Pick of the Week

Pick of the Week – 03.10.2010 – Batman and Robin #10

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Avg Rating: 4.6
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 24.4%
 
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Written by GRANT MORRISON
Art by ANDY CLARKE and SCOTT HANNA
Cover by FRANK QUITELY
Variant Cover by ANDY CLARKE

Size: 32 pages
Price: 2.99

The first 3 pages of Batman and Robin #10 made me smile a great big smile.  Of course Damian would go to Wayne Enterprises and talk to the board like they were idiots.  And of course he would actually be right.  The very fact that Grant Morrison managed to find that detail and highlight it makes this a special book in a special run.  Yes, it's silly, and in the real world, it wouldn't happen, but that's sort of the point.  This isn't the real world, and Morrison has dialed back the reality we've become to accustomed to, and loosend things up just enough that, if we manage to forget our knee-jerk hang-ups, and just realize how much fun this can all be, we're going to really enjoy these comics.


We're 10 issues into Batman and Robin and the one thing that was my favorite aspect from the earlier issues is still front and center.  The relationship between Damian and Dick is endlessly fascinating, and what's more, it has evolved.  The snobby, uppity Damian is still snobby and uppity, but he can no longer hide his grudging respect for Dick.  The emotional arc of the Damian's growth peaked when he came to a revelation about the return of Bruce.  He said, "If my father returns, we can't be Batman and Robin anymore, can we?" and he said it with a melancholy and sadness.  He's disobeyed his mother, and gone against her to work with Dick and Afred, and it's cost him.  Dick's easy attitude with Damian, and his unwillingness to let Damian get under his skin have worked perfectly, in contrast to Damian's relationship with Tim Drake.  By this, the tenth issue, Damian is showing more respect and deference to Dick than he's shown anyone in his entire history, and for some reason, it feels really good to reveal a hint of his worth and value as a character, rather than just a one note brat.  Every snippet of conversation between the two title characters, even if only temporarily in those roles, is pure gold.  Of course, that makes Damian's mother's actions all the more painful. 

At the same time, Morrison is laying out the clues to the return of Bruce Wayne, comprising a complicated, time-spanning plan Bruce has been enacting for centuries, since he's trapped in the past.  There's a secret history to the Wayne family, and hidden passages in Wayne Manor, and mysteries to be uncovered.  It feels like classic Batman detective work, and it's a puzzle I'm anxious to solve.  A series of portraits of eerily similar looking Wayne male anscestors holds a number of clues, and Bruce has trusted Dick to work them out, just like he taught him.  What is that book about?!

Concurrently, a bunch of other characters are descending on Wayne Manor, and even though I'm not really sure who Oberon Sexton, the Gravedigger is, you've got to admit, he's got a hell of a moniker.

Filling in the ever rotating pencil chores is Andy Clarke. I'm not terribly familiar with his work, and while it's clear he's no Frank Quitely, his work fits, and fits well.  The pages look sort of like a combination of Quitely and Kevin O'Neill, and Clarke, a 2000 A.D. artist, out of all the artists so far, has a visual style that's most consistent with what was set up in the first three nearly legendary issues of this run.  There's a thin, scratchy line throughout the pages, and it makes things feel just ever so vintage.  The page layouts aren't terribly dynamic, but they get the job done, and he did a wonderful job on Damian's body language throughout the issue, which was the best thing he could do for this story.

Grant Morrison continues to delight me with this series. I didn't enjoy his Batman run all that much, but what I find so impressive is that, in this title, it's a different book, and a different style of writing.  Other than the consistent characterizations, this might as well be a different writer.  I don't miss Bruce Wayne at all, but at the same time, I'm very interested in how they're going to bring him back, and what's going to happen after that.  Other than Detective Comics, which is unrelated, I forget that there even are other Batman titles, but if they matter to this story, you'd never know it, because this run is all inclusive thus far.  It feels like my idea of how comics used to feel, whether there's any truth to that notion or not, or it's just a nostalgic feeling of my own creation, it doesn't matter, because these comics are successful, and more than anything, they're entertaining in a way that Batman comics haven't been in a long time.

