper gets back to her apartment where her brother, who is even more worried now that the Bat who said he'd train her isn't anywhere to be found, tries to convince her to you know… Give it up. No can do, but perhaps it'll take the creepy ass guy covered in blood threatening to kill her in order to do so… Harper, meet The Orphan.
Dick makes his way to the cave to try and figure out what just happened. He asks the computer to open any case file involving Mother or the Orphan, but nothing is found… He sticks in the thumb drive to the computer and then shit gets real. Screens saying shit like "Mother's children must be terminated before phase III" pop up, with a whole bunch of names everywhere. Amongst them all singled out are the names "Richard Grayson, Jason Todd, Timothy Drake, Harper Row, Cassandra Cain."
A hologram of Bruce begins to play, speaking to Dick. He tells Dick that he's not the man who he's thought to be and that he failed him. This all has to do with the summer they spent chasing the Scarecrow, as the mystery they found went real deep and got real dark. Bruce gave this message to Cassandra, telling her to make sure it found its way to Dick if everything went to hell. Since Dick is viewing this, that probably means she (mother) has returned and Bruce isn't there to help, so he warns Dick that anyone could be under Mother's influence and offers the only advice he can give: Stay alive and try to forgive him.
HEY, back to that flashback… Remember the two dead parents and the orphaned kid in Egypt? Seems familiar. Wonder who the gunman is… Oh yeah, it's fucking Batman, working for Mother.
The Opinion:SO. I've got a long history of being really disappointed in weekly series that have "Eternal" in the title. Blah blah blah, we all know, I thought it was a whole lot of decompressed nothing which ultimately amounted to damn near nothing with a completely rushed finale. So, you might understand that I was just a tad bit hesitant coming into another Eternal weekly. That said, with the decreased number of issues and a number of recent interviews, it seemed like the writers knew what Batman Eternal's weaknesses were, and hoped to address them by simply having the book get to the point. If this issue is any indication, then I probably will come away from this series liking it a hell of a lot more than I did the last.
Right off the bat, there's a clear sense of purpose within this story… in that, there's a very distinct story to be told and by god, they're telling it right from page 1. Where the last series was a "celebration" of all things Batman, it ended up in a bunch of writers just doing whatever and sort of loosely tying things together for better or worse. Here, we get the antagonist up front and go straight into the main course, no dicking around, which is GREAT.
A "sense of purpose" is really the best way I can describe this series' debut. It's what the follow up to the way too long, little accomplished Batman Eternal needed. Everything clicked from the get go, and it taught me to love again, dammit!
Also, Cass is awesome. Looks great, kicks fucking ass. In just spitballing in my head prior to this announcement of her return, I thought the best way to bring her back was somewhere in between completely mute and her "I can communicate just like everyone else now thus losing a lot of what makes me interesting as a character" incarnations. Her just speaking in single words = sweet spot.