REVIEW: Batman & Robin Eternal #1

STORY BY Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV
ART BY Tony S. Daniel, Sandu Florea

Turnabout, it seems, isn’t actually fair play.  For all the complaints that Marvel get for the endless Deadpool appearances or Spider-Gwen-ness out there, DC manages to pump out Bat books with nary a second glance. Still, when the book is this high quality, what is there actually to complain about?

Fans of the Bat will know the score, the previous Eternal series ran for 52 weeks, featuring a gestalt writing crew accompanied by a round table of artists.   This time around we have 26 issues, again weekly, this time from a story by James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder, with a script by Tynion and art by one of the best in the business Tony Daniel.

Issue one sets the scene as a previous adventure from Batman and Robin’s (Dick Grayson) past rears its ugly head in the present.  This time however, there is no Bruce Batman around to help solve the case.  So that duty fails to surrogate son number one and the extended Bat-Family.

eternal1Story wise, it’s a good solid opening.  Initially I was disappointed that Snyder and Tynion had resorted to the “something from the past” type of story.  With DC You being all about lack of continuity there is no real reason why this book couldn’t be set at any point, other than at this precise time, Bruce isn’t Batman.  This allows Dick to take centre stage, which he does admirably in his own book, but has done in Bat terms since he was the sole Bat of Gotham town.  In that regard, it is good to see Dick being in control, whether its is joining forces with the Reds, Hood and Robin or in the Cave.  It is also good to see characters like Bluebird make an appearance along with Steph Brown getting name checked.  And of course, it’s no secret that Cassandra Cain is back.  With all that going on and with that ending Tynion and Snyder have set the bar high.

And then there is Tony Daniel. eternal2

Tony Daniel may have his critics, but I am certainly not one of them. Yes, you can say there are Jim Lee influences.  But where Lee seems to focus on bulk, Daniel instead goes for fluidity of movement.  Yes, both Lee and Daniel could use less splash poses but in Daniels case, when used they do not dominate the book.  Daniel is helped out by Sandu Florea on inks and Tomeu Morey on colors.

I am of the mind that Mecha-Bat is getting a tad old and reading this book makes me realize how much I have missed Bruce as Batman.  With the reduced issue count and the re-introduction of Cassandra, I am hoping for less story compression, which was a slight problem in the last Eternal run.  With a Snyder /Tynion story and Daniel art, no will complain about “just another Bat-Book”.

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