Thursday, August 27, 2009

Batman and Robin #3 Review

I was going to avoid going to the comic shop this week with only one comic awaiting me but since I had to be downtown anyway I figured what the hell I’ll pick up Batman and Robin #3. Sorry for the lack of posts this week guys, next week should be more eventful.

Also this is basically me editing my review for the Revolution into my style here. I decided that rather than posting the same type of review from there here, I’ll just change things around to my regular style and throw in some images from the comic still.

Also a quick mention, I might be able to review Batman: Arkham Asylum sooner then thought! I can't say much since it's just a possibility but fingers crossed folks.

Batman and Robin #3
Written: Grant Morrison
Art: Frank Quitely


Opening Comments: Batman and Robin closes it’s first story arc and I was on the fence if I would enjoy this issue or not. While we had a very strong debut chapter I can’t deny that the 2nd issue last month wasn’t too impressive for me. Hopefully Morrison can win me back and sell me on the most prominent of the Batman Reborn titles.

Story Comments: Morrison definitely won me back this time around with Batman and Robin #3, turning in a much more exciting and enjoyable read. This issue had a solid balance of character work and dialogue and great action. Something this series will hopefully excel at as it progresses because sadly this isn’t a norm in comics.

I was very happy to finally see Dick over all his past frustrations of becoming Batman. No more crap about how he hates the cape, it’s all behind him and I must say he makes a great Batman. His line of “I’m Batman” after nearly killing some guy for answers just had me rooting for him to kick ass. I’m almost feeling a throwback to All Star Batman where Miller portrays the younger Batman as more violent and brash. Thought I’m not sure if that was intentional of Morrison or not.

I’m not sure but it did seem that Damian has gained more respect for Dick. He seemed shocked that he was saved by him and no longer seemed to have doubts on working with him. If anything this issue did a great job of strengthening the new dynamic duo and showing that this isn’t such an awkward team after all.

While I do have a complaint about Pyg, Morrison did do a good job of showing us this guy is absolutely nuts. I can’t tell if half his babble was interesting and important or if half of it was nonsense that Morrison wrote down when on an acid trip. Either way it was some pretty crazy stuff and actually fun to read just how nuts this guy is.

This issue’s pacing was very solid. Last issue definitely suffered in the pacing because one moment we got solid action but suddenly we changed to a more somber simple discussion and it was almost jarring. Here however the dialogue and action blend seamlessly together and with that Morrison weaves a great story in one issue even while continuing plot developments from prior issues.

Jim Gordon got some nice moments, mostly it was great seeing him pissed off at Batman again. I almost laughed at how this seems even closer to earlier days of Bruce as Batman with the two clashing momentarily. Still I’m hopeful the two can come to an understanding, I can’t blame Gordon for clashing with Dick’s dangerous tactics.

I mentioned this in my Streets of Gotham #2 review but now I’m certain that this is indeed something the writers are all doing by having Dick be more aggressive. He’s got a lot on his hand, Black Mask, Two-Face and a lot more while Pyg and other villains are coming out of nowhere to add a lot more stress to Dick’s role as Batman.

In other words it couldn’t be a worse time for Dick to become Batman. He’s got villains coming at him from every side and it makes sense that to keep them in their place he’s going to have to be a lot more aggressive and violent if he wants to not drown in his own spilled blood. He’s got to fight hard and take them down fast so there’s no time for stalking the shadows and being careful. He’s got to be brutal if he wants to stay alive and I like this twist a lot. It’s brilliant.

Of course I have to mention Damian who has been great so far in this series. Morrison has done a great job of evolving the character from his annoying brat persona that he had early on into a more interesting and manageable hero. Sure he’s more brutal than even Dick is being but it makes sense. Also with how things are going a dangerous Robin is perfect to be Batman’s sidekick.

Also of course it’s funny seeing how Damian insists on being his own Robin. Not doing things like Tim or Dick would have. He works well with Batman but also can handle things on is own. It’s a nice contrast to what I was expecting and it fits the character very well.

I did like the plot of Pyg trying to poison Gotham and hold it for ransom a bit. It’s not an amazing twist and it’s not big stretch of the imagination but for the most part it gave Batman and Robin a great disaster to triumph over and keep Gotham safe and that’s exactly how you want to start a new dynamic duo out. Give them something major to conquer and once they’ve conquered it they will have a lot more respect from the readers. Hopefully this arc will have helped with the transition of people who can’t accept that Bruce isn’t Batman right now.

My biggest complaint for this story is Pyg. While as I mentioned I liked his evil plot and it was funny reading how crazy he is at the same time I don’t really feel he’s a credible exciting villain yet. While I’m not looking for the next Joker it’s no use having a crazy guy who we see can do evil things if we don’t really see him cut loose. Morrison has developed the character nicely but now it’s time to unleash him on Gotham! Since Pyg really was a contained villain this issue, I was disappointed that he didn’t really get to go wild. Hopefully another time.

A quick mention about Pyg’s dolls, I find those to be the creepiest minions in a long while. Those things top any creepy looking robot and almost feel like something that walked out of the Silent Hill series then put on some make up. It’s messed up.

Now for the cliff-hanger with Red Hood, I have to say that even though I saw it coming that Red Hood would recruit this girl and that we all knew he was going to show up next month that Morrison did do a good job of ending this issue off with a cool show of how badass Red Hood is and making me excited for more next month.

Morrison finally won me over with this series and made it a permanent stay on the pull list. While DC may be messing around with Streets of Gotham, Batman and Robin is definitely going to be the Batman book to be reading this year as well as next.

Art Comments: While I’ve never been a big fan of Quitely’s art I have been enjoying his work on Batman and Robin. While he still has some weird facial moments and I do thing that he does overdo it sometimes with detail, making some people look like they are made out of beanbags, his work on Batman and Robin has been very impressive and his work here is probably his best work I’ve seen yet.

I can’t deny that I’ve never liked Quitely’s art and this story arc didn’t make me a fan. His art as I mentioned has some brilliant and good moments but he still overdoes it from time to time with the weird detail. Sometimes to the point where it almost looks inhuman. While his art doesn’t have any major glares he still has his awkward moments with the heavy line work.

Final Comments: Batman and Robin is finally reaching the potential this series had from day 1. Morrison has sold me on the series and hopefully will do the same for the rest of you. I highly recommend you go pick up the last 2 issues as well as this issue and get read y for one wild ride after another. Great character work and solid art makes this series a must have for anyone looking for a great Batman read.

Writing: 4 out of 5
Art: 3 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5
Must Read

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