Batman & Robin #1, Morrison and Quitely do their thing on the other great DC icon…
Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
I’ve been a little down on Grant Morrison’s work lately. Not that I’ve really read that much. It’s just that his whole DC continuity heavy series just don’t appeal to me (and god knows I don’t have the time to get involved). In fact, all I’ve read recently has been All Star Superman Volume 2. And there’s a review coming soon. But see here for a review of the first volume. Second one’s just as good and possibly better.
Which brings us to Batman & Robin #1. It’s the series you probably all know more about than I do, coming off the back of Final Crisis and Batman RIP. And we’re now into Batman Reborn and Batman & Robin.
Bruce Wayne has gone (he’s dead, at least for a little while – I have no real idea how and frankly no real interest in the reasons either) and Batman is now Dick Grayson (the original Robin and more recently Nightwing) with the Boy Wonder played by Damian; Bruce Wayne’s son with Talia Al Ghul as chronicled in Morrison’s Batman series (another thing I haven’t read). So as you can see, I’m no expert on Batman, DC continuity or even Grant Morrison’s recent output. But I figured since All Star Superman was such a great series it may well be worth giving this a spin.
And it’s really everything I hoped it would be. In fact it’s pretty obvious exactly how good it’s going to be from the very first couple of pages and that oh so cool new Batmobile:
Morrison and Quitely just make such a great team on superhero characters and especially the really big iconic ones (their New X-Men series was a similar triumph) and Batman, whether it’s Bruce Wayne under the cowl or not, is one of the biggest icons around. It’s just the first issue but you can see the way they’re going to play it right away; Dick Grayson is uncomfortable in the Batman role, even though he’s been effectively preparing for it his whole life:
“I’ve always known what I’d do if .. if anything happened to Bruce. I just didn’t want to face it. This is my worst, worst nightmare when I was a kid.”
And as for Robin, well this Robin isn’t the nicest kid you’ll ever see. It’s maybe down to his upbringing (son of villain-ess, grandpa one of Batman’s most evil foes, dad never really around much, that sort of thing) but even taking that into consideration he’s still just a nasty little piece of work:
“That will be all Pennyworth” is no way to talk to dear old Alfred. And he’s certainly not shy in pointing out that he doesn’t think Dick Grayson is the best man for the job either:
Morrison has said in various interviews that this is intended to shake things up a little and whilst it’s never going to go full on camp TV series style, it will have a little more comedy than the average Batman story. And you can see what he means. Dick Grayson has always struggled to keep the grim quotient up to Bruce Wayne’s levels and with the ultra-cynical Robin to play off, there’s definitely room for a few sarcastic gags. But more than anything else this has the makings of a really classic Batman story, regardless of who’s actually playing the part.
With Grant Morrison’s perfect storytelling matched yet again by Frank Quitely’s super superhero artwork, Batman And Robin may well be a contender for the super-book of the year.