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Comic Book / Batman and Robin Eternal

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Batman and Robin Eternal is a weekly comic book series that began in October 2015 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Robin character (along with Robin War), and concluded in March 2016 after 26 issues. It is a Sequel Series to the weekly Batman Eternal, and features every character to ever take up the mantle of Robin note .

Five years ago, Batman and Robin worked the most disturbing case of their crimefighting careers—bringing down the organization of the ultimate human trafficker, the mysterious woman known only as Mother. At the time, Dick Grayson never quite understood the scope of that case, but now its darkest secrets are coming back to haunt him and everyone else who ever worked with Batman! With Bruce Wayne now lost to them, Dick and all his allies are out in the cold! Who can they trust? Is someone among them not who they say they are? And who is the deadly, silent young woman in black who’s come to Gotham City looking for Batman?

The main characters of the series are Dick Grayson, Harper Row, and Cassandra Cain, who makes her post-Flashpoint debut. Writers include Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Tim Seeley, Steve Orlando, Genevieve Valentine, Ed Brisson, Jackson Lanzing, and Collin Kelly.

Batman and Robin Eternal uses these tropes:

  • Adaptational Villainy: Prior to Flashpoint, David Cain, for all his faults, did indeed love Cassandra like a daughter. Here, he's straight-up abusive towards her.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: As demonstrated by Dick, Jason's "Japanese Military Cyber-Armor" arm blades look badass, but aren't particularly effective when they're embedded on a wooden countertop.
  • Batman Gambit: Batman tries to do this with the child he thought was going to be his new Robin, the bullets he used rigged to look like he had killed the parents when he shot them. Mother quickly shuts him down by revealing that the target was actually a fake.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The end of issue 4 makes it look like Tim Drake is an agent of this mysterious Mother. Issue 5 reveals he isn't. The person he was talking to was his actual mother.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Zig-zagged. Many female characters are involved in fights where they take hard punches to the face, and some get pretty badly bloodied up. However, none ever show black eyes or other bruises beyond the issue in which they receive it. In contrast, Dick's eye remains swollen for an entire issue and a half following the Battle of St. Hadrian's, but in the immediate sequence after that—which is implied to be a mere few hours (or even less)—his black eye is already gone.
  • Big Bad: An enigmatic figure referred to as "Mother".
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Dick shows up at the theatre in Prague just in time to save Cassandra and Harper, and turn the tables against Mother's assassins.
    • Later on, Dick saves the duo again, defeating Orphan just in time to stop automated drones from killing Cass and Harper.
    • In the final episode, virtually all of the Bat-allies drop in to fight Mother's forces
  • Broken Pedestal: James Tynion has hinted that a dark secret in Batman's past will divide the family. Said dark secret at first appears to be that Batman once seemingly re-enacted his own tragedy by murdering a young Egyptian boy's mother and father as they were all leaving the Metro. In actuality, Batman had a secret battle with the human trafficker known only as 'Mother', which involved going undercover as a potential buyer looking for a new Robin, all of which he kept a secret from Dick even when he got in over his head.
  • The Bus Came Back: In issue #23, one of the heroes who agrees to help fight Mother is Batwoman, who until that point hadn't appeared in the main DC continuity for about six months.
  • But Now I Must Go: At the end, Harper hangs up the Bluebird identity to become a college student after the events of the story. Batman tries to get Cassandra to do the same, but she's become The Atoner.
  • The Chew Toy: Jason has been beaten up, knocked out, or needed rescuing from quite a few different opponents, ranging from powerhouses like Cassandra or Bane to unnamed enemies like the St. Hadrian's schoolgirls or a teenaged Orphan.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The Drake family household has all manner of security measures set up by Tim in order to protect his parents. Even the lawn is armed.
  • Creepy Child: The first of Mother's agents are a group of very creepy kids who surround Dick at an art gallery.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Bane quickly dispatches Jason, crushing his helmet in the process, without the use of Venom.
  • Darker and Edgier: Cassandra's backstory. In the original, the worst we had seen done to her was when she innocently followed Cain's order and murdered a man at only eight years old. In this continuity, Cass also murders someone—an innocent woman who was begging for her life. This being the culmination of the torture and abuse Cain has brought Cassandra up through, up to and including forcing her to watch hordes of people be murdered right in front of her eyes. Repeatedly. All for the sake of desensitizing Cassandra in the "traditional" way and turning her into a product even far more superior than Mother's own engineered humans.
  • Dead Man Writing: Bruce records a holographic message warning Dick about Mother onto a memory stick. Cassandra delivers it to him in the first issue.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Most of the main cast, though Jason and Harper might be tied.
