We switch writers once more and this time, Ed Brisson of Sheltered fame steps up to the plate to give lead writing a shot. What can he do with this weekly title? Is it good?
Batman and Robin Eternal #11 (DC Comics)
Lead writer: Ed Brisson
Other writers: Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV
Artists: Fernando Blanco and Christian Duce
Dick Grayson and Harper Row encounter a mysterious woman codenamed the Sculptor. She is the one who sculpts and molds people’s minds for Mother’s human trafficking operation. However, Sculptor wants to come clean and is offering up information on the truth about who Orphan is and the connection between Mother and Batman. Will our heroes like what they discover?
With Grayson’s problematic hypno-implants in his head, the Sculptor and Harper sort of mind meld together so she can provide them the information. In Sculptor’s mind, she shows Harper Cassandra Cain’s own past. You see, David Cain is both her dad and Orphan himself. He works with Mother, but doesn’t really like her new techniques to mold and morph people into being what she wants them to be. He believes that the old ways, through extremely harsh and brutal trauma, are more effective and was set out to prove that point with Cassandra.
When David ultimately presents her to Mother, she gets angry at him for this betrayal, telling him to get with the times. He vows to prove to her that Cassandra can and will be useful. He just needs the right test for her.
While transitioning to another memory, Sculptor accidently shows Harper a strange memory that involves Cassandra in Gotham. Apparently, the girl was forced to kill someone, but Harper can’t get a good look at who. Before the memory ends, Cassandra can be seen crying over what she has done.
Eventually, the Sculptor shows Harper a memory where both Batman and Mother are talking. It apparently looks like he wanted to buy a specifically created Robin from her. However, the memory train ends when Grayson stops the two when it looks like Harper’s physical body is in pain from this mind melding.
The issue ends with Harper revealing what she knows to Grayson, who is shocked by this revelation about Batman. He tries forcing the Sculptor to show him this memory, but things go haywire when his hypnos and her powers activate at the same time.
After two issues of weak writing and lacking artwork, this was a much need breath of fresh air. We get some more development with the plot, backstory for Orphan and Cassandra Cain, and the writing in general felt improved. There are some questionable story decisions and a plot point that looks like it is setting up to be a twist (though if it is, it’s WAY too blatantly obvious). Otherwise, Ed Brisson really did a great job on handling the plot and keeping things interesting.
The same goes for his writing. Good characterization (iffy plot choices aside), the dialogue was more enjoyable to read, the pacing and storytelling were much smoother, and the ending seems to have much more potential than the last. Helping it along is the inclusion of two good artists in Blanco and Duce, whose styles are much nicer and more interesting to look at. Blanco is great with the minor action and layouts, while Duce’s style just looks nice paired with a good inker and colorist helping him out. Overall, this was a greatly improved and enjoyable issue.
Most Memorable Moment
Also, yes. It is totally your hair.