I don’t know how much any readers might have been following the recent Batman Comics from DC. After the Batman R.I.P. arc and the Battle for the Cowl arc things have been shaken up to say to least. Bruce Wayne, as many might know, was killed in Final Crisis and upon his death Gotham City was left without the Batman. Gotham remained without Batman until the end of the Battle for the Cowl arc where Dick Grayson assumed the role of Batman. That wasn’t the only major shift though, Damien Wayne (Bruce’s biological son) has assumed the mantle of Robin and Tim Drake/Wayne is now the Red Robin. Simply put, there is a new Dynamic Duo in Gotham City.
Batman and Robin #1
Batman and Robin #1 reunites the team of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. This is the same duo that relaunched the X-Men in the early 2000s. Needless to say, I think they are up to the task of showcasing the new Batman and Robin. Keep in mind, however, that Quitely is only penciling the first 3 issues before taking a 6 issue hiatus. Its been mentioned by others online, but I think this part bears repeating. It will be very interesting to see Batman and Robin in opposite roles. When Bruce Wayne was the Batman he was always serious while the Robins acted in a much more laid back manor and interjected humor into situations. This is going to be a role reversal now with Damien Wayne’s Robin playing the straightman to Dick Grayson’s Batman. As a Dick Grayson fan I’m excited to see how things turn out.
Issue #1 in this arc is entitled Domino Effect and begins with Batman and Robin in the new Batmobile which is pictured on the cover of the issue. Batman and Robin use their new flying Batmobile (yes, it really flies, how badass is that?) to grab a carload of criminals and drop it into Gotham Harbor. The leader of the criminals is grabbed by Batman to be interrogated while Robin looks on.
The leader of the criminals, Mr. Toad, is grabbed by Batman to be interrogated as Robin looks on. In order to interrogate him Batman knocks him out. Upon awakening Mr. Toad is blindfolded and being held by his leg by Batman. Presumably Toad is far above the city on a skyscraper. After the interrogation Batman drops Mr. Toad… and he falls a few feet to the roof of a nearby skyscraper where he is apprehended by the Gotham Police.
The scene shifts to the Batcave under Wayne Manor where Dick and Alfred are shown covering all the equipment in the cave with drop clothes. It is made clear to the readers that the Batman’s base of operation is being moved to a new Batcave beneath Wayne Tower in the heart of Gotham City. Dick expresses his doubts to Alfred regarding being the new Batman and specifically guiding Damien along. At this point Damien interjects and says that despite his young age he will take up the mantle of the Bat if Dick is ‘not up to it.’ I love the bluntness of Damien. I fully admit hating the character in the past, but he kind of grows on you.
Later on, Batman and Robin are on patrol in Gotham City. Commissioner Gordon is on the roof of police headquarters having turned on the Bat-Signal and illuminated the city sky with the Bat-Signal. Gordon speaks briefly on the loss of Batman as the officers around him state that Batman hasn’t shown up in months. Gordon’s repsonse is that ‘hope springs eternal.’ After Gordon says this the dynamic duo jumps from the flying Batmobile overhead. Using their new ‘para-capes’ Batman and Robin are seen gliding through the clouds to Police headquarters with the Bat-Signal glowing overhead. This is the last we see of Batman and Robin in this issue.
For the last part of the book the narrative shifts to a character referred to as Pyg. Pyg is shown to be wearing and ugly pig mask and wearing a bloody butcher’s apron/smock. He breaks into a person’s home and ritually applies an ugly doll mask to his victim’s the face accusing them of betraying him. The mask is burning hot and his victim is seen screaming. After applying the mask Pyg tells of his intent to do the same to the victim’s daughter, this is because he believe has the ability to make everything ‘perfect’ by adding new dolls (masked victims) to his crew.
All in all, this was a good issue for setting up the new story arc and laying the groundwork for the relationship between the new Batman and Robin. Personally, I’m liking the way things are shaping up, especially the part where Damien basically thinks of Dick as unworthy to be Batman and keeps gradually pushing the bounds of his role as Robin. Only another month until issue number 2! I’m going to end this post with an image of the variant cover for this issue. I think it looks pretty good.
Batman and Robin #1 Varient Cover