Story by Scott Snyder and James Tynion
Script by Tim Seeley
Pencils by Paul Pelletier and Scot Eaton
Inks by Tony Kordos, Marc Deering, Wayne Faucher
Colors by Rain Beredo
Letters by Joshua Cozine and Troy Peteri
Published by DC Comics
Working off a story from Scott Snyder and James Tynion, Tim Seeley turns in a script for Batman and Robin Eternal #3 that is simultaneously full of bouncy Bat- (or Robin) banter with some choice douchiness from Red Hood and scenes both past and present featuring the dark psychological effects of the Scarecrow’s fear toxin. This is somehow connected to the “mysterious” Mother, which our heroes are no closer to finding her identity. But there is still plenty of conflict as Dick Grayson’s Spyral colleague Poppy Ashemoore goes off the reservation, and threat level of the series increases when an important supporting character is put in the crosshairs of Mother and her creepy operatives.
Unfortunately, Paul Pelletier’s art continues to be a weak spot, but it’s an improvement on last issue even if the lack of expression on character’s faces (Probably from the fact that this book has three inkers.) hurts Cassandra Cain, who is starting to play a pivotal, yet still cryptic role in the series. There’s a series of panel that Seeley probably meant to use to show her relationships with Dick, Red Hood, and Tim Drake, but it just comes off as close touching with no emotional weight from her face or movements. However, Pelletier excels at showing her in action starting with a nearly iconic double page spread of her kicking Red Hood into a jukebox at a dive bar while he weakly jokes about Cheap Trick making a new album. (Someone should tell this guy that he’s funny only half the time.) Colorist Rain Beredo comes in handy during the Spyral scenes washing the greyscale panels (with a little red for Red Hood and Red Robin’s costumes) in a bright, jarring red to show that Dick isn’t Nightwing coming over from Bludhaven to save Gotham again, but has a whole separate set of duties as Agent 37.
The best part in Batman and Robin Eternal #3 is when Seeley cuts down on the adorable and highly amusing “Robin sleepover” comedy to use his dialogue in conjunction with Scot Eaton’s art and show the psychological effect of the Scarecrow’s toxin as well as the dark side of the relationship between Batman and Robin. Eaton is a clear, perceptive superhero artist, who shows Dick’s fear and sadness through little things like tear drops and a slow build to a close up as he takes off his mask and tells Batman that he fears being a bad Robin. Inker Wayne Fauncher keeps the storytelling tight and smooth and helps the flashback resonate in reader’s minds as the story turns to Dick’s shocked reaction in the present.
Batman and Robin Eternal #3 is an entertaining ride with Tim Seeley’s ear for Jason Todd’s bro-ish dialogue, and his conscious effort to make the badass, yet endearing Cassandra Cain a part of the Bat-family with the help of de facto team dad Dick Grayson. The various Robins share a fun family dynamic that makes the book worth checking out even when the art falters. A more gesture or facial oriented artist like Phil Noto (especially his recent work on Chewbacca) or Jamie McKelvie might bring Cass to life even more than Paul Pelletier, whose action layouts are easy to follow despite the multiple inkers, but struggles with showing character feelings. Artwork aside, this issue is a step in the right direction, and the last couple pages increase the series’ threat level while not revealing Snyder and Tynion’s whole mystery just yet.