or – When G-Mo got his caps back
I picked up Batman and Robin #1 today and sat down to read it with great trepidation.Â I havenâ€™t been the greatest fan of what has happened to the Batman titles over the last three years (as evident on the site), and certainly was not a fan of the person behind the curtain pulling the strings to shape the DCU to his world view.
I made sure to only drink water throughout the morning to keep the body and mind pure, and ate a light lunch so as not to upset my constitution.Â I took my time reading the first issue that features Dick Grayson as the new Batman, and Damian Wayne as the new kid-side-kick.
Iâ€™m done reading.
I donâ€™t feel like throwing up.
In fact, to borrow a phrase from Rodrigo – â€œI liked it.â€
Thatâ€™s right true believers, I really like what Grant Morrison has done with the new Batman and Robin.Â From the first page explosion to closing pages that introduces a villain that could rival Black Mask, I really liked every single page.
What really makes me appreciate what Grant Morrison is doing in this inaugural issue is that he isnâ€™t writing a Bruce Wayne Batman story.Â He already had his chance to do that, and it didnâ€™t work from this reviewerâ€™s perspective.Â Bruce Wayne is a really screwed up person, so he can be bitchy, dark, and brooding and it fits with his character.Â Morrison tried to change the direction of that barge, and there was too much resistance from long time Bruce Wayne Batman fans.
Here, Morrison gets a second chance to tell a different Batman story with Dick under the cowl.Â Dick, while having gone through a lot of tough times, has always had a lighthearted approach to crime fighting, and in the pages of Batman and Robin #1, Morrison doesnâ€™t allow the mask to take away from Graysonâ€™s personality.Â Itâ€™s clear Dick isnâ€™t Bruce, as he spends almost as much on page time out of the cowl as in.Â From the way Morrison is spinning this version of Batman, I doubt there will ever be a question of which personality is the real one; itâ€™s always going to be Richard.
I loathed Damian when he was first introduced. I loathed him in such a way, that as soon as he was introduced, I almost dropped every Batman title DC published.Â He was portrayed as a real prick, and if he had is own Damian Dickness Meter, he would have eclipsed anything his father could have come up with.Â I donâ€™t know if the events of Battle for the Cowl played any part in the change, but Damian has mellowed out quite a bit when readers are re-introduced to the brat in this issue.
Instead of snapping at Alfred and treating him as a being far beneath him, he at least elevates the Batmanâ€™s batman back to the level of trusted servant.Â Even in his interactions with Dick, Damian keeps his attitude in check, and there is a mutual respect for one another.Â Damian willingly allows Dick to call the shots due to age and experience, however, beneath the surface, readers can see Damianâ€™s desire to be the team leader bubble to the top as Morrison practically slaps us in the face by showing Damianâ€™s brilliance and willingness to jump into the fight.
The Black Glove story seemed to take forever to build to any kind of drama, but Morrison gets right to the action here.Â The introduction of the villains of this arc is built up quite well, as readers are presented with intercut shots of things taking place elsewhere, with no indication of who, or what, these characters are until things heat up and smash the reader in the face once more.Â Readers learn about Pyg through one of his lackeys, and the mystery of the role a case of dominos play in the story takes center stage immediately after the opening action sequence.
I think it is the opening sequence that sold me the most on this issue.Â It felt so much like a James Bond movie opening, that I half expected Frank Quitely to layout the final pages before the first ad break in the shape of the new Batman logo.
Even with the action, there are quiet moments in this issue as well, as Dick and Alfred finally close shop on Wayne Manor and move to new digs downtown.Â Morrison really is closing the book on everything Bruce Wayne related, going so far as to use a parting shot of Dick looking back on the graves in the Wayne family cemetery as the duo drive away.Â Touching.
Of course, all of this could be wiped away with the very next issue.
With all this praise Iâ€™m giving to this issue, it doesnâ€™t mean I have changed my mind about what Grant Morrison did before.Â I still donâ€™t like it. I think it was a heavy handed way of pushing an agenda to get to this point in story telling.Â As iâ€™ve always said, a writer is only going to be as good as his most recent work, and from what Iâ€™ve seen in issue one, Morrison is on the right track to regaining the trust and respect of the readers he turned off with his previous DC series.
As far as the Quitely artwork goes, I didnâ€™t care for his portrayal of Superman in the All-Star series, and I think it was the key factor in me dropping that series before issue #6.Â However, I thought his art was quite appropriate for Batman and Robin.Â His Batman looks real, but not too realistic that it falls into that 2D version of the Uncanny Valley that turned me off of All-Star.
I love how he incorporated sound effects into the art as well.Â He most certainly could have gone for the BIFF! BAM! KRAK-A-DOOOOOOOOM!Â lettering over the action that we see in other titles, but instead Quitely makes the explosions, splashes and everything else form the sound effects.Â Iâ€™ve seen this done in a similar fashion in a couple of action movies released over the last decade, and it works.
The only thing that might keep the reader from thoroughly embracing this new status quo, is the big elephant in the room.Â Namely the question of, â€œWhen is Bruce Wayne coming back?â€Â I seriously hope DC give Bruce a rest for at least five years before digging him up again.Â I want to see writers stretch their legs and give this new dynamic duo a chance to show readers what they are capable of.
Batman and Robin feels a lot like an Ultimate Batman reboot and if DC plays its cards right, could make this title the number one title for months to come.Â Iâ€™m hoping the coming issues are as high caliber and fun as this one has been.Â Batman and Robin #1 has renewed and rejuvenated my interest in the Batman titles once again, which before today was at my lowest interest level in decades.
Batman and Robin #1 features exciting action, interesting character interactions, and a story that I find engaging from the get go, earning a well deserved 5 out of 5 Stars.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to reread this issue again…