Josh Flanagan
"grudging respect for Dick" wasn't intentional
josh@ifanboy.com

Comments

  1. I can’t wait to read this issue. Batman and Robin has become my one of my favorite books out right nolw.

  2. Oh jeez, I was just guessing on twitter like half assed…..I called it before you posted it up!

    It was my pick as well for all the things you said. I think Clarke is a damn good artist. I know you praised him and all but if I can add more to it…..I mean my god there is such a great amount of detail in every panel. If there is one artist that makes everyone look unique and have different facial structures; then Clarke is the man I want.

    Then you have this whole thing with the ‘Secret’ Wayne Family History. If Morrison is telling us that practically everyone in Wayne’s past has been Bruce…..That is a total mind fuck right there.

  3. It was nice to see some actual detective work from the worlds greatest detective. Great review, could’nt agree more.

  4. This was the issue that was gonig to decide if I drop the book or not, sicne I didn’t care much for the past arc and I wasn’t a large fan of the 2nd arc, but that was mostly due to the art. But Morrison’s is superb for this book, mostly because Damian’s and Dick’s relationship is great to read. Dammit Grant, I cannot quit you!

  5. Boosh

  6. I know who Oberon Sexton is…    Bruce Wayne!

  7. DUN-DUN-DUN!!!

  8. @GLNancy: Actually…..I’ve been thinking that as well. It kinda makes sense.

  9. I’m guessing Alan Wayne is going to be important

  10. I’m going to the store in about fifteen minutes.

    Should I pick this issue up even though I was hardcover waiting and haven’t read any of the run so far?

  11. @CountAbyss The Dominoe pieces are falling into place, now i have to go back and read all of Batman and Robin and scrutinize it.

  12. The bizare detecteve aspects of Grant Morrison’s Batman stories are without a doubt the best thing about his run, and this issue played heavily toward that type of story. I loved this issue, and it’s fun to see Dick try and crack the mystery of Bruce Wayne using the incredibly bizare logic that are a factor of the best Batman detective stories.

     

    As for Damian, I think my love for his character evolved similarly to yours. At first, I thought he was the biggest obnoxious and pompous dick in the world. After awhile, though, I began to love the fact that he was this way, and that trait became less of a negative thing and was actually looking forward to him being obnoxious and dickish. He’s simply a character you love to hate!

  13. I was thinking today, "This is the tenth issue I’ve read of Grant Morrison’s Batman. The tenth consecutive issue." Nothing about my history with this author suggested that I would make it this far; he did produce the only "comic" I’ve ever torn up and thrown away.

    I’ve really enjoyed the extent to which this book is about relationships. Damian and Dick. Dick and Bruce. Damian and Alfred. Dick and the Red Hood. No matter which direction it heads into, it is grounded in its characters. It’s just sort of nice to know that Morrison has this in him.

  14. The best comic I read this week was The Sword #22 because I was unable to get it last week. Other than that this was my POTW. The best scene in the issue was definitely the bonding scene between Damian and Dick.  What is up with Damian? I assume he has a mind control device in his head or was hypnotized.

  15. Yeah, this was an INCREDIBLE issue. As a fan of the Morrison Batman run almost to an obsessive extent, this was one of the very best issues. The clues I’ve been following just explode in so many exciting ways with this issue. The art was some of the best I’ve seen in a long while. It fits the detective atmosphere perfectly.

  16. @Jimski: out of curiosity what was the issue…was it "The Filth"?

  17. @flapjaxx mos def, me too!!!

  18. @Patman2: it was an issue of whatever Bat-book Morrison wrote before this one. It was shaped like a comic book, but on the inside it was a deadly dull magazine article with a couple of illustrations. "Inside the covers, use sequential art to tell a story" is literally the absolute least I should be able to expect from a comic book. "When I buy you, be a comic on the inside."

  19. My heart wanted to give Batgirl the pick, since I think I’ve given it POTW for the past 4 or 5 issues, but in the end I just had to go with this issue.  It’s like The Wayne Code.

  20. @Jimski: I think I know what issue your talking about. Did it focus on the joker and written majorily in verse?

  21. @Jimski

    I actually liked that issue.  Then again I had bought 20 issues of his Batman run in issues and I  read it and then moved right on to normal comics.

