SPOILERS: How BATMAN & ROBIN ETERNAL Finale Alters Heroes' Statuses & Sets Stage For REBIRTH

"Batman & Robin Eternal #26" preview
Credit: DC Comics

Spoilers ahead for this week's Batman & Robin Eternal #26.

This week's Batman & Robin Eternal #26 wrapped up the half-year weekly series by revealing that two of Batman's sidekicks, Harper Row and Cassandra Cain, are changing their status quo.

First up, Cassandra Cain now has a superhero name: Orphan. It's the name her father David Cain once wore (see below for his fate). And she's definitely fighting on the side of good. Even though Batman & Robin Eternal revealed that she was an assassin who killed Harper Row's mom, she's made up with Harper and Batman agrees to let Cass stick around.

Credit: DC Comics

Second? Well, there's a reason you didn't see Harper Row mentioned in any of the Rebirth solicitations. She's taking a break from being Bluebird, hanging up the costume, at least for now.

Credit: DC Comics

As the issue ends, the stage is set for Rebirth, with all the former Robins back in their usual roles and Batman back in town (although Grayson's still with Spyral at this point, even though we know he'll be Nightwing again by the Rebirth launches in June).

Backing up to fill in some details for Batman & Robin Eternal #26: The issue starts with a flashback to years ago, when Harper and Cullen Row's mother Miranda was still alive, and it's clear that she had a pretty special connection with Harper (despite the physical distance created by her need to work two jobs).

Snap back to now, where Mother is still trying to get Harper to kill Cassandra (in retaliation for Cass having killed her mom).

Dick Grayson's there and trying to convince Harper not to do it, but things are looking dire for the world. After the heroes tried to utilize Crane's toxin to stop Mother's madness, she turned the tables and started using satellites, threatening to unleash Itchys on 12 more cities.

As readers might expect, Harper says she won't hurt Cass — her mother raised her better than that. Turns out she wasn't even considering it, but was stalling while she mapped out the electrical infrastructure of the place so she could interrupt Mother's power source.

Credit: DC Comics

That gives Harper the chance to attack Mother, saying that she doesn't need Mother to fix her life. She's proud of what she's accomplished as an electrical engineer and happy with who she's become despite the hardships she's faced.

Mother pulls out a gun, shoots at Harper, but Cassandra knocks Harper out of the way and blocks the bullet.

In the meantime, we find out that even though Mother's computer has been trying to reroute power around Harper's attack, Azrael has taken it out the antenna. Dick calls in the rest of the heroes and bam, the remaining Orphans are defeated by Black Canary, Batgirl, Batwoman, Robin, Red Hood, Red Robin, Talon… you get the idea… lots of Bat-friends.

After Harper makes sure Cass is OK (she is), and the two make up (awww…), Spoiler steps in and saves the day with one of Harper's kick-ass electrical guns.

Mother starts fighting Dick, and the other Robins arrive to assist. Mother starts ranting about all the broken children in the streets, and that she was just trying to help them by changing their world and making them stronger — something she could have done for the Robins too, if Batman had only complied.

Dick defends his mentor, replying that Batman was the one who recognized their potential and made them stronger.

Mother's last ditch effort? Unleash a volcano that's underneath them all.

It looks like Mother will escape… only not if Cassandra has anything to say about it. And she has plenty to say, mostly with her fists.

Credit: DC Comics

Cass stops short of killing Mother. But it turns out that "Orphan" David Cain isn't feeling quite so friendly and runs a sword through Mother. He apologizes to Cass, then he wraps his arms around Mother and dives into the volcano's lava and seemingly to their death.

The next scene fast-forwards to a month later, after the events of Batman #50 and Robin War. Near the grave of Miranda Row, Batman tells Harper he's back. The two have it out (verbally) over Batman's secrecy. (Why do the teens always act surprised and angry that Batman doesn't tell them everything? He's Batman!)

In the end, Harper says she's going to Gotham Technical Institute. It's insinuated that she's putting away the costume for awhile. She says she needs to "take the time to feel it all out in my own time."

Cassandra shows up and says she wants to continue to fight as a costumed hero, taking the name "Orphan."

The issue concludes with Batman encountering Red Robin, Damian, Red Hood and Dick Grayson on the streets of Gotham. There are bad guys to fight, of course, and Batman says, "Sounds like a job for Batman and Robin."

Which Robin, Dick asks. "All of them."

With Batman & Robin Eternal co-writer James Tynion IV taking over Detective Comics and Scott Snyder seguing to All-Star Batman come June's Rebirth, it appears they will follow the threads of these storylines and these characters in the summer.

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