JD reviews Batman and Robin # 16

Title: Batman and Robin # 16
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Cameron Stewart, Chris Burnham, Frazer Irving
Reviewed by Johnny Destructo

I’m not smart. Grant Morrison proves it to me time and time again with his often esoteric, sometimes ridiculous, occasionally impossible to read stories. 75% of the time, I regard him as one of my favorite funnybook writers. The rest of the time, I wanna slap him and say “Speak English, motherfucker! Dumb it down for me cause I wanna actually figure out what you’re saying!!”

This series, Batman and Robin is by far my favorite of Morrison’s recent Batman work. I’ve never cared about the Black Glove or Final Crisis, or Batman R.I.P. or the The Return of Bruce Wayne. I have, however, really enjoyed his work here, delving into the relationship between Dick and Damian and their new roles as the dynamic duo. I haven’t loved to hate or hated to love a character as much as I have Grant’s Damian. It’s a glorious thing, to watch him write this character and his interactions with the Bat-Family. What I’m not enjoying as much is the giant bat monster thing, time-traveling Bruce, Dr. Hurt/Thomas Wayne/Space Voodoo stuff. Some day I’ll probably go back and re-read the entire Morrison Bat-run, but as of now, having read it an issue at a time, I can’t say that it’s the most cohesive story. Maybe I’m the only one who had to look it up on wikipedia to try to understand it, but I doubt it!

Anyway, we’re here to talk about this specific issue. This one had enough answers, enough action and enough smarmy Damian for me to love it. There is a great deal of bad-assery and hilarity to enjoy here. Award for best line goes to Dick, on Bruce’s convenient return: “Guess I should have known you wouldn’t just turn up during lunch tomorrow or something normal like that.” This is a fine wrap-up to Morrison’s run on this book, but of course the main concern is the final couple pages and the cliff-hanger. This poses quite a few questions regarding the legal ramifications facing Bruce in the upcoming series. ALMOST akin to Daredevil’s identity being leaked or Spidey taking off his mask on national television. I’m definitely curious to see where we’re going with all this! It seems to be going against everything we’ve been lead to believe is the M.O. of the Dark Knight. One man stalking the shadows of Gotham, remaining an untouchable legend to keep the superstitious and cowardly criminals afraid. Now it reeks more like1980’s film Hero at Large, starring John Ritter. It really takes Bats out of the shadows and into the spotlight, which just kind of seems…wrong. Not to mention Bruce will now probably have to face charges for aiding and abetting a known vigilante/criminal which is, let’s face it, what Batman REALLY would be in the really real world.

As for the art, Cameron Stewart does a fantastic job here with the two-page spread of the Batmen and Robin taking on the Black Glove’s goons. Definitely worth taking your time to soak in all the action he packed into those panels. Stellar work. Frazer Irving also does his usual fantastic job here, but anyone else notice that when Bats punches the Joker, the foreshortening is so drastic that it looks like Joker’s head is literally been punched off of his body and is about to hit the reader?

No offense to the talented folks who have drawn this book, but Oh Frank Quietly, why did you never return? What I wouldn’t give for a whole 16 issues of you on this series to compliment your All Star Superman run. The composition of this cover is unfortunate, however. It looks like Dick Grayson’s Batman is literally straddling Robin like a hobby horse towards the reader.

At any rate, this was a great issue, and if anything, Grant Morrison keeps me guessing. And feeling like an idiot.

When not hosting the PopTards Podcast, fist-bumping his own nethers, discussing movies, comics and other flimflam here, JD is graphically designing/illustrating/inking for a living, hanging with the @$$holes over at www.aintitcoolnews.com and Booking his Face off over here.

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