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Batman and Robin, Vol. 2: Batman vs. Robin

Review

Batman and Robin, Vol. 2: Batman vs. Robin

Written by Grant Morrison and Illustrated by Andy Clark and Cameron Stewart

Grant Morrison is a man who knows how to tell a complex story: weaving narrative threads through multiple titles and characters at once, plumbing the most obscure depths of comics to tie everything together in the least expected ways possible, and usually, doing it all with an intelligent panache that actually holds together through the unique magic of comic logic. Sometimes, Morrison’s stories get away from him and collapse into incomprehensible knots. So far, Batman & Robin is holding together excellently.

It’s hard to find a good Batman story, so it’s almost disconcerting that one of the better Batman stories I’ve read doesn’t even include Batman in the classic sense. At this point in the DC Comics universe, Batman has been sent back in time by Darkseid and is fighting his way back to the present as only a super-resourceful Bruce Wayne can—but all of those little details are actually happening in other comic titles. Within the pages of Batman vs. Robin, we witness the repercussions of Wayne’s historical manipulations as he pushes around the retroactive continuity of Batman. We also have to adjust to a heroic, bright Batman and a grim, morose Robin. It’s a shift in the usual paradigm that results in a great read, even if it spits in the face of every Batman purist impulse I have. In a curious way, this Batman bears many pleasant similarities to Silver Age Batman, before things turned grim and gritty in Gotham City.
The conclusion is also a head-spinner, for what it’s worth, and I’m hoping that Morrison can make sense of it as the story moves along.

Batman & Robin is also a good series of comics to acclimate oneself to the fact that Batman has a son (which also raises the hackles of Batman purism), as Damian Wayne functions as a perfect pseudo-Batman, being a product of the Batman’s own genetics, as well as the genes of one of his greatest enemies. When approaching any Morrison-penned Batman story, it’s good to have a guide to obscure DC Comics characters handy, otherwise you may end up a little lost. Imperfect Batman clones created by long-forgotten Jack Kirby characters may require a bit of an explanation.

The art throughout is excellent, with DC putting some of their top talent on such a vital story thread. While I miss the amazing art of Frank Quitely, some of these pages do a fair impression of Quitely’s poised, unusual style, while others are fairly standard comic book pages.

DC Comics usually keeps it clean, so concerned collection developers don’t have to worry about anything beyond general comic violence, and a young Robin taking a few punches. If you don’t have the first volume already, they’re worth picking up together, as this is a fairly important turning point in Batman’s long history, and it’s a fun read as well.

Reviewed by Collin David on July 12, 2012

Batman and Robin, Vol. 2: Batman vs. Robin
Written by Grant Morrison and Illustrated by Andy Clark and Cameron Stewart

  • Publication Date: November 9, 2010
  • Genres: Graphic Novel, Superhero
  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • ISBN-10: 140122833X
  • ISBN-13: 9781401228330