Review by: Nick Fovargue

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Avg Rating: 4.2
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Variant cover by FRAZER IRVING

Size: 32 pages
Price: 2.99

If anyone is looking for a convincing reason why DC needs a recap page, I give you Grant Morrsion. There is a lot of brilliant stuff going on here but as someone who jumped on Morrsion’s Batman with Batman and Robin #1 I feel more than a little left behind. I have come to expect with Morrison’s work I am going to spend part of the time confused but lately Batman and Robin has been going a bit farther than the usual challenges that come with his storytelling approach.

Increasingly as the series has gone on Morrison has been bringing back in elements from earlier in his Batman run (Final Crisis, RIP and earlier) without doing much of anything to stop and explain who these people are and what these elements mean for those of us who are new readers. It is very frustrating and I have almost dropped the title several times despite how good it is, simply because it seems clear Morrison can’t be bothered to take a little time, a page here and a page there, to explain just what the heck is going on. I’m at the point where I either need to go back and read everything from the begining (at a not small cost) or just give up on this book and its follow up, Batman Inc.

A few comments on the art. I am not all that familiar with Frazer Irving’s work but I know he definitely has a following. I can see why, I really like the style he is using and his Joker is great, he just looks creepy and insane. Still his action scenes here fall more than a little flat for me and there are a couple of times where the storytelling in his panels seemed off. In particular, in the confrontation between Joker and Robin I couldn’t tell who was hitting who at one point and even ended up drawing the wrong conclusion until Robin actually says that he was hit and cutt

And to end off, I have to ask, is it just me or is Dick spending a lot of time recently having been bonked on the head and knocked unconscious?

Story: 4 - Very Good
Art: 3 - Good


  1. You’ve hit on something that not a lot of people are talking about with the recent Morrison Batman stuff.  A lot of his supporters are excited at the complexities and how he’s weaving in details from earlier in his room, as well as from some obscurer old Batman stories.  But, as cool as that is for pseudo-intellectual Batfanatics, it’s not new-reader friendly at all.

    And the repeated bonked on the head gag?  It may be Morrison having a little fun, but to me it just seems like lazy writing.

  2. Maybe i’m one of those "pseudo-intellectuals" you’re talking about (:P), I think this run is fairly new-reader friendly, and I’ll tell you why: So far, you can read everything that is happening here, and can be caught up with three trades and a hardcover, as well as Batman #701-702 and Return of Bruce Wayne. It might be more complicated, but you can get the whole thing in your hands fairly easily. That’s a lot less work than, say, getting into the X-Verse or something like that.

  3. @DarkKnightJared: I don’t think that is any easier than the X-verse,  What I mean by new reader friendly is that you can just pick up an issue or two and just read it, and follow what’s going on.  You just mentioned that you have to read three trades, a hardcover and a couple of filler issues to figure out what’s going on.  That’s…that’s not good.

    While, say, Second Coming, is certainly enhanced by knowing a lot of the X-Verse, you can read the story and follow what’s going on.  The same can’t be said for any of the recent Batman titles except for Batman and Robin #1.

  4. If you want to defend the accessibility of a title, I’d say that comparing to the X-books is setting the standard fairly low. But you are right it, going back and catching up on this is doable, in the range of 50-ish issues I believe and they are all in print. Thing is while I am always happy to go back and invest some cash on something I am enjoying to catch up and get more good stuff, what I am less inclined to do is goo back and sink a whole bunch of cash into something just I <i>can</i> enjoy what I am reading now.


    That said there is a lot here I like but, as is typical with Grant Morrison, there is just about as much that frustrates. Like i said I may go back and make the investment but it a tough call and there are other things out to buy.

  5. I certainly understand the importance of an accessible book. But at the same time, a book requiring prior knowledge in the form of other stories enchances the magnitude of said story. Comic books in general are actually quite inaccessible compared to novels and movies, being as how there is years of continuity. However, it is that weight, that esoteric sense, that really strengthens the impact that the story has on the reader. Comic characters have a longer life than the people reading about them.

  6. Batman and Robin is the latest chapter in Morrison’s long-form Batman epic. It’s not meant to be a particularly accessibly jumping-on book, even if DC would want buyers to think otherwise.

  7. Anything Batman is a hundred times easier to get into the Xmen.  I’ve been reading comics for years and I still have to look up characters on Wikipedia whenever I try getting into Xmen and a lot of other Marvel stuff!

  8. Yeah, you definitely need to read all of Morrison’s Bat-stuff from the last 3-4 years to really get a good grasp on Batman & Robin right now. Throughout the series there’s been a conscious effort to NOT rely so much on the Batman run from 655 through RIP. But now we’re coming to the end of the story, so everything has to wrap back up.

