"Batman & Robin Eternal": Back when he was still Robin, Dick Grayson would be able to sense the excitement in his mentor Batman, at the moment when the mystery had been solved, and all that was left was the chase. Now, he is in t
Synopsis for "Batman & Robin Eternal"
Back when he was still Robin, Dick Grayson would be able to sense the excitement in his mentor Batman, at the moment when the mystery had been solved, and all that was left was the chase. Now, he is in that same position, following a lead in Gotham City. Despite his Spyral mission, he has taken a side-mission, chasing down a techno-futurist weapons designer, who is escaping by riding a motorcycle up the side of a building. Dr. Poppy Ashemore is concerned that he won't finish the real mission in time, but Dick promises that he called backup to speed things along. That backup comes in the form of Red Hood, who warns that the property damage he is doing by shooting out the windows of the building might draw the attention of the new Batman.
When the target inevitably crashes his cycle, he is confronted by Red Robin, who serves as just enough distraction for Dick and Jason to punch him out. With the target down, Jason suggests drinks - for which Tim is too young. Ignoring Jason, and standing atop the building, Dick surveys the city, and Tim wonders what it must be like to see Gotham from that angle again. Dick admits that it's strange. He hadn't expected to come back - especially not now that his job entailed spying on superheroes. His mentor no longer recognizes his face, nor remembers working with him. The new Batman is police-sanctioned and doesn't much resemble the old one. It seems like a new Gotham. In any case, he has to get back to his mission. As he prepares to go - borrowing a spare grappling gun from Tim for transit - Tim wonders whether the fun they have working together was part of Bruce's plans all along. What if he had chosen each of them for a reason?
In the Narrows, meanwhile, Jim Gordon is seeking out Bluebird. As Batman, he has been trying to find her for some time, but she has continuously evaded every piece of tracking tech that his friend Daryl has developed using home made devices. Fortunately for him, his experience with his own teenage daughter taught him well enough that teenage girls like to stick around to see the old man make a fool of himself. Knowing this, he simply picks up a nearby dumpster and finds Bluebird crouched behind it. Once he has her attention, he explains that he hasn't come to arrest her - he just needs to detain her and take all of her equipment. He won't be responsible for an untrained kid dying on the streets. Indignantly, she responds that he is not the Batman. She had fought alongside the real Batman, and he had intended to train her - before he died, anyway. As she admits that the knows that none of what she had coming to her is coming to her, now that he's gone, she releases a small bird-like device which emits a frequency that blocks the signal to Jim's Batsuit, rendering him immobile. Ditching him there, she warns that he might as well keep trying to catch her, but he should be wary of calling someone who can shut him down in a second a kid.
Back on the mission, Dick disguises himself as a professor for the grand opening of the renovated Gotham State University Tower of Enlightenment. The file - which Poppy is surprised he's read - has intel that a dirty bomb is set to go off right in the heart of the proceedings. He is a littler worried, though, that Spyral put him back in Gotham for a seemingly small case, after only just pulling him out. Poppy suggests he not worry about it. Dick notes casually that one of his first cases had started in this very place. He and Batman were facing the Scarecrow - their first ever encounter with him and Dick's first real supervillain. Crane had set himself up as if he was helping the GCPD track outbreaks of uncontrollable fear around the city, but Batman and Robin were a bit too slow to realize that his entire graduate class had gone missing. In the tower, the two of them were forced to fight that whole class, under the influence of Crane's Fear Toxin. Crane slipped through their fingers that night, and because of it, Batman became so obsessed that they travelled halfway around the world to catch him. All of that had started there, at the Tower of Enlightenment.
Snapping out of his reverie, Dick is surprised to find that he's been surrounded by young students. One of them speaks up, commenting eerily that it had all started right there, which is why a certain woman had decided that this would be the perfect place to kill him. Dick tries to contact Poppy, but she won't come in, and the students are backing him up against the wall. They taunt him, claiming that Batman had never really trusted him or believed he was capable of greatness. They each point a handgun at him in time, stating that they will now throw him away as Batman had when he had proven that he couldn't be perfect. Dick runs up the wall and back flips safely over the gunshots, making a run for it. The teens complain that they don't intend to kill him - someone called Orphan is coming to do that.