  22. @Jimski: I thought that was a good experiment. But I can definitely see why the majority of people definitely hated it.

  23. Okay, if you guys want to talk about BATMAN #663 you can do it here.

    Otherwise, continue discussing BATMAN AND ROBIN #10.

  24. this whole series has been great.  Phillip Tan’s art doesnt make me sick unlike some people so i actually liked the Red Hood story even though it was the weakest.  this issue brought it the series back to the quality of the first 3 issues.

  25. This was my "POTW" too–some of the art was sketchy at parts (did homeboy really give Talia a double-chin?), but the story and character work more than made up for it. 

  26. @DarkKnightJared: yes, homebody did. But besides that, the issue was great

  27. ha ha. Conor knipped that in the bud.

    RE: Grant Morrison. One of my all time favourite writers. I kind of put him up there with Alan Moore when it comes to the enjoyable re-read of comic series. However, as i get older, i can definately see an increasely large difference.

    Just last night, i was reading the Invisibles: Counting to None Trade. There was some fond memories in there. Micheal Lark actually drew a few pages in the book. It will blow your mind how much he has changed

    @Jimski:  i just listened to the murmur podcast – cheer up, dude, jeez

  28. Just picked this up again on a lark. Loved it. Clarke is a cross-hatching maniac — really liked his art. Funny because I originally dropped this book because Quitely left. 

  29. If you enjoyed Clarke’s work on this issue, his work is featured in the first R.E.B.E.L.S trade. 
  30. This was my pick of the week as well.  I like the way they are using Damian.  It seems fitting.

    @ThomasKaters – I surely will. 

  31. Sorry.  Forgot to finish that thought.

    @ThomasKaters – I surely will check REBELS out. 

  32. I also did not mean to type that like I was angry. Now that I said that, I am sure this message will seem angry.

  33. Clarke’s art meshed nicely with the Stewart art from the previous arc… a nice antecedent.

  34. I had a hard time telling if that ws Damian in the board room. I thought it was Dick.

  35. Everybody should get the first trade of R.E.B.E.L.S. A gorgeous book with a great sci-fi team up book. Not as good as GLC…..but I think it can be if it can keep this pace up.

  36. Anyone know if they’re doing the rotating artist format (ala Superman/Batman)? I think I like that since this is definitly a book that explores a Batman interpretation. Quietly is awesome with Morrison, but exploration and/or world building of a much established character, Grayson or Wayne, has a lot of richness and storytelling texture.

     POTW.

  37. This issue is definitely in the running for POTW for me, as well (in good company with Criminal and Unwritten). Overall, the Batman & Robin series has been really enjoyable and hasn’t had many of the storytelling/creative choice issues I’ve had problems with in G-Mo’s recent work. In this specific instance, he really gets into the narrative flow. I wonder if it’s perhaps because he’s starting up a grand mystery, complete with a gallery of enigmatic portraits, trap doors, and a butler with a candelabra. This is definitely my favorite issue since the first arc. 🙂

    Also, as Josh notes, Morrison writes a fantastic Damian — right down to the details. I don’t have the issue in front of me, but there’s a line of dialogue in that first scene where he basically lays out his findings, explaining that he’s the only one "mean" enough to say it. Which is so perfect, I had to laugh. In one line, Damian is at once the brilliant mind AND the 10-yr-old boy.

  38. The more I read this the more I think I don’t want bruce wayne to come back quite yet. Like Josh said there’s a great relationship between Dick and Damian and Morrison really captures some great emotional moments in this issue.

  39. Y’know, I was about to drop this book before reading this issue… and now I’m staying on it. I can’t exactly explain what it was about this issue that did it for me (I’m gonna chalk it up to the mystery element of it), but I just loved every bit of this issue

  40. I didn’t buy this b/c I was going to drop it with the end of the Batwoman arc, but apparently this was a mistake.  I’ll pick it up today.

    It’s gonna be hard to beat the conclusion to that Criminal story, for me, though.  Yowza. 

