Batman and Robin Eternal #3

James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder's story reunites most of the former Robins in "Batman and Robin Eternal" #3 as they try to get to the bottom of the mystery of "Mother," the recently revealed but shadowy persona who seems to have it out for the Bat-family. Paul Pelletier leads a crew of artists in executing Tim Seeley's script, which slows the story down considerably with a lot of exposition. An ongoing flashback story running in parallel documents Batman (Bruce Wayne) and Robin (Dick Grayson) after their first encounter with Jonathan Crane, aka the Scarecrow, and Robin's firsthand experience with his fear gas. Seeley's script continues to hint at a possible connection between the two storylines, even as Bruce's former sidekicks still try to get their arms around the devastating revelation they learned about in the first issue of the series.

Seeley takes a somewhat one-dimensional approach to each of the three Robins. Jason Todd is always the brusque-talking hothead; Dick Grayson is ever the calm and level-headed voice of reason; and Tim Drake is the little brother of the group, not getting much of a chance to speak and then having little to say when he does. Spoiler, Bluebird and Cassandra Cain are also in the mix, although none of them have much to say either, especially Cassandra, which is just as well; once Jason and Cassandra's issue-leading smackdown is halted, most of the issue becomes an exercise in endurance. Dick, Jason and Tim's verbose exchange about the nature of Mother drags on from the bar to the Batcave, before dragging Spyral -- the spy agency Dick works for -- into the mix.

Seeley's script also relies heavily on his storyline running through "Grayson," and -- while not a roadblock towards comprehending the issue -- it doesn't exactly make for a warm welcome. There really isn't much for the Robin-centric cast to do here.

While the script spins its wheels a bit, the art team of Pelletier, Scot Eaton, Tony Kordos, Marc Deering and Wayne Faucher turn in a pretty strong effort. All the characters look heroically larger than life yet also true-to-life, realistically rendered with well-defined facial features and a wide array of expressions. The classic Batman and Robin featured in the flashback is not only a welcome look back at a long-absent status quo, but it's also impressively depicted; Batman looks as foreboding as he ever did. The facial expressions come into play best during this scene, where a much younger Dick Grayson looks genuinely spooked by Scarecrow's fear toxin. The colors by Rain Beredo are confidently quiet; Beredo uses nearly a full palette but doesn't try to show off. Combined with the rest of the art team, the colors collectively combine to make an artistically attractive showcase throughout the issue.

"Batman and Robin Eternal" #3 slows the progress of this still-dawning storyline to a crawl, but it's nonetheless a nice-looking package.

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