Images & Words – Batman and Robin #10

Batman Robin 10
[images & words is the comic book pick-of-the-week at OL. equal parts review and diatribe, the post highlights the most memorable/infuriating/entertaining book released that wednesday]

Bruce Wayne has been dead for about a year now. During this time, Grant Morrison has unfurled one of the most interesting imaginings of the Batman mythology in years, letting Dick Grayson rock the cowl and having Damian fulfill role of Robin. It’s been refreshing to see typically static characters further developed, pushed into areas that drives some fanboys into genuine nerd rage. Yeah, it’s been great to see fans breaking down, screaming, “But…but, Bruce is Batman, not Richard…Because…that’s how it’s been…and…well, see…you CAN’T CHANGE THE STORY! BECAUSE I’VE NEVER SQUEEZED A TITTY! AND A RESPECT FOR SIXTY YEARS OF CONTINUITY IS THE ONLY THING KEEPING A BULLET FROM MY BRAIN!!!

One might be inclined think that a comic whose cover advertises “The Return of Bruce Wayne Begins Here!” would really cheese me off. But Batman and Robin #10, the comic touting just that, is actually quite enjoyable. The book is a well put together balancing act, laying an early foundation for the return of the original Caped Crusader while still playing with the currently assembled cast. Since superheroes never manage to stay dead for long, the best one can hope for is a reanimation that still progresses the mythos.

With Batman and Robin #10, Morrison runs the characters through the unavoidable emotional gamut that comes with bringing loved ones back from the dead. On one hand, Dick is eager to snatch Bruce Wayne out of the abyss, snacking on every morsel of a lead he finds in his investigations. After all, Wayne is the guy that saved his life, offering him a home and a purpose after his parents got capped.

On the other hand, Damian is a bit more hesitant to welcome his father back to the land of the living. But when you look at it from his perspective, the reservations make sense. First of all, Damian never really had a great relationship with his father. Moreover, if Bruce Wayne were to reassume the Batman responsibilities, Damian would be SOL; Dick Grayson can go back to being Nightwing, but the younger Wayne has nothing to fall back on. He can’t go even go back to his crimelord mama, as he had to defy her to even keep his job as Robin.

When it’s not ruminating about feelings, Batman and Robin #10 has got some sick, kooky-ass comic book shit to keep you flipping pages. There are newly discovered secret passages in Wayne Manor. There are goofy bad guys, showing up just a second too late to get Batman’s mysterious ally. Oh, there are some strong hints (I smell red herring) that aforementioned ally is actually the already-returned Bruce Wayne. Also, time travel is involved in one way or another. I think.

The issue is peniclled by Andy Clarke and inked by Scott Hanna, whose combined efforts come across as an imitation of Frank Quitely. Which is fine, really, since Quitely started this series and is one of my favorite current artists. Clarke and Hanna are pretty much par for the Batman and Robin course, never particularly wowing me but certainly not disappointing me either. Again, I’d love to see Frank Quitely do every issue of the series, but I prefer this pair to former pencillers like Philip Tan and Cameron Stewart.

With its vibrant colors and bubbly approach to a morbid topic, Batman and Robin #10 is damn fun. Yes, I used the three-letter word that is to be avoided at all costs, but that’s what pops up when I think of this comic book. Grant Morrison is proving, once again, that comic books don’t have to be gritty, macabre spectacles in order to be entertaining.

Sometimes the light hearted approach is best.