    It’s not a coincidence that so many people liked B&R 1-3. It didn’t rely much on past continuity and was sorta a new beginning.

    Personally I really like the story that’s been built up, and am glad that Morrison isn’t spending pages here on recaps. (We just had two nearly extraneous issues of Batman, mostly to provide a recap. But of course it’s understandable that other people have different tastes.

    And while I think there’s a lot of heavy, complicated themes in Morrison’s run, I don’t think you need to be an intellectual to understand. But to hear someone who admittedly couldn’t grasp a lot of this story–which is fine–calling those who do like it "PSEUDO-intellectuals" is pretty ironic.

    You don’t need to be smart really get and enjoy what Morrison’s doing here. You just need to have read all of his story so far, and have a good attention span and memory. That’s not a snarky comment; it’s just the truth. You have to know and remember the story so far.

  9. ^And just as proof of how you don’t have to be smart, observe how I neglected to write "to" before "get" in the first sentence of the last paragraph. ;0

  10. For the record I don’t have a problem with continuity or even continuity heavy story lines, but when you do that it requires a little extra heavy lifting is required from the writer to bring the reader along with them. Morrison is brilliant at big ideas and long stories with pay offs that build over years, that is his great strength. His great weakness is some of the finer storytelling work needed to make get those big ideas across. His talent and creativity are great but he has serious flaws in the craft of his storytelling.


    For those who having been reading his Bat run all along I completely concede that few if any of my criticism in the review would apply to your ability to enjoy the title and I have little doubt you have a lot to love without reservation in this issue. That does not make the criticisms I raise invalid though, only not applicable to 100% of readers.


    A lot of people jumped on with Batman and Robin #1, in no small part because DC and Morrison widely and repeatedly touted it as the ideal jumping on point. I guess it’s not like they were going to say anything else, they need to sell comics, but having set the expectation I think it is fair to expect an effort to live up to their promises. That just hasn’t been happening here. That Morrison is so neglecting a significant a portion of his readers, a group he explicitly sought out, I think is a fair and valid criticism.

  11. Personally, I don’t like Morrison’s style of writing, it’s almost esoteric for the sake of it, like he’s trying to be too different or something.  To me it’s almost like stream-of-consciousness prose sometimes, it’s just confusing to me as far as comic book writing is concerned, just my opinion….obviously he’s got lots of fans, the first I heard of him was with his X-Men and Authority stuff, which are the titles I think he built his reputation upon, but for me, not one of my fave writers.  Even Final Crisis was too convoluted to me, didn’t really enjoy that work very much.

    If you like Irving’s stuff, I would recommend his Iron Man: Inevitable work; that’s when I really became a fan of his.

  12. If I were a new reader, I wouldn’t find this accessible. Sure, you can read it and generally follow the story, but you’d be missing out on a lot of the context and depth. It would lessen the impact, as well as the complexities. That is what Morrison’s done of late – constructed multi-layered, lengthy epics, stories leading into subsequent stories that build on each other. It’s almost like he’s building a mini continuity for his run on a title. Look at what he did with Final Crisis. It built off Seven Soldiers, which built off 52 and Countdown, and had lots of depth. Sometimes the execution of these ideas is not perfect and the work suffers. The guy’s a genius, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it can be hard to connect the dots, even though I’ve followed the whole run. You have to stop and think about it. Take time to smell the roses, don’t expect to be spoon-fed everything. (There’s a reason they added narration to "Blade Runner" in the US release!).

    It kinda reminds me of the JSA. They have a long history, and while you can jump in and read the stories, it means so much more when you know the characters and what has happened in the past.

    But it would be a lot cheaper to catch up on Batman than X-men! LOL

  13. All: Call me ignorant, but, having been out of comics for several years, I was one of those newbies who jumped on with Batman and Robin #1. And I must say that I’ve enjoyed the hell out of it. I didn’t feel like I was having any trouble following the story.

    That said, I got to issue #13 last month and loved it for many of the same reasons others have mentioned–but after reading all the commentary on the website, said to myself, "DAMMIT! I’m obviously missing out on a LOT by not having read Grant Morrison’s earlier stuff." So, I’ve now added a small stack of books to my "to read" box so that I can go back and get caught up (even picked up Morrison’s run "Gothic" in "Legends of the Dark Knight")… THEN I’ll read Batman and Robin AGAIN from the beginning.

    I look at it as being kind of like peeling layers of an onion. The first (blissfully ignorant) read was quite fun and I don’t regret being an ignorant newbie. AND I’m sure when I reader it again, I’ll enjoy it a whole lot more.

    Really don’t see what all the fuss is about. This has been a fun book. 

  14. oops … duh … "read it again" not "reader it again" … <smacks hand on forehead> …

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