    • Midnighter and Batwoman show up in issue #23 onward, and neither wastes any time getting to quips.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Orphan is defeated off-page by Dick Grayson halfway through the series.
  • Disney Villain Death: Zig-zagged with Orphan. Mother slits his throat and tosses him off her airship... but then he returns and kills Mother. He then tosses the both of them into a pit of lava.
  • The Dragon: One known as "The Orphan". He's shown to be Mother's top field enforcer/handler. He's the Reboot version of David Cain, AKA Cassandra's father.
  • Flashback: There's many flashbacks to the time when Bruce and Dick worked together as Batman and Robin, detailing Bruce's secret fight with Mother.
  • Free-Fall Fight:
    • A panel in issue #24 shows Batwoman battling an Orphan while plummeting off the Burj Khalifa.
    • In issue #25, Damian also fights an Orphan, this time while falling off Goliath.
  • Friendship Moment: Harper and Cassandra share a few of these.
  • From Bad to Worse: If rampaging hordes of kids weren't bad enough, in issue #24 Mother sends in Orphans to each city under attack.
  • Funny Background Event: In issue #23, as Dick, Batgirl, Midnighter, and Red Robin are going over battle plans, Jason, Cullen, and Damian can be seen in the background examining Midnighter's collection of rather nasty-looking bladed weapons (none of which they end up actually using).
  • Heel–Face Turn: Jean-Paul abandons both the Order and Mother and sides with the good guys.
  • He's Back!:
    • After being publicly outed as Nightwing and seemingly killed in Forever Evil (2013), Dick has returned to Gotham to take his place at the head of the family. Part way through, they also reveal a means for him to go back to being Nightwing, namely, that Helena has commissioned a mass-brainwashing satellite that he could use to remove knowledge of his secret identity from everyone across the world.
    • Meta-example with Cassandra Cain. After years of being shelved, she makes her entrance into the present-day New 52 main universe.
    • Another one for fans of that hero foreshadowed with everyone else on Mother's list. Jean Paul Valley has appeared to return as Azrael under the same techno-spiritual banner of the Order of St. Dumas.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How Orphan kills Mother.
  • Improvised Weapon: In a fight with several agents of Mother, in a kitchen, surrounded by all manner of utensils, Dick grabs a cheese-board and clobbers several assailants with it.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Upon meeting Bluebird and Spoiler, Dick is shocked at the number of new teenaged superheroes running around Gotham
    Dick: They giving out costumes in cereal boxes now!?
  • Legacy Character: An odd one — Cassandra Cain takes up her father's identity as Orphan.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: A flashback shows that one time, after being exposed to Fear Gas, Dick hallucinated Batman complaining about how Robin is too colorful and childish, and how he ruins Batman's ability to be scary and intimidating. This is a common criticism some fans have of Batman's sidekicks, and is why some higher ups (like Christopher Nolan) have publicly opposed him appearing in film.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • On the list of names Dick finds, one of the last names is obscured, but reads Jean-P. Presumably short for Jean-Paul Valley, the first Azrael and the man who replaced Bruce as Batman during Knightfall.
    • And in issue 5, there's action involving the church of St. Dumas, the same person who founded the religious order Azrael belonged to.
    • Turns out the above two also qualify as foreshadowing.
  • One Bad Mother: The apparent Big Bad is a mysterious figure called "Mother" - who can brainwash children into becoming cold-blooded murderers and sleeper agents.
  • Only Sane Man: Between Jason and Tim, Dick serves as this for the Robins.
  • Out-Gambitted: Mother one-ups Batman in Cairo, using one of her own children as a patsy in order to test Batman's loyalty. His duplicity is exposed almost instantly.
  • Secret Test of Character: Mother to Batman. Batman fails it.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • A technically small one, but like his appearance in Issue 12 of "Grayson", Jason, almost tauntingly so, isn't drawn with the hair cut style he has in the contemporarily placed Red Hood/Arsenal. He instead has a head full of hair, as opposed to his undercut; this makes his visual similarities to Dick and Tim, especially the former, more noticeable in a setting where they interact with enough frequency that some 'out of costume' visual differences would have been appreciated.
    • In #5, Cassandra cuts off Orphan's hand. In #7, Harper refers to Orphan missing a foot.
    • Poppy from Grayson is revealed to be one of Mother's agents and betrays Helena and Dick. At the same time over in Grayson, Dick has turned rogue to take down Spyral...and Poppy is shown among the members still, still working with Helena. Unless Poppy turns back to Spyral's side at the end or Dick rejoins Spyral, there's a bit of Continuity Snarl going on. Further complicated by Midnighter, where one of Midnighter's assets becomes Poppy's replacement in later issues, implying that Poppy does not get welcomed back to Spyral.
    • Another minor one occurs in issue #20. In issue #19, Helena gets a severe bloody nose, heavy enough that the front of her shirt gets soaked. In the next issue her shirt's completely unstained, and since the two issues take place during a large action scene, it's very unlikely she had time to change.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Harper's brother, Cullen (though not comic relief), disappears between the first 2 issues. In the 2nd issue, Orphan notes, while beating up Harper, that he'd run off. Likely not coincidentally, this means Cullen is conveniently absent for when Harper and Stephanie Brown/Spoiler meet Dick, Jason, and Timnote , as well as their subsequent trip to the Batcave. More pertinently, his absence prevents the audience from seeing any poignant reactions he may have for the situation, primarily regarding his sister getting hurt/being a targetnote . Cullen does later come back into the story as it heads towards its endgame.
