The much anticipated delayed issue number seven of Batman and Robin has finally arrived. The elusive writing talents of Grant Morrison continue to pack the panels with action-packed entertainment. However, the issue also marks the first of three issues done by the brilliant Cameron Stewart. Issue number seven keeps Batman and Robin as the best bat title, but does falter in some aspects.
Issue number seven returns the series to the quirky and ridiculous nature of the first story arc. Morrison returns to writing fun and action-packed panels that keep the reader at the edge of their seat. Cameron Stewart isn’t Frank Quietly, but Stewart is an improvement of Philip Tan. Issue number seven is by far one of the strongest issues of the series thus far.
The basic plot of issue seven is Dick is attempting to resurrect who he thinks is in the Batman suit, Bruce Wayne, by using a Lazarus Pit. The issue opens were number six left us; Dick is removing the corpse of someone in a Batman suit. I say someone because while most are saying that this is Bruce Wayne, I am not quite ready to make that statement yet. We then cut quickly to England where Dick and Squire are racing across England to rescue civilians on a wired subway train. Dick and Squire successfully prevent the criminal known as Eddie English from completing his plan. English is known as “The Pearly Prince”, the son of “The Pearly King of Crime”. Dick heads over to the prison to meet with the Pearly King. During the discussion, we learn that a game of cards was played and Eddie won a mine from King Coal that contained a Lazarus Pit. As Dick and Squire are leaving the prison, we learn that The Knight is already down in the mine helping Dick because as we know, Damian is currently unavailable. We then see Damian is undergoing surgery at the hands of Talia’s best medical assets. Alfred has come to watch the procedure and shows concern for Damian. Talia assures Alfred of his safety on his way back to Gotham. Talia also asks Alfred if he truly believes Bruce Wayne is dead, in which he explains that he saw the body and the identity has been verified by several people. We then cut to Dick and Squire making their way into the abandoned mines that Dick and the Pearly King discussed earlier. Upon entering the mines, they are attacked by some of King Coal’s men, with the aid of The Knight; the three of them make quick work of the henchmen. After Dick and Cyril greet each other, Dick learns what exactly is in the mine, a lost Lazarus Pit. The three discover a coffin that the henchmen were carrying. The coffin explodes and appears Batwoman. She quickly reacts and begins to question Dick while attacking him. Batwoman demands to know who is being resurrected, in which Dick explains Batman, which confuses Batwoman. Dick explains to her that he is the new Batman and the original Batman died saving the world, however Dick does not reveal his identity to Kate. The four heroes enter the room that contains the Lazarus Pit and we learn that Dick has already had the body wearing the bat suit put into the Lazarus Pit. The issue ends with the hand of the body arising from the pit.
Now aside from one editorial mistake, I found this issue to be a rather fun and entertaining ride that kept me compelled. I thought Morrison did a terrific job to returning to his original light-hearted tone that worked so well during the first story arc. My one problem with this issue is that the pacing is rather erratic and the story can be a bit confusing at first. The issue opens with Dick carrying the dead body of someone in the Batman costume, and then immediately we see Dick racing across England. What? I guess I would have liked some sort of plot point that explained Dick’s movement from point A to point B. However, Morrison returned the title to its original roots and I am excited to read more.
When I first learned that Cameron Stewart was going to be working on this title I thought, wow, he is a terrific artist but he is not someone I would think of working on a Batman book. However, Stewart is an excellent storyteller and he does not disappoint in issue seven. Stewart’s clean and expressive line works perfectly with Morrison’s style. Stewart brings this raw energy that was lacking during the Philip Tan issues. I also feel like he is the perfect artist to be working on this current story arc, that appears is going to be quite silly and action-packed. I look forward to see the next two issues he will be working on.
Overall, this issue is by no means perfect. The pacing is so fast that I feel some key details were left out and I found myself a bit confused at times. However, this confusion did not detract me from the story. I felt the artwork lent itself perfectly to the storyline. This title continues to remain at the top of the stack for me and I look forward to issue number eight.
Batman and Robin #7:
Reviewed by Zfactor