Comics / Comic Reviews / DC Comics

Batman and Robin #1

By Leroy Douresseaux
June 3, 2009 - 14:04

Frank Quitely's cover art for Batman and Robin #1

Batman: Reborn, Part l: “Domino Effect”

Batman and Robin #1 is a new series by longtime collaborators, writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely, the team behind the acclaimed, All-Star Superman.  This new series stars the old Robin (not Dick, but Richard Grayson) as the new Batman and Damien Wayne (Batman and Talia al Ghul’s lovechild) as the new Robin.

When New X-Men #114 debuted in 2001, for the first time in two decades, the X-Men comic books stop living under the enormous shadow of the X-Men comics of Chris Claremont and John Byrne.  In New X-Men #114, the then, new creative team of writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely changed the status quo of the X-Men comic book franchise, and updated the concept for the 21st century.  Nearly everything done with the X-Men since their run has been a marathon race backwards.

Since early 1986, Batman comic books have lived under the shadow of Frank Miller’s dazzling graphic novel, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.  23 years after DKR, Morrison & Quitely are pulling off another amazing job of liberation by simply moving Batman into the future.  As a comic book writer, Morrison is the guy who seems always to be three generations ahead of everyone else working in superhero comics.  And Frank Quitely: his art always looks as if it belongs to tomorrow.

Batman and Robin #1 doesn’t disrespect anything that came before it.  Morrison and Quitely merely take the best of the past (concepts, storylines, characters, settings, etc.), and present something new – reinventing and re-imagining (a flying Batmobile).  Whatever it is called, it sure tastes good and looks even better – thanks to Alex Sinclair’s shimmering colors.

This first issue, which foreshadows a nasty new adversary named Pyg, gives us a solemn, leveled-headed Batman, intense like the old, but in his own quiet way.  Damien is Robin as the teenaged Kobe Bryant.  He’s arrogant; he’s talented.  He hasn’t achieved much, but already thinks he should be the captain.  He’s so darn cool.

I can’t imagine that Batman and Robin will be all downhill from issue one.  Morrison & Quitely are reshaping Batman for the current entertainment and pop culture landscape the way J.J. Abrams and company have redone Star Trek.  Yeah, this is the best $3 I’ve spent on a Batman comic book since… 1986?


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