Friday, May 21, 2010

Robin stands with man and shovel; Batman and Robin fight – each other!

Batman and Robin #12, by Grant Morrison and Andy Clarke
Batman and Robin #11, by Grant Morrison, Andy Clarke, and Scott Hanna

I read #12 without realising that I had missed an issue. It says a lot for how confusing Grant Morrison stuff is generally that the general "what the fuck is going on here?" feeling was no worse than usual. Anyway, over the two issues, the current Batman and the current Robin continue trying to investigate the secrets of the Wayne Family's past, as a way of tracking down the apparently still alive Bruce Wayne. In these efforts they are aided by the mysterious Mr Sexton, while separately an equally mysterious maniac calling himself El Penitente is cutting a bloody swathe through the Gotham underworld. But then, oh noes – Robin's crazy mother has one of her bozo allies control the boy wonder Wii-style and make him attack the Batman.

The stuff with Robin and his mother are maybe the best thing here. Morrison and Clarke have managed to completely strip Robin of any trace of campness and turn him instead into a slightly creepy child of unbound will. Talia Al-Ghul's motives are less clear, but she also genuinely scary and not the cartoon sexy oriental lady villain of yore.

For all that this is all great, the OMG OMG surprise twist ending at the end of #12 would maybe be a bit more thrill-powered if it was not the same surprise twist ending Morrison used in New X-Men. Oh well, life is hard.

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