Rather than stick around and wait for this Orphan to show up, Dick leaps through a stained-glass window and makes a run for the van where Poppy's waiting. He orders her to drive, but instead, she pulls a gun on him as well, and apologizes for what she's about to do, commenting that Mother says, "Hello." She fires a shot that grazes his shoulder, and confused, Dick leaps onto his motorcycle and drives off, wondering just what is going on. Worriedly, Poppy reports to Orphan, warning that Dick has escaped and that the rest of his allies need to be taken out before they can lead Dick to discovering who the Mother is.
Dick is unable to get a connection through to any of his allies, and decides to make his way to the Batcave to regroup, but suddenly a woman leaps down from an overpass and kicks him straight off the seat of his bike. He begs to know who she is, but she gives no response, merely looking him up and down - seeking weaknesses. With speed he can't fully prepare for, she attacks them all, dropping him to the ground. Gritting his teeth, Dick warns that he can see that she's holding back from making lethal moves, and demands to know why. Coldly, she stares into his eyes and responds simply with, "Mother." He asks more questions, but she remains silent. Taking a data stick from her pocket, she places it in his hand, and says the word "Mother" again. Eyeing it, Dick recognizes the device as one that Batman used when he was just starting out, and wonders where she got it, but by then she has already gone leaving no trace besides his bloodied nose and bruises.
Bluebird returns to her apartment in the Narrows to her brother Cullen with Chinese takeout in hand. He comments that Stephanie Brown is annoyed that Harper ditched her with him again, and warns that it might be time for her to give up being Bluebird. With a smirk, she responds that she knows what she's doing, and promises to hang out with him and Steph when she gets out of the shower. Once she's in the privacy of the bathroom, though, she is surprised by a man dressed like a ninja, warning that because she is the key to everything that Dick Grayson cannot know, she must die.
At the Batcave, Dick asks the computers to look up the codenames Mother and The Orphan, but neither turn up any results. Reluctantly, he decides to check the data stick he was given. On it is a list of names claimed to be the Mother's Children, who must be terminated before Phase III of some plan. He is worried to learn that his name and the names of the other Robins are on it. Uttering an exclamation of confusion, his voice is recognized by the program on the stick, and a hologram of Batman appears with a confession, just for him.
In the recording, Batman explains that he had failed all of his allies. He had spent ages hoping that they would never find out what he'd done. The summer that he and Dick had spent chasing the Scarecrow had been just the surface of a much darker mystery that he had never shared with his partner. He thought he had ended it. He thought he it was over. He tasked Cassandra Cain with finding Dick and giving him this file if he should fall on the night of the recording. And because Dick is seeing this message, it means he was not there to keep Cassandra from delivering it. Bruce warns that Dick must not underestimate Mother. She has the power to make him do things, if he's not careful. Anyone could be under her control - people he may know and love. And that power is Batman's fault. Mother is his greatest sin; his deepest regret. He asks Dick's forgiveness before ending the recording without giving enough explanation to pacify Dick's worry.
Several years ago, in Cairo, a boy witnessed his mother and father, shot to death in a senseless crime. The shooter was the Batman - who had done it according to Mother's plan.
Appearing in "Batman & Robin Eternal"
- Agent 37 / Robin (Flashback and main story)
- Batman (Bruce Wayne) (Appears in flashback and as a hologram)
- Cassandra Cain (First appearance)
- Cullen Row
- Red Hood
- Red Robin
- Prague (First appearance) (Unnamed)
- Scarecrow (Behind the Scenes, in flashback)
- Ahmd (First appearance) (Unnamed) (Flashback only)
- Alfred Pennyworth (Mentioned only)
- Spyral (Mentioned only)
- Stephanie Brown (Mentioned only)
- Egypt (Flashback only)
- United States of America (Flashback and main story)
- This issue is reprinted in Batman & Robin Eternal Vol. 1.
- Batman Recommended Reading
- Batman (Volume 1)
- Batman (Volume 2)
- Batman (Volume 3)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 1)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 2)
- Batman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Batman: Gotham Knights (Volume 1)
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat (Volume 1)
- Batman: Streets of Gotham (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 2)
- The Brave and the Bold (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 2)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)