I just finished Batman and Robin, volume 1, and I’m thrilled. It’s an excellent follow-up to the seemingly irrevocable events following Final Crisis and Batman RIP. In the wake of Bruce Wayne‘s disappearance, Gotham is disintegrating, leaving a vacuum that some will try to fill or exploit. The first thing that I notice is the artwork, which reminds me a bit of The Dark Knight Strikes Again at times, though not nearly as trippy.
Pyg (as in Pygmalion) is introduced here, a villain almost as terrifying as The Joker can be. He seeks perfection in his creations, though the use of terrifying masks grafted onto the faces of his victims. He’s a horrifying character, though I’d like him to have been developed more.
However, this isn’t about him as much as Damien and Dick’s first week on the job after Batman’s apparent death. I love their relationship; they need to build trust with each other. Damien, Bruce Wayne/Batman‘s son, hasn’t been around all that long, and after having been raised by assassins and criminals throughout his short life, he is a little headstrong and does not hole with the rules. He sometimes listed to Bruce, but Dick Grayson discovers that he is not Bruce Wayne.
Dick cannot replace Batman, but he must carry on his legacy. He’ll do this, not as an impersonation, but as a performance of Batman (as Alfred puts in, in a wonderful allusion to Hamlet, complete with the cowl as Yorick’s skull).
In addition to a rash of supervillains infiltrating Gotham, as she seems ripe for the plucking, the Red Hood reappears–in a more classic costume. His new motto is, “Let the punishment fit the crime!” He’s all about murdering baddies, as he fights against all Bruce Wayne taught him, while still trying to live within some set code of ethics. I thought that this, while intense, was not as great as his unexpected reveal in Under the Hood, and I’m a little bummed to think that just a tormented character like Jason Todd might simply be relegated to the Rogues Gallery. However, I trust Grant Morrison.
I really enjoyed the whole thing, and I look forward eagerly to the continuation of this journey.