Comics / Comic Reviews / DC Comics

Batman and Robin #21 Review


By Colin Andersen
March 15, 2011 - 13:09

     I’m a fairly casual Batman fan. By this I mean that I follow one or two of his books regularly while still keeping up on his current status. Lately, I’ve been following Batman and Robin and Red Robin as my two primary Bat-books. Unlike so many others, however, I’m not a huge Grant Morrison fan. I respect what he did with the franchise and how perfectly he planned out his stories and I enjoyed some of them, but for the most part, his high-concept stories didn’t really click with me. Because of this, I was really glad when I heard that he would be leaving Batman and Robin and that the new creative team would be one of my recent favorites: Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason. I thought these two created some truly great stories over on Green Lantern Corps and I was curious to see what they could do with the Batman Family. So far, I’m pleased to say, they’re doing quite well.

   

Batman_And_Robin__21_001.jpg
Probably more so than any other team since the return of Bruce Wayne, Tomasi gets how to write these characters as a family. Last issue had an absolutely wonderful scene of Bruce, Dick, Tim, Damian, and Alfred enjoying the most memorable movie of Bruce Wayne’s life. It was a touching moment that is continued throughout the issue to an extent with the interactions between Dick and Damian in costume.  I love how fun and light-hearted Dick is as Batman as it does a lot to refresh the character of Batman while still managing to keep him serious and effective. Tomasi even pulls off a miracle by getting me to enjoy Damian for once. I’m not sure how I feel about the new villain introduced this month, however. It seems to be another variant on the Dark Knight/Light Knight theme that’s been used in so many Batman stories. At least this is a different take on the idea with the “light” part being taken very literally. If nothing else, I’m curious about just why this villain is doing what he’s doing. Tt makes for an interesting mystery that allows for some delightful character interactions; Commissioner Gordon is quickly becoming one of the stand-out characters of the series.

     The plot of this issue sees the real introduction of the arc’s villain. He’s a person, seemingly made out of light, that angelically killing off family members of Batman’s Rogues. This is an interesting take of using Batman’s villains. Instead of using them directly as part of Batman plot, Tomasi decides to up the ante a little in a way that manages to expand on the histories of existing characters while also introducing new ones.  There’s a lot of potential for this idea if it unfolds correctly and I’m interested to see the motivations behind the Light Knight’s actions. I just wish we’d gotten to see a little bit more of Man-Bat this issue after his introduction last month, but oh well.

     Over on art duties, I was glad to see that Patrick Gleason performs just as admirably here as he did in Green Lantern Corps and not as sloppily as his work over on Brightest Day. Gotham seems like a truly dark, but living, place throughout the whole issue and every panel seems to have some real weight to it. Batman looks powerful, commanding, and nimble all at once and Damian really looks like a ten-year-old, while also looking like he could hand me my backside with little effort. He is truly at his best when trying to convey emotions though; easily my favorite scene was when Gordon storms out of the house after investigating an entire dead family. It’s clear that, even after all these years, Gordon is still just as affected by the horrible things he sees in his profession as the day he started and it makes the scene very powerful. Unfortunately, Gleason can, at times, draw some very “same-y” people. When there are a lot of people standing around not in costume, it can be a little difficult deciphering who is who.

     All told, this is the most I have enjoyed Batman and Robin since it premiered. This new team seems to be taking the series in some new and interesting directions and I am excited for it. The story is adult while still being comic booky, as it were, and is a lot of fun. With a few tweaks to the formula, this could be one of the best books on the stands now.

Rating: 8.5 /10


Last Updated: September 6, 2021 - 08:15

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