Batman and Robin #3
Publisher DC Comics
Writer Grant Morrison
Artist Frank Quietly
Colors Alex Sinclair
I know this book was late, but after reading it I didn’t care, Morrison and Quietly are like pure gold wrapped in a cover. I know that the coming revolution with digital comics will change everything and may make books like this even more enjoyable, but g** da** if this thing is not one fine read. I mean sitting down in my favorite reading spot and flipping through this book was a joy.
We open with Batman riding the most impossible big four wheeled motorbike you would ever see and he is dragging a man with a flaming head down the street barely keeping him off the ground. Then we are treated to a few more panels of Batman scaring the crap out of this guy to get the information he needs to find Professor Pyg. It is pure Batman, but it is pure Dick Grayson’s spin on Batman. Where Bruce would hold him from the buildings, Dick is doing a more circus style act. Gordon calls Batman on what he did and asks him who is he to do that after he gave him the suspect to question. Dick’s answer is I’m Batman. It was just that easy and just that quick and it’s true.
Then we cut away to Professor Pyg who has captured Robin. Pyg shows off why he is as crazy as the Joker. I’m sure if I “google” some of the lines that Morrison has given this guy I will learn there is even more to this story and to what Pyg is saying. With books like these I sometimes wished I only followed 20 books or so and then I could really over analyze the book to dig out the additional meaning or references that I’m sure I’m missing, but this book is frelling awesome without it. When Pyg starts to dance and sing as he is mutilating his victims with these masks which become the people’s faces it is just out and out madness. Robin nails it as he slowly escapes from his ropes and says “You just redefined wrong.” It is such a great line and after seeing and listening to Pyg’s performance it was the perfect line.
Now at this point I have to comment on Frank’s artwork. I understand that his style is not to everyone’s taste, but there is no denying his ability to compose a page and this two page spread of Robin escaping and Pyg singing is amazing. Pyg puts his pig masked face up to Robin’s nose in one shot and the expression on Robin’s face says it all. The action sequence as Robin breaks free and is rather violent in his attacks against the bad guys is great and it shows that this Robin is still a very young boy, but also rather vicious. Again it is pure Robin, but it is pure Damian Robin. All throughout the book Frank’s design and page layouts make the book flow very easily and keeps the pacing of the story flying. I love Frank’s style and I’m captivated by the new vehicles he has given the Bat crew. Phillip Tan, the artist who is up next, has some big shoes to fill.
Dick and Damian are Batman and Robin. In my mind Dick is not “Bucky” Cap or any other such term he is Batman and Damian, for better or worse is Robin. The elements and the feel of these characters is true to the heart of Batman and Robin and at the same time the underlying actions and way they handle things still denote that it is Dick and Damian. Not once in this issue do they take off their masks, yet the feeling is that this is a new dynamic duo, same as it ever was, but still new and different.
From there we move on to Batman and Robin teaming up again, Batman saving Robin’s life, Pyg’s mad scheme to hold the city hostage or else he would infect the city with an addictive identity destroying drug being unraveled. To end the Circus of Strange we get Pyg being caught and put behind bars. Commissioner Gordon is accepting this Batman and not asking questions. We see Pyg behind bars but still as mad and crazed and a great addition to the Rogue’s Gallery. The sense of menace and pure evil craziness just oozes out of this character. This cannot be the last we see of him or his crew.
Then we get to the scene from the end of the story when Grant started the “Death of Bruce Wayne” story with a picture of Batman and Robin breaking in on Le Bossu which is sealing the deal for this team being a true partnership. Next we cut away and see that the Red Hood is back and you are not even sure if it is Jason Todd or not. I think that Grant has helped to redefine Batman and Robin and has taken what is DC’s best property and made it new again without diminishing what has come before.
Overall Grade A – It was an excellent book that hit on all cylinders and really pulled off an unbelievable task of replacing Bruce and Tim with Dick and Damian and making them Batman and Robin. Great book, great story.