Batman and Robin Eternal #19 delves into one of the more interesting, some would say ironic, some would even say disturbing, aspects of current DC continuity, Dick Grayson’s day job. At the moment, the first Robin is posing as a gay French gym teacher at St. Hadrian’s School for Girls in Suffolk, England. In reality, he is an agent of Spyral, the psychedelic spy agency headed by his one-time partner and tacit love interest, Helena Bertinelli. But, the fact seldom touched on is that Grant Morrison, the creator of Spyral, established the school as a training academy for female assassins.
The specter of Dick Grayson, of all people, training killers, is one that really doesn’t fit with accepted characterization. In truth, author Tim Seeley doesn’t deal that much with the implications of the fact here, either. But the business of St. Hadrian’s makes it a tempting target for Mother as she deploys her Ichthys mental virus. After all, what self-respecting super villain would pass up the chance to seize control of an army of trained assassins?
The attack provides some interesting moments to display Helena’s abilities as she takes down a half-crazed Cassandra Cain. As she observes, she is well experienced in controlling young women with deadly skills. It also allows Frau Netz, Spyral’s resident mad scientist, to prove her worth by reducing that Scarecrow’s fear gas can provide resistance to Ichthys, albeit at high cost, by activating certain brain centers.
However,the most interesting development of the issue concerns secrets that Spyral has been keeping. It turns out that the spy agency controls an orbiting version of the Hypnos technology, the Somnus Satellite. The satellite can be used to implant delusions across entire geographic areas, or presumably the entire world if used long enough and at high enough power. It is the perfect delivery vehicle for Ichthys across the globe.
This issue begins to move the main storyline forward at an accelerated clip right on time. With only seven issues to go, we have reached the point where we need to condense or shed sub-plots and gather momentum as we move toward the end. It is interesting the extent to which, as the REBIRTH event approaches, BATMAN AND ROBIN ETERNAL is crossing into the territory of other Bat books. Recently revealed covers show that a wide range of guests, particularly from the GRAYSON and ROBIN universes, have yet to make their appearances. And, as evidence mounts that Dick Grayson will soon take up the Nightwing identity again, is it accidental that his employers are revealed to possess the ability to make the entire world forget about his secret identity being revealed?