Friday, July 23, 2010

Comic Book Review: Batman & Robin #13

Book Information
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Frazier Irving
Lettered by Patrick Brosseau
Cover by Frank Quietly, Frazier Irving

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
Dick Grayson has stood to the test, proving that he has the capabilities of filling in for Mr. Wayne as Batman. However, with the return of Professor Pyg and Simon Hurt, Grayson now must now face the ultimate challenge which will solidify his Caped Crusader status into the history books of the DC Universe. With all that has transpired since the R.I.P days, Morrison is now beginning to tie up those loose ends and bring the whole mystery to a progressive conclusion. But with all the angst and drama filling this issue, I can’t help but feel completely and utterly bored.

First off let me say that Morrison does deliver an incredibly creepy plot base, making us wonder if the Joker has actually become crazier than he already is and giving Simon Hurt’s return a seedy entrance. This issue is so compact with dark material that you’d think I’d have an orgasm since that’s what appeals to me the most, but I was unable to get into the story because of how boring it is. The script seems to drag on and on with only a climactic beginning, a stunning conclusion, and a brutal Joker beating in the middle. I’m fully aware that I’m on the “hate Grant Morrison” band wagon, but I don’t think Morrison’s writing is what caused the epic failure in this book; rather it was Frazier Irving’s art.

Irving received both praise and scrutiny for his work on The Return of Bruce Wayne, and I for one saw how his style worked for that particular issue, but I also remember starting that getting a steady diet of his work would wear on me. The painted look to Irving’s art is too wooden and displaced from reality to be appealing over a period of months. But even this one issue was a little too much for me to handle; with its dark composition and out of place characterizations, it just didn’t compliment the literary aspect that Grant Morrison gave it. Its way too heavy in the shading and the white-on-black contrast, especially with the Joker, was too distracting and strange.

With all of this negativity I’m throwing out there, I do have to give props to both Morrison and Irving for that compelling Robin and Joker scene. Robin, calling upon all his hatred for the Joker and what he has done to both Wayne and Grayson, he lashes out with a crowbar to the head of our Clown prince of crime on the verge of killing him. It wasn’t that Robin was attacking the Joker in the way he did that made this scene so compelling; it was the moment right before the strike where Joker seemed almost insightful and sorrowful of what he has done in the past. I was unable to tell if this was a ploy, or if the Joker actually did feel terrible for his past actions. I might categorize this as one of the more emotionally driven scenes within the history of comics.

My Profoundly Climactic Conclusion
Being very dialogue heavy and overdone artistic scenes, this book was not very satisfying, which is sad! Morrison, I feel, actually delivered a decent story that I could have really gotten into. However, if the art doesn’t work, then the story could loose its meaning.

Writing: 8
Themes: 10
Art: 1
Overall: 6.33 out of 10

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