Sunday, October 11, 2015

Batman & Robin Eternal #1

The $3.99 for a weekly book almost had me swinging from the rafters. Luckily I noticed next week's book is $2.99 as I Googled how to make a hangman's knot.

My caption only makes sense if you create a whole world in your head where enough people thought about hanging themselves because of the price and talked about it on comic book comment boards that Google picked up those conversations which also had people talking them down by pointing out the price drops after the first issue. But that's easy enough to believe for people who live and die by what color Reverse-Flash's skin turns when he uses his powers, right? Also if you're used to reading my commentaries, you should realize by now that the stuff I write is nearly always based on a number of things I failed to write and therefore just barely understandable, and then only if you've had the exact same experiences as me and think like me and are me at the moment I'm typing what I just wrote. If you're often confused by things I say, don't worry because I am as well when I read something I wrote a month later.

So there was this kid in Egypt who liked playing soccer which saved his life but probably also got his parents shot in an alley after seeing a movie. It's always good to draw subtle parallels between characters and Batman when writing a Batman comic book so that you can ultimately comment on Batman and the man he's become. In doing so, you get characters like Wrath and Hush and Bane and The Joker and Owlman. It helps put Batman's lunacy in perspective so that people don't think, "This guy is crazy!" Instead they think, "Look how crazy this guy could have been! He's actually the sanest!" I don't know if this Egyptian kid will become a Batman Analogy or not. The murder of his parents only happened a few years ago and I don't think Batman needs a new Egyptian Robin. But maybe? Robin needs to become eternal now somehow! I think pyramids and mummification and religious strife and other things that people think about when they think of Egypt help with becoming eternal.

Tony S. Daniel does a good job on the title page of making me feel like he just came in my face. I get it, Tony S. Daniel. You're drawing this comic book! You don't have to plaster the page with your signature action lines and off-kilter perspectives and capes with too much material and weird torso to groin ratios and slack Batropes that are going to cause lots of torn ligaments and popped out joints when they go taut. I mean, I guess you do have to since you're the artist and it's not like you ever do anything different than that. I wonder how many double splash pages Tony will have been able to convince Tynion and Snyder to slip into the book?

The real action begins in Gotham City with Dick Grayson on a motorcycle chasing another guy on a motorcycle up the side of a skyscraper. Oh, comic books. You never fail to remind me how stupid my hobby is.

It's okay if Jason Todd kills people who haven't been given their right to a trial as long as he doesn't kill them while working with members of the Batfamily. Bunch of hypocrites!

Tim Drake is introduced with an IQ of 142 which seems really disappointing, especially when considering the things this kid can do. I don't normally give much credence to IQ scores because it doesn't mean a person is going to actually cure cancer or invent mathematics. That says more about the person's tenacity, ambition, goodwill, or the need to sate their own curiosity. But given all the incredible things Tim Drake is supposed to do or have done (not to mention how incredibly smart he's written when he becomes Harvest), an IQ of 142 seems a bit disappointing. Apparently (according to my School Book Days memory album kept by my mom), I scored 152 in kindergarten (and knowing my ability to not care and to slack off, that's probably just my Sandbag IQ!). And look at the bullshit I'm up to! I could never invent a contraption that disables fingerprint-sensitive triggers within a fifty-foot radius! Although I can walk around marveling at the idiocy of everybody around me. Lord Google says the average IQ is 100. Which means if we take my kindergarten score seriously and not the mistake it probably is, there is far less difference between somebody with an average IQ and somebody who is labelled a Moron than there is between me and somebody of average intelligence. So basically when I'm out in public, it's like I'm surrounded by people who are Mentally Retarded. Oh sorry! I seem to have stepped off the euphemism treadmill for a moment! I meant people with an Intellectual Disability. If you're reading this in 2065, I apologize for using a horrible term like "intellectual disability."

Tim, Jason, and Dick defeat the mystery techno guy who can drive up the sides of buildings. They have a bit of a discussion about crimefighting together and what Batman might have had in mind choosing the three of them. And then Dick is off on Spyral business. Is that a seed planted? Is one of Batman's secrets going to be how he manipulated events to get these three Robins for reasons only he could know? I'm basing that off the weird Batman and Robin Eternal Sneak Peek in the free Batman Day comic book. I don't know if I can handle any secrets where Batman edges into Harvest territory by being so smart he can take account of all random factors to somehow manipulate events for his own ends. One other thing that worries me: will this series go 52 weeks and, if so, does that mean we're stuck with Commissioner Batman for the next year? I don't mind so much as long as the Batman comic book focuses more on Bruce Wayne than James Gordon.