  41. Also my pick of the week…just good batman comics!

  42. @ohcaroline – Yep, Criminal was GREAT. It was definitely neck and neck with B&R, but this issue brimmed with potential and made me grin, so it gets my vote.

  43. Really a great issue, and my POTW as well.  I really disliked where this book was a couple of issues ago, and I feel like it’s now back on track, focusing on the characters to really develop them and use them effectively.

  44. Wow!  That was incredible.  This is the embodiment of Grant Morrison awesomeness.  The concepts and ideas planted in this issue are spectacular.  So excited for what’s to come.

  45. Oh, wow, that was a great issue.  I also read ‘Red Robin’ this week, and among the good things I can say is that I haven’t been keeping up with these titles consistently, but I’m having no trouble following the overall story. 

  46. I think you nailed it when you say that this feels like a diferent writing style.

    Morrison is a talented creator. But let’s face facts- his Batman run was garbage.  It was all the worst product that comes from Morrison – maybe with some LSD it would have been better but otherwise it was convoluted- messy- and well at times- a snooze because nothing ever made sense enough to keep you going to the next "trip"– Batmite?! 

    This is different – it plots – it pays off- and it offers surprises and character insights.

    What we love about comics. 

  47. really, really looking forward to it !

  48. Isn’t Damian supposed to be like 10? Why does he talk like he’s a grown adult? That whole boardroom spiel was too much.

  49. Seriously? It’s a comic book. He’s the grandson of the immortal R’as Al Ghul. He’s supposed to be gifted. That’s what makes it funny.  What would be the point of a story about a completely regular 10 year old boy? Read the first paragraph I wrote up there, and if you can’t get behind it, this probably isn’t the book for you.

  50. Mentioning Hitler in an argument immediately ends it. Saying it’s a comic book is probably right up there;) I liked the rest of the comic btw.

  51. Picked this up based on the positive reviews and glad I did, it is the first real DC book I’ve gotten that isn’t Vertigo or set outside current continuety. I’m pleased I chose this book to make the jump.

    Maybe someone could explain to my why jedward showed up in it though?

    http://www.inthenews.co.uk/news/entertainment/tv/louis-walsh-to-manage-x-factor-twins-jedward-$1345102.htm

  52. T’was a damn fine comic book and an equally good review.

  53. I liked Morrison had a board member speak up about how ridiculous the situation was. I imagine that type of discussion happens a lot with Wayne.

  54. JUst read this and it soes make for a great pick.  What stood out for me was the mystery.  I loved watching the dynamic duo actually investigate this, with Alfie’s help.  It feels like the pieces will fit together and make for a satisfying whole, and I love the idea of all these descendants actually being Bruce himself.  Now that’s comics!

  55. Is it possible to select a pick of the week that has such a small percentage that it doesn’t even register as a percentage at all even though a user (me) picked it as pick of the week?

    Like something less than .001 of the users?

    I want the first hardcover for this book to be out already.

  56. Ok this is random but what does  >Tk< mean in comic book, sometimes damian makes that sound..

  57. Great week of comics with no less than 4 very strong contenders for pick of the week: The Unwritten, Batman and Robin, Ultimate Spider-Man and Secret Six were all superb. I went for Secret Six as my pick of the week but the other 3 are just as worthy too. 

  58. >Tk< is like a non-verbal gutteral sound, like a click, or whatever you make it out to be really.

  59. @josh thanks i was thinking it was Damien sucking his teeth. It amused me to think of it that way. 

  60. Someone pointed out once that Morrison has given verbal ticks to almost all the Gotham characters he writes.

  61. @ericmci: That Batman run you call garbage actually happens to be the run (other than HUSH) that got me back into reading Batman, and comics in general.  Next you’re gonna tell me Brubakers Batman run was GOOD, right?!

    But anyway, I haven’t read a bad issue of Batman & Robin yet.  I even enjoyed the second arc just as much as everything else.  This is my favorite book out there right now.  Favorite character, favorite writer, great art.  I can’t get enough of it, it’s like crack…

  62. Just got my copy from dcbs, and I loved it. I thought that the book lost some steam after the first arc, but this issue was superb, best single issue since the very first arc.

     Gotta love the gravedigger character…so many possibilities on who this guy could be!

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