Batman and Robin Eternal #26

James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder and the rest of the writing staff on "Batman and Robin Eternal" did their jobs a little too well over the previous twenty-five issues. The big conclusion to the series arrives in "Batman and Robin Eternal" #26, but there are no surprises left because everything was set up so efficiently that this feels inevitable more than anything else.

It's actually a bit of a shame, because there are a lot of characters here, and one-by-one they resolve all of the various plots and dispatch all of the villains. Harper's character finally gets closure, Cassandra Cain joins the Batman family with a new costumed identity, Mother is defeated once and for all and even Batman gets to swing in to help wrap things up -- but none of this is a surprise or even slightly unexpected, save for Cassandra's codename. Everything here is by-the-book and it's been telegraphed for some time; it's funny, because when Harper inevitably spares Cassandra, she somewhat berates Mother for being so stupid as to think it was even a possibility. It's as if Tynion and Snyder are admitting that yeah, everyone saw this coming.

There's still a nice level of satisfaction here, though. The villains are all defeated, and even somewhat questionable characters like the new Azrael ultimately help out. I appreciate that there's room for the core gang to reunite at the conclusion, and Tynion and Snyder give the series a strong final page.

With seven artists credited (three on pencils, three on inks and one providing both), it's hard to pick apart who did what here. With that in mind, Scot Eaton, Carlo Pagulayan, Igor Vitorino, Geraldo Borges, Wayne Faucher, Jason Paz and Marc Deering keep everything looking as cohesive as possible, which is a relief. There's the occasional odd looking panel -- like the second-to-last page, where Dick Grayson's face briefly looks like it's melting -- but it's well told from start to finish, even if there's nothing that particularly stands out as exceptional. This is a comic where the artists get the job done with a minimum of fuss.

It's a shame "Batman and Robin Eternal" #26 wasn't more flashy even with the added page count, but everyone involved manages to bring the series to the conclusion we all knew was just around the bend. It's nice to have Harper Row's story brought to a close for now (with an easy window for her to leap back through). On the whole, "Batman and Robin Eternal" has been another worthwhile weekly series, and that's no small feat. While not particularly riveting, the series certainly wasn't bad, either. If there's another weekly Batman comic down the line, I'd take a look. Right now, though, the Bat-line is two-for-two on successful weekly series. That's a victory.

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