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Batman and Robin Eternal #18

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By James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder, Ed Brisson, Scot Eaton, Wayne Faucher, Allen Passalaqua, Gabe Eltaeb

“I cannot express just how disappointed I am. You may criticize my process, but without your own suffering, your own tragedy, there would be no Batman.”

Batman can be such a hypocrite sometimes.

Ed Brisson takes over once again on the script this week from the story by James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder as we get an issue less riddled with information than last week while featuring just as much action. The Mother Saga, as we (me) in the comic biz are calling it, seems to have a never-ending supply of layers and unexpected twists with this week being no exception. Brisson takes on the script this week in once again a serious tone (no jokes for Red Hood). Mother’s plans, at least in the past, are showing her ability to outsmart Batman and solidify herself as a rogue not to be forgotten – Gotham isn’t the funnest place to live unless you’re into dressing like bats or birds apparently. Brisson does well this issue to give Mother a cold demeanor in the face of Batman. She knows his one true weakness – that no matter how much he threatens her, he’ll never actually kill her, which just so happens to be the same weakness the Joker often exploits.

On the artwork side of this week’s issue is Scot Eaton on pencils, Wayne Faucher on inks, and Allen Passalaqua along with Gabe Eltaeb on colors. Eaton was the artist on last week’s issue too, and once again delivers some great facial expressions in regards to Orphan (making his demonic smile resemble that of the Joker). Some of the other characters, however, most notably Harper and Grayson in a few panels, are presented with awkward appearances that don’t quite stay consistent from one panel to the next – something that often happens with numerous pencillers working on a single issue.

A well done scene by all the artists features the fight between Batman and Orphan that’s continued from last issue. In this scene Eaton is able to convey some great action as Batman tackles Orphan in the top panel and delivers a punch in the next. One of the panels, whether it was Eaton’s intent or not, features a similar scene to the cover of the very first Batman comic with him soaring through the air (not that high up, but still) with his cape spread out behind him. Passalaqua does the colors on this page as he keeps it rather dark up until an explosion goes off and lights up the last two panels of the page.

Issue #18 of Batman and Robin Eternal does well to expand on the story of Mother, both the past and present versions of it, but once again leaves the story void of the humor that’s made issues before so much more enjoyable. Each character is handling the events in their own way, some of them cracking under the pressure, some staying quiet (Red Hood!). The artwork delivers the punches, but falls short when it comes to some of the facial expressions and appearances of the characters.

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