Nrama: Because Dick's been away for awhile, there are these new heroes running around Gotham that I don't think he's even met, and there are others that haven't seen him for awhile — save that one meeting in Grayson #12. What's this adventure like as the Bat-family comes together? Does it include some of the newer heroes? Like I know Cassandra Cain is in there — and Spoiler too?
Seeley: Yeah, you get to see everybody in this one. And we'll see Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Harper, Dick, and to some degree, we'll see some of the other peripheral characters like Damian and others.
But the story is about this realization that they're on the same list. And they don't know what the list is.
So it's about them — and each of their relationships with the title of Robin.
Didn't a past interview from someone else say Spoiler wasn't in this? And yes, Damian who's the current Robin isn't in this as much as the others. Granted I wanted to see more of the first three but I don't trust the writers on board. The list things sounds like another "picked to be a killer if Batman hadn't been involved" ideas like the Gray Son stuff. I really hope people are as vocal against this idea as they were the suggestion that Joker "made" Jason Robin.
Nrama: I know one of the things you're playing with is this thumb drive that reveals a secret to Dick Grayson that Batman hid from him years ago. Is one of the central ideas that Batman hid something from the Robins — particularly Dick Grayson when he was Robin?
Seeley: Yeah, the story explores how they all react to the news that there might be this conspiracy that they're all involved in. For Dick, he's probably the one who trusts him the most, of all the other ones. Or actually, he wouldn't believe that Bruce had ever done something to endanger them, or do anything but protect and teach them. That's Dick's impetus to try to solve this because he can't believe that ever happened.
I think Damians' the one that trusts Bruce the most because he still idealizes him a lot. Damian also hasn't had as much experience being screwed over as the others. Wasn't Dick the one that made sure everyone was present to call Bruce on his bullshit in DOTF? Wasn't Dick hiding in the bat cave when the family said what crap Bruce pulled on them including him intentionally trying to trigger memories of a traumatic experience? Dick isn't naïve and while Bruce doesn't mean to hurt them Dick knows he can be stupid at times.
The other Robins had different experiences. Obviously Jason holds a bit of a grudge toward Bruce because Joker hit him in the head a bunch of times with a crowbar. And Tim's sort of been the outlier. And we get to see how that works with the other characters, like Harper Row, who, as far as the other Robins are concerned, was never a chosen one, but kind of forced her way in there. So we get to see her relationship, how she would feel about there maybe being some conspiracy behind the formation of the Robins.
This guy is writing these characters and he underplays one of the most brutal moments in comic book history to make it sound like Jason is being a brat. Jason was beaten, blown up and killed. He never blamed Bruce for his death and if you can't get that right you shouldn't be handling the character. But there's more to it like Bruces' crappy behavior like the memory trigger I mentioned above. They made peace although there's still a strain. Jason calls Bruce on his bull like in the Batman/Superman Annual #1. No, Jason doesn't trust him as much as the others but it's more complex than the frankly demeaning way mentioned by Seeley. Tim was pissed at Bruce a number of times since the relaunch.
Nrama: Other writers I've spoken to have said the style of Batman and Robin Eternal is a lot like Grayson. Are you coming at this series as a sort of spy, detective, mystery story?
Seeley: Yeah. I think when we first talked about what this story would be, we decided that it should be a sort of, I think the term was "Hitchcockian mystery story" with a modern conspiracy story weaved through it. And I think that works perfectly for the spy world of Grayson too.
We deal with paranoia and back-stabbing and distrust in Grayson between Dick and Sypral, but in this case, he's facing it from his mentor and family. And that's a new thing for him, to understand this mistrust and deal with it.'
Did Seeley read DOTF? Or COO? Does he think Jason never fought anyone when he came back as Red Hood? Probably not since he obviously doesn't understand what it was about. Maybe the paranoia is bigger but these aren't new concepts.
Frankly I would have been more impressed if Gleason and Lobdell were asked how to handle the characters they write if not be asked to work on this. Both have been on their respective characters titles longer than Seeley has been on his.