“Batman and Robin” by Grant Morrison

I respect Grant Morrison’s work. But I don’t always get it. I’m fairly certain the deficiency is me, as I’ve read about the zillion obscure-to-me referents he used for whichever book I didn’t care for or understand, like his All-Star Superman. So I approached his take on Batman and Robin, Batman Reborn with trepidation.

From moment one, I was in the driver’s seat, first in the bad guys’ car, then in a Bat vehicle. Morrison tags between these two scenes, and quickly situates us in the Bat-universe:

Robin: I told you it would work. All I had to do was adapt my father’s blueprints.

Batman: I’m sorry I ever doubted you, Damian…

Robin: “Never use real names in the field.” Your words.

Batman: You’re paying attention. Good. You know, I’d have killed for a flying batmobile when I was Robin.

A few pages later, we learn which former Robin is the new Batman, because apparently Bruce Wayne is dead.

I have a passing familiarity with the Bat-universe. I knew who Damian was, and guessed who Batman was, before Alfred confirmed it, though I don’t know who all the Robins have been. This reboot, then, is not only for regular readers of the monthly Bat titles, but also for casual fans of the Bat. It’s quite good, and in the Morrison/Quitely tradition, often gruesome.

There are villains aplenty, like Pyg and the Flamingo, and a new antihero, the Red Hood. The first trade paperback collects issues 1 to 6, but doesn’t resolve everything. Even if you bought the individual issues, the collected edition is a good investment to avoid the ugly, intrusive ads. I look forward to the rest of the series; so far it’s a wild ride.

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