5 out of 5
As I go through my Grant Morrison comics, from his early work to his just released stuff, I am dazzled by how much fun, and how rereadable, the majority of it is. There was a point where I was reevaluating Grant, and getting rid of some of my collection – stuff I’ve since rebought – and when I’m again bowled over by a set of issues like Batman vs. Robin, I wonder how I ever doubted the guy. (Oh, right, 52 and Final Crisis.)
Batman vs. Robin delivers its title’s promise. But instead of this being ‘Damian gets angsty and scuffles with Tim’ – which Grant hasn’t resorted to, but has put the duo through its child/adult growing pains dynamic – the arc kicks off with a clue hunt for time-trapped Bruce Wayne amidst suddenly discovered oddities in Wayne Manor, which is wholly fun and interesting in and of itself. Then a wondrous twist gives us our vs., but it’s couched within, firstly, a sort of Looney Tunes gag, and then begins to revel in a lot of the plottings Morrison has been setting up along the way, which are now so rewarding that we’re actually in the midst of them.
Highlighting the sort of simple – though not really straightforward, as there are some excellently set up reveals and story flourishes here – vibe of these issues, which easily distract with the Bruce Wayne mystery and some perfectly choreographed scuffles, Frank Quitely goes pop basic on the covers, just two characters against a flat colored background. They look off at first, but once you read the interiors, the boldness of them matches. And regarding those interiors, Andy Clarke is a little stiff on the faces, but his fine-lined artistry seems like it takes notes from Quitely and blends them with Clarke’s own sense of motion and energy. Kudos to Scott Hanna for assisting on issue 12 and blending with Clarke’s look seamlessly.
Fantastic looking, fantastic plotting, fantastic reading.