It’s lonely out there. While every Bat-fan from coast to coast is sitting in front of their gaming console, playing and chatting about the coolest action game of all time; Batman: Arkham Asylum, I’m getting my Batman fix old school….reading comics. I may not know the difference between an Xbox and a PS3, but I can recognize good storytelling and great art. B&R #3 continues its run as the best Bat-book in print, if not the best comic book period. I haven’t been able to find anyone who is willing to pry themselves away from the video game and discuss the comics this week, so you will have to take my word for it.
Frank Quitely continues to deliver graphic art that is colorful, dramatic and most of all fun! Sadly, this is his last issue for a while, but he will carry on doing covers. It will be interesting to see how the book changes with Philip Tan helming the art. Morrison and Quitely have such cohesive chemistry, I wonder if Grant will alter his writing style to suit Tan. Quitely is superb at conveying emotion and directing the action without the need for narration. This has allowed Morrison to employ a minimalistic approach as compared to his writing in RIP. Hopefully this won't change. One of the remarkable aspects of this title so far has been the chemistry between Dick and Damian that the other Batman Reborn titles have not been able to capture. Look at the great scene on page 11 of Batman and Robin taking out Pyg and then cementing their partnership. The writing is simple and the art so magnificent, it masterfully creates an emotional moment that grows the depth and identity of the new Dynamic Duo. I wonder if Morrison and Quitely see themselves in that same scene?
Believe it or not I actually have a criticism of the art. I found the depth of scale between the characters to be a bit off; in particular the scene where Robin is escaping his binds. His size compared to the henchman is inconsistent. I probably would never have noticed if the art wasn't otherwise breathtaking.
Morrison's defining of all his characters continues to be brilliant. I wish the other Bat-writers would read this book, if only for consistency sake. Dick isn't smiling all the time or playing for the cameras, he is controlled and calculating. He has taken his own personality and enhanced it with some "Batman". The first scene of Dick getting his Circus of Strange stooge to talk and then securing his role with Commissioner Gordon is nothing but classic Batman, yet purely Dick Grayson. It seems simple, but it is the author's brilliant technique that makes it so.
Morrison even injected some humor to the story, albeit sick in tone. The strip scene with Pyg and Robin is hilariously twisted. I actually turned my head away in both disgust and laughter.
I also appreciate the little detailed consistencies through out the three issues. For example, the splash page of Batman and Robin near the end of book. Robin always takes the lead when they crash a scene. I'm sure this is reluctant on Dick's part, but the compromise is as much a part of his unique personality as the impetuousness is part of Damian's.
As always, the last pages lead us into the drama that is to come. Quitely gives us a wonderfully cinematic scene of what is probably Red Hood watching Alfred reminisce over a family photograph. With almost no movement he creates suspenseful anticipation for the next arc. Equally as masterful, Grant Morrison gives us Scarlet's motivation for joining Red Hood and forming the dastardly duo that want to erase Gotham's Caped Crusaders once and for all. I can't wait for issue #4.
I freely admit that I am envious of all the Bat-fans sharing their enthusiasm for Arkham Asylum this week. If I wasn't so stuck in my ways I would probably buy the game and like it. But I am who I am, old school and not about to change. Thanks to Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely for creating a series that is fun, smart and exciting. I can't think of anything more old school than that!
Batman and Robin #3:
Reviewed by Tiggerbrown