Meanwhile Harper Row as Bluebird is being hunted by Commissioner Batman. He just wants to put her on time out or swat her bottom or some other fatherly and/or gross thing. But just like every other time Commissioner Batman makes an appearance, the suit is locked up by the person he's pursuing. I think the scene is supposed to show how brilliant Harper Row is and how ingenious her technological creations are but since Commissioner Batman has yet to make an appearance where his suit hasn't been shut down, the scene only comes off as reminding everybody how crappy the Honey Bunny Bat Armor is.

Dick Grayson has returned to the Spyral job that brought him back to Gotham. He's working with a partner he calls Poppy. To kill time, Dick tells her about his first encounter with a real supervillain when he and Batman first faced The Scarecrow.


The little kids try to play on Dick's low self-esteem but since that's non-existent, it's most likely not going to work. Unless he's already been dosed with some Fear Toxin. Also the kids brought guns and have decided to shoot him when Dick proves invulnerable to doubting himself. Dick dodges the bullets because that was like the second thing he learned to do in Haly's Circus as part of Pre-Talon training. Batman likes to take credit for training Dick Grayson but I'm pretty sure all the skills were already there when they met. Somebody named The Orphan is coming to destroy Grayson so he jumps out of a window to escape with Poppy. See? If Dick relied on Batman's training, he would have beaten up the children.

Poppy is working for Mother and The Orphan so she tries to kill Dick with a bullet. You probably remember what I said about bullets and dodging last paragraph so needless to say. See how I actually avoided saying the thing that comes after "needless to say" because it should already be obvious? It's really difficult to actually do that! Although usually when people use "needless to say," it's kind of the more polite way of saying "Duh!" So when somebody says "Dick dodged the bullets again!", a polite person would say "Needless to say!" I think. I actually don't know how conversations work because I usually avoid them at all costs.

As Dick flees on his motorcycle, he's attacked by Cassandra Cain. She beats him up just to prove she can, says "Mother," and then gives Dick a pack of Batgum. Unless it's a data stick. No, no. I'm certain it's Batgum. After that she disappears.

Meanwhile just seconds after Harper Row told her brother Cullen that she wouldn't be killed....

Dick heads back to the Batcave to chew his gum and try to figure out who Mother and The Orphan are. What he discovers is a confession file from Batman. It's a file about Mother that Batman purged from the Batcomputer five years ago. Something to do with Mother and missing children and Batman's greatest sin. Batman thought he could take care of Mother and her legions of brainwashed children but just in case he wasn't around to do it, he left the Batgum with Cassandra to give to Dick Grayson, his only real successor. Of course being Batman, he's pretty vague about the details. He leaves a lot out. Like that time in Egypt where that kid's parents were killed and who did it? See, Batman knew all about that.

Batman doesn't like using guns but when he does, he makes sure it's impressively massive. And fuck cordite because that thing has got to ejaculate black powder smoke like a motherfucker!

Batman & Robin Eternal #1 Rating: How about I place this comic on the Ranking Sidebar at about #19. I enjoyed it but I'm hesitant to believe it's going to be consistently entertaining since it will probably involve myriad story lines written by several different writing teams to keep up with the weekly schedule. I also have a feeling it's really going to take liberties with continuity. We might even be looking at Batman being the one who killed Dick Grayson's parents now. We're going to learn that Batman doesn't like guns not because his parents were killed by one but because he killed so many people with an impressively large one while being mind-controlled for years. Or we're eventually going to learn that it's all bullshit and The Orphan was Batman's first attempt at a sidekick who eventually decided to don a Batman costume to create more potential Batmen for Mother. Perhaps Bruce even worked with a woman (Mother!) to help young kids who lost their parents but he became distracted and didn't pay enough attention to her and the kid saving part of his crusade and she turned all the kids to criminal purposes. Most likely, the story will go in an entirely different direction than any of my previous speculations. Hopefully at least a few of the Batkids will fuck each other though.

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