batmanandrobinPICON.jpg

Oh dear! Batman, Batwoman, Squire and the Knight are all trapped deep in a mine while Batwoman slowly bleeds out and dies from her injuries incurred by someone who is not the original Batman.  Is this the end of our heroes? Will Damian tame the crazed Zombie Batman and terrorize the city as only the Brat-son of the Dark Knight could?  It’s another issue of Grant Morrison’s Batman and Robin, and we’ve got your review, right after the jump.

batmanandrobin9COVER.jpgBatman and Robin #9
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Cameron Stewart
Colorist: Tony Avina
Letters: Patrick Brosseau
Editor: Mike Marts
Publisher: DC Comics

If anyone thought Batwoman was really going to die in this series, I hope you didn’t fret away between issues.  It’s almost like worrying night and day that some imaginary band of heroes would die at the hands of a couple of skeletons.  OF COURSE Batwoman was going to live; they were buried on top of a Lazarus Pit, and her resurrection would only complete the Crime Bible’s prediction.  How could you NOT use this moment to push the story even further in this four-colored fictional tale?

This herring did allow the crazed, Zombie Batman to fly to Wayne Tower where he attempted to lay the smack down on now recovered Damian, and the family servant Alfred.  There’s some really good action here, as the weaponless Alfred and  Damian must use the tools around them to bring the intruder down.

I can’t believe Damian finally turned his douche nozzle meter down a couple of notches in this issue.  As Pinnochio once yearned to be a real boy, Damian seems to have found his Jiminy Cricket in the form of Alfred Pennyworth.  When push finally came to shove, our own little wooden head stepped up the plate and saved someone’s life, not because he was told to, but because he cared.  Of course, in the final pages, Damian attempts to cover with his snappy command to have a chair brought to him, but it’s nice to see that curtain pulled away, if only for a moment.  It also could counter the claims by Zombie Batman that Damian was Bruce’s biggest failure and will bring him down.  Still, we all read the 666-issue that featured Damian as future Batman, so who the hell knows what Morrison still has up his sleeve, but I’m more than willing to go along for the ride.

When things look their darkest, Batman and Batwoman, arrive to bring the fight to Dick’s biggest failure as Batman.  If you want to see a great fight sequence on the page, then his is an issue to pick up to see how Cameron Stewart handles page layout in a three way battle. I love how the layout starts to fall apart as Zombie Batman is brought down with each successive blow.  There is still one creepy Damian moment, as we are left to assume the Bat-spawn used a box cutter or a pair of brass knuckles to help strike the final blow.

Morrison loves working with Frank Quitely, but I think Cameron Stewart did a bang up job here.  As previously mentioned the final battle is superbly rendered and paced, as the readers see the fight spill across the page.  Even the somewhat quiet moments in the issue shine as readers see real expressions on the faces of the characters, as Stewart brings the heroes, and villains to life.  There’s something particularly creepy about seeing Zombie Batman’s face melting away on the page, and Stewart earns kudos for that work.  Likewise, the colors work well in this issue, as the darkened cavern is lit up by the Lazarus Pit, and the night fight in the rain works well.

In the end, Dick is finally convinced Tim was right all along, and as soon as we can get a few more months under our belts, the quest to bring Bruce Wayne back from his trip through time and space can begin.  Overall this wasn’t a bad issue, in fact, I dare say that this issue was just about as good as the first issue when it came out oh so long ago now.  Whether it is the similarities in action, the great art, or a moment where the series finally gels, Batman and Robin #9 is a great turning point.  I like that Grant Morrison is telling a story, instead of forcing the reader to suss out some inner message wrapped up in all the craziness. With the closing of issue 9, it feels like we are now about to embark upon the next great Batman adventure that will have some real meaning in the grand scheme of the DCU.  And I finally like Damian… That alone is worth a 4.5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★★½

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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11 Comments

  1. ~wyntermute~
    February 26, 2010 at 11:41 pm — Reply

    “I like that Grant Morrison is telling a story, instead of forcing the reader to suss out some inner message wrapped up in all the craziness.”

    It _is_ a pretty good stand-alone story… That is both praise and critique. ^_^

  2. February 27, 2010 at 11:20 am — Reply

    I enjoy the Zom-Bats…

  3. Dave Morgan
    February 27, 2010 at 1:28 pm — Reply

    Yeah, Bruce Wayne has gotta come back, but I’m really enjoying this run of Dick Grayson as Batman. I wish the ride would last longer…

  4. Hunter Dan
    February 27, 2010 at 9:32 pm — Reply

    so whose skull was it in Blackest Night, when the figure of Black Lantern Batman turned most of the the JLA to Black Lanterns?

    • February 27, 2010 at 11:24 pm — Reply

      Good question… My guess is we are now being led to believe it was another or the twisted Bat-clones.

      • Dan Hunter
        February 28, 2010 at 5:38 pm — Reply

        It does seem a bit convoluted in that instead of killing Batman with my Omega sanction/eye beams/ tom welling punch, I’ll send him to the past and perform the switcheroo , and leave behind in a corpse of my failed bat-clone so the heroes have something to bury.

        It’s a plot that seems planned from the Infinite Crisis when Batman was captured and subject to fiendish mind experiments-but I feel it’s stretching it a bit.

        Liked the story though, really enjoying the New Batman and Robin and I love Batwoman in Detective Comics . My only issue is after the debacle of Tim wanting to use the Lazarus pit to bring back his parents a few years ago , and the resulting lecture at the time from Dick, you’d think they’d steer clear of fooling around with the pits.

        • websnap
          March 1, 2010 at 10:19 am — Reply

          I guess he’s rational was that this is Bruce… not just a loved one but someone that is “necessary” for the “mission” to continue. That unlike Tim’s or his parents or anyone else that that would have been purely selfish on a personal level, the world NEEDED Bruce back and that builds nicely as a crack of doubt in Dick’s cowl I’m sure Grant will be exploiting in the next arc. In Dick’s defence though it was a measured risk and they were prepared to take on the bat-zombie and not just assuming Bruce would be just fine coming out if the pit… however if anyone COULD find a way to survive/recover in insurmountable odds, Bruce is the guy I would bet on. The same really couldn’t have been said about Tim’s parents.

          • Dan Hunter
            March 1, 2010 at 6:58 pm — Reply

            I thank you for your well written take on the old Lazarus pit shuffle, especially regarding the point about them being ready to take down Bruce should he come out of the pit all crazy like.
            You put forward a very good argument that has made me change my point of view. Cheers
            I am now going back to read the arc again in an enlightened state :-D

      • websnap
        March 1, 2010 at 10:22 am — Reply

        Johns better explain to us, at some point – and convincingly – why “batman’s” skull had horned ears. I’m prepared to wait a while longer… but it better be good.

  5. GeorgeWook
    February 28, 2010 at 4:22 am — Reply

    “as we are left to assume the Bat-spawn used a box cutter or a pair of brass knuckles to help strike the final blow.”

    Maybe I’m missing something, but that wasn’t how i read it.. i thought the tool Damian was holding was a grappling gun, not a weapon – showing that he didn’t need Batman to catch him when he fell of the ledge – and his ‘tut’ and snarky comment showed him as still being the ungrateful brat we’re used to.

    When zombie-bat finally fell, Damian was not on on panel at all, so I never got the impression Damain took part in the fight or landed a final blow? when we then see Damian hiding the tool (whatever it was) after the fight- i simply read that as him trying to protect his secret identity from Batwoman.

    • astrodinosaurus
      March 1, 2010 at 10:51 am — Reply

      Exactly how I read it as well.

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