    • Stephanie Brown's disappearance from the story also counts, considering the fact that she's always been a more comedic member of the family, provided a good deal of gags early on, and may even be considered a funny original to Harper's serious Suspiciously Similar Substitute. Similarly, Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, who's currently on a Lighter and Softer trip, appears briefly early-on but quickly drops out of the picture.
  • The Social Darwinist: Mother believes that humanity will become stronger through pain once parents have been essentially eliminated so that their children can grow up away from their influence; she even claims that she and Batman are the same in that they both raise their 'children' to define themselves by tragedy and use it to become stronger, but Dick Grayson rejects this idea, informing Mother that Batman actually helps his 'children' realise how not to cope with tragedy by giving them an example of what not to do.
  • Superdickery: Batman shooting a boy's parents in front of him. Naturally, it turns out to be fake. Unfortunately for him, the boy himself was working for Mother.
  • Taking You with Me: David Cain guts Mother and drags the two of them into the volcano her base was built on.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Jason pulls a gun on Cassandra (who was only trying to protect him), claiming that he can handle a 90 pound girl. Cue Cassandra pummelling him for the next eight minutes, despite being held at gunpoint just earlier.
  • Use Your Head: A mind-controlled Cassandra busts open Helena's nose with one of these while being restrained by her.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Mother's cool and collected demeanor gives way to motive ranting once the Bat-crew starts reversing her plans piece by piece.
  • Wham Shot: There's one that caps off the end of the first issue, which likely says a lot.
    • The first issue is bookended with flashbacks to a scene of the tragedy of Bruce Wayne, transplanted to Cairo, Egypt. A couple and their young son have just left the movies, when the boy's parents are shot down in cold blood right before his eyes. The last thing we see is the now anguished and seething boy turning to look at his parent's murderer, only to be treated to the sight of Batman with a gun!
    • Wham Line:
    Unknown Assailant: It's me. It's done...
    Unknown Correspondent: The child is ready for acquisition, then?
    Batman: ...Yes, Mother. Everything went according to plan.
    • Subverted with another example from #4, accompanied by a shot of a mailbox with the name "Drake"; it looks like a Wham moment, but we quickly learn its misdirection.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The last time Cullen was mentioned, he had run out of the Rows' home to seek help for Harper. He hasn't been heard since, leaving readers to wonder if anyone had bothered to inform him that his sister is safe and alive, and that he shouldn't worry when he comes home to find a broken apartment with blood splattered everywhere. Brilliantly acknowledged when Harper hits a point of crisis during their investigation into Mother. She regrets suddenly leaving Cullen and understands now why he's been cagey about her being Bluebird. He later helps with the final strike against Mother's plan by helping coordinate the heroes whilst he's in Midnighter's base.
    • Dick brings Cassandra and Harper to Prague with him. Jason and Tim are investigating Santa Prisca. So what's Stephanie up to?
    • Midnighter and the rest of the guest heroes portal in to Mother's base for the big showdown... and aren't seen again, not even standing with the main cast after everything settles down.
    • Neither Duke Thomas nor "Batman" appear with the others when assaulting Mother's ice castle. Considering that the epilogue takes place one month after Superheavy, the pair are likely busy dealing with Mr. Bloom. Notably egregious in that Duke was depicted on the cover for #26 (but otherwise is absent in the issue itself) and was also shown in the previous three issues battling alongside the other guest heroes.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Cassandra handily defeats an injured Dick, and he notes that she could have killed him if she wanted to.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Damian to Dick, Jason & Tim after they start blaming themselves for not being able to stop Mother's master plan whilst Batman would have by now - he points out that Batman didn't stop Mother, and specifically left this task for the four of them because he knows that they can stop her precisely because they aren't a group of Batman clones.
  • You Are in Command Now: With Bruce MIA, Dick will be in charge of the Bat family. The story shows it happens in a reflexive manner, as oppose to any overtly made designations.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Mother likes to do this with children who don't perform up to scratch, and her buyers are well aware that she will kill even 'graduates' of her program if they don't comply (see: the prima at the ballet; Jean-Paul Valley, a.k.a. Azrael. It gets to the point where she'll even write off anyone whom she deemed as having potential, but failed her before they could even begin. It's a long list, and how the story is kickstarted in the first place.