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.
Writer: Grant Morrison
Art: Frank Quitely
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Batman is dragging the flaming man (seriously, this guy could put Ghost Rider to shame) alongside his new quad-bike. Batman warns him that he isn’t sure if he can hold him up for much longer. Batman asks him again if he’s ready to talk. After a few flying jumps the flaming man says he’ll talk. Gordon is angry about what Batman did, asking him “Who the hell are you?” to which Batman replies “I’m Batman” he then drives off. (I’d say it’s about right here that I was finally sold on Dick as Batman
Robin wakes up, threatening to break someone’s neck as he sees Pyg just about to perform a surgery. Pyg stops and starts rambling about gods. Pyg turns on some Disco music (with a hot pink iPod no less) he rambles on, showing us all he’s crazy as can be. By the end of Pyg’s rambling monologue, just as he’s ready to operate on Robin, Robin breaks the binds and starts beating up the dolls and Pyg.
Batman stops one of the bomb carrying dolls around town. Batman realizes that the dolls don’t have bombs. In fact, the dolls have germs that they are trying to infect Gotham with. Batman pulls up his cape to avoid being sneezed on as the dolls are trying to spread their germs.
We cut back to Robin grabbing the girl that Pyg was about to operate on. The two try to make an escape as Pyg and the dolls follow them. As Robin and Pyg fall from a roller coaster car the dolls grab the girl.
The roller coaster car flies out of the building and crashes outside. Pyg is able to knock Robin back with a stick that is on fire. Just as Pyg about to smash open Robin’s skull Batman arrives and knocks Pyg down.
Pyg tries to run but runs right into a wall (smartest villain ever) as Batman corners him. Pyg freaks out and starts screaming in fear. Batman and Robin take care of the rest of the doll people. Robin is soon in mild shock that Batman just saved his life.
Robin looks for the girl as the tent catches fire but no one alive is in there. Gordon and the police arrive on the scene. Batman runs down to Gordon the origin of Pyg. That Pyg was a small time circus ringer who discovered a new drug that is incredibly addictive.
Pyg was planning to use the drug to hold the city for ransom. Gordon thanks Batman. Batman tosses Gordon the antidote to the drug that was going to be spread like a flu virus around Gotham.
We cut to Pyg locked up in his cell. Pyg snickers to himself later and says that he has crept into Gotham and soon it will all be like him.
Later in the Batmobile, Robin says that it’s going to be Robin and Batman from now on. Batman sarcastically mentions that should catch. The Dynamic Duo finally find the secret hideout of Le Bossu. (that ugly mofo we all loved so much from Batman R.I.P.) Batman mentions that this time it’s personal.
We cut to inside of Le Bossu’s hideout. Bossu is torturing a cop. Bossu mentions that Batman and Robin are dead. Suddenly, Batman and Robin break in through the window. (awesome only begins to describe this image.)
We shift to Alfred in the Batbunker. Alfred looks at pictures of Damian and Dick when they where younger. We see a shadowy figure watching Alfred from a Gargoyle outside the building.
We cut to the police arriving at the scene where the girl that Robin tried to save is killing one of Pyg’s dolls. The girl attacks the police. Suddenly, the police are shot and killed. We see the Red Hood appear on the scene. The Red Hood says that he is looking for a partner. Red Hood says that the girl can trust him. End of issue.
The Good: Morrison definitely won me back this time around with Batman and Robin #3. Morrison turned 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 is 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. Damien seemed shocked that he was saved by Dick and no longer seemed to have doubts on working with Dick. 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 that this guy is absolutely nuts. I can’t tell if half of Pyg’s babbling was interesting and important or if half of it was nonsense that Morrison wrote down while 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. It was simply to 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 in this issue. 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 hands. The 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. Dick has got to fight hard and take them down fast so there’s no time for stalking the shadows and being careful. Dick has got to be brutal if he wants to stay alive. 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 Damien’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. Damien works well with Batman but also can handle things on is own. It is 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. It is not an amazing twist and it is 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. That is exactly how you want to start a new dynamic duo out.
Morrison was smart to give them something major to conquer. Once they conquered it they were able to earn 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.
A quick mention about Pyg’s dolls. I find the dolls 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.
While I’ve never been a big fan of Quitely’s art I have been enjoying his work on Batman and Robin. I still feel that Quitely has some weird facial moments. And I also think that Quitely does overdo it sometimes with detail, thereby making some people look like they are made out of beanbags. Having said that, Quitely’s work on Batman and Robin has been very impressive. This is probably Quitely’s best work I have seen yet.
Now for the cliff-hanger with Red Hood. I have to say that even though I saw this ending coming, Morrison did do a good job of ending this issue off with a cool show of how bad-ass Red Hood is. This ending certainly made me excited for next month’s issue.
Morrison finally won me over with this series and made it a permanent stay on my 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.
The Bad: My biggest complaint for this story is Pyg. While as I mentioned that 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 or exciting villain just yet. While I’m not looking for the next Joker, it is 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! Pyg really was a contained villain this issue. I was disappointed that he didn’t really get to go wild. Hopefully, it will happen another time.
I can’t deny that I’ve never liked Quitely’s art and this story arc didn’t make me a fan. As I mentioned, Quitely’s art has some brilliant and good moments, but he still overdoes it from time to time with the weird detail. Sometimes to the point where the art almost looks inhuman. While Quitely’s art doesn’t have any major glares he still has his awkward moments with the heavy line work.
While I was happy that Morrison finally updated us on the Le Bossu moment it did feel random and out of nowhere at this point in the story. I wonder if Morrison should have opened issue #4 with this scene instead of taking it onto the end of this issue.
Overall: Batman and Robin is finally reaching the potential this series had from day one. 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 two issues as well as this issue and get ready 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.