Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Batman and Robin #3 Review

Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Frank Quitely

Three issues into Grant Morrison's Batman and Robin and I think it's safe to say that this is the spiritual successor to All Star Superman. However where his Superman was set out of continuity, Batman and Robin is firmly set in the DCU proper and focuses on the new dynamic duo, Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne.

It's also, by far, Morrison's best work on the Caped Crusader and I think it's primarily because he's doing new and exciting things with the character instead of getting mired in Silver Age continuity and tropes.

However, the Silver Age trappings are still in full effect, it's just that this time they are not included in the story simply for the sake of having them there. It's a proper mix of that fun and anything goes magic of the Silver Age stories with modern day trappings, making for an ecclectic mix of comic book goodness.

For this issue, Frank Quitely stole the show in my eyes. Some scenes, most notably the Pyg Dance sequence, were absolutely amazing and few artists can capture the motion of a fat, delusional man in a pig mask dancing like Quitely has here. It was truly one of the most disturbing, and hilarious, things I've seen in a comic in a long time and I don't think the scene would have worked with anyone else doing the art.

All was not perfect in this issue, though. I did have one problem and it was the sudden and often times, jarring transitions between scenes. For instance, one page we have Batman trying to stop some suicide bombers who end up being walking biohazards puking on people. It never actually shows the follow up on this or how Dick dealt with it. He just shows up again at the circus to save Damian at the end with no explanation as to what happened or how he came to know about the loaction of Damian. I don't mind missing narratives or cutting of the fat that has bloated so many of today's decompressed comics, but when he can waste an entire page on Alfred looking at a picture while someone (I assumed Red Hood, but he was on other side of town right afterwards, so not sure who that was) watches him, I think it's okay to complain about the odd misstep here and there. To be fair, I'd prefer these missing gaps to a page filled with people doing nothing or pointless exposition, so it's not the worst thing I could complain about.

Verdict - Must Read. This was a wonderful conclusion to the Pyg storyline and he's an excellent addition to the Batman rogue's gallery that I hope isn't forgotten once Morrison's run ends. Disappointed to see Quitely off the book for the next six months, but it's better than constant delays, too.

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