Welcome to the Cassandra Cain fan page.  This week on the Cassandra Cain show, watch her own a baddie and take names!

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In all seriousness, the opening makes me wonder just how relevant any of the other characters are going to be in resolving the conflict.  If the Orphan is the right hand man of Mother, one can assume that he is one of the most imposing physical threats the team is bound to face.  Well, if Cassandra is already whooping his butt from now till the middle of next week, doesn’t that lessen the peril level already?  It also makes me wonder why she hasn’t already neutralized the threat without us even being aware of it.  Here is what I mean: think of the number of times Batman has saved the city from some epic catastrophe; in many instances, the citizens of Gotham have not even been aware that a battle for their survival was even commencing.  Why hasn’t Cassandra already done this?  Saved the day, defeating Mother and Orphan, and faded away into the icy blackness of the night without the Robins ever being the wiser?  Clearly because we wouldn’t have a story otherwise, but having a character running about who is so obviously superior, it begs the question.

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Tim Seeley of Grayson fame is responsible for scripting duties this time around, and it shows.  The dialogue is lively and full of humorous anecdotes! Although, the part I enjoyed the most relied little on humor: it takes place during a flashback where Dick gets sprayed with fear toxin and starts hallucinating.  His fear involves doubting that he should be Robin.  The most interesting thing about this scene is that it is filled with some of the real world arguments that I have seen used by people against the inclusion of Robin in the Batman Mythology.  It was an interesting way to include this relevant viewpoint into a comic which is currently celebrating the 75th anniversary of the character.  Not only does Seeley include a healthy does of humor and introspection, he also manages to tug on those heart strings a little too.

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I’ve noticed that several Batman-News commenters are of the mindset that the Batfamily is getting a little too crowded.  Well, it seems that Dick Grayson agrees with you!  He makes a jab at Stephanie and Harper when he realizes that they are both super heroes.  It’s pretty funny and highlights the fact that all these kids wanting to play super hero are about as qualified to do this as a toddler.

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This is what Stephanie Brown utters upon seeing Dick climbing up to Harper’s apartment and was the one piece of dialogue in the issue that I was originally perplexed with. At first, the dialogue made no sense to me.  What I’m guessing is that she recognized him as Nightwing because of his signature acrobatics and that “sexy Batman” is her own way of referencing Nightwing.  Seeing as how the world believes that Nightwing was killed, it seems to me that “kiss me” is standing in for an expletive of surprise here.  As in, “**** me, it’s Nightwing! I thought he was dead.”  For those of you who had no problems here, sorry I had to spell all that out.

BRE2.2 I know that’s supposed to be blood, but it looks to me like she is just blackout drunk and spilled brandy all over herself.

Paul Pelletier handles art for this issue.  It’s basically straight forward house style.  Nothing jumps out as overly impressive, but at the same time, I’ve got no real major complaints.  While nowhere near as nice as the art from last issue, I can work with it.  If I had to point out a negative, it would be an inconsistent and sometimes peculiar look to peoples faces.  Depending on what angle you are looking at Grayson (profile, straight on, up shot), it ends up making him look like a different character instead of the same character from an alternate angle.  It’s not bad to the point that you actually become confused as to who is talking, but it is noticeable.  The best panel is probably the one I opened this article with.  I also liked that Pelletier illustrated the classic “Grayson moves around the page” thing.  Personally, I prefer when the images are rendered fully but with a transparency to them.  Except, of course, for the last image that indicates his final resting spot in the given panel.  No transparency for that one.

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Considering this series is about celebrating the character of Robin, I think it would be appropriate to not only talk about the issue at hand , but any element of the Robin character you guys are interested in discussing.  So sound off in the comments.  Lets talk some Robin!

Spoiler

  • Orphan has fear gas being piped into his lungs but doesn’t seem to be cowering in fear.  I’m guessing that Mother has somehow altered the fear gas Crane developed in order to generate some type of mind controlling properties.  Why else would you want to pipe that stuff directly into someones lungs?
  • Cassandra Cain vs Jason Todd.  Pffft.  That’s no cliffhanger!  If Grayson couldn’t handle Cassandra, Jason doesn’t have a chance.  Let’s put it this way, I’d be more inclined to believe that Jason could spontaneously grow feathery wings and shoot rainbow lasers out of his eyes than believe he could beat Cassandra in a fist fight.

Interesting Facts:

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  • Last time I mentioned the scene from the first Dick Grayson story where Batman made Dick swear by the light of a candle.  This is the cover for Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #100 (1997).  It was illustrated by Alex Ross and is a beautiful homage to that same scene.

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  • While Jason Todd first appeared in Batman #357 (1983), it wasn’t till Batman #368 (1984) that Todd finally donned the Robin costume.  And not just any Robin costume, but Dick’s old costume!  Dick even makes an appearance in the issue and personally gives it to Todd with his blessing.  Keep in mind, this is the pre-Crisis continuity.

BRE2.6Bet you never thought Robin could look scarier than Batman!

  • Some places list Batman 442 as the first time Tim Drake dons the famous costume.  While this is true, it was only for that single issue.  Batman later decides that he isn’t going to rush into another Robin and potentially get another kid killed.  He tells Tim that he must train and earn the right to wear the suit.  It isn’t till 15 issues later that Tim becomes Robin for real.  This takes place in Batman #457 (1990).  I consider this to be the first true appearance of Tim as Robin.

BRE2.7This issue also brings us the first appearance of the new Robin suit.  Man, he looks awesome!

No fake feathers on this cape…

Recommended if…

  • You like your stories full of humor.
  • You’re a fan of Tim Seeley.  (I know I am)
  • You want to see Cassandra dominate the Orphan.
  • You’re a fan of the Batfamily.

Overall:

After the premiere issue, this was a real quick read.  Most of what we see here is just payoff and recovery from last week’s cliffhanger.  While entertaining and humorous, the plot doesn’t really move forward that much in this particular installment.  It also doesn’t leave us with a huge nail bitter either.  Even though it’s not on par with the premiere, it’s still a good issue and I’m dying to know what happens next.

SCORE: 8/ 10