Batman & Robin #14

Batman & Robin #14

A-

Who is Dr. Simon Hurt? I’ve been following Grant Morrison’s run on Batman from the beginning—and have reread the whole thing a few times as well—and I’m still not sure. But with each new issue that Morrison sends our way I’m more and more confident that Morrison knows the secrets of Dr. Hurt and will be sending them our way before too long. The last issue of Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne offered a few more clues into the past of Thomas Wayne, and Batman & Robin has recently revealed that El Penitente and Hurt are one and the same. The next few months of Morrison-related Batman comics will certainly be fun.

But honestly, who would’ve thought that I’d start off this review by talking about Dr. Hurt? If we’re gonna talk villains let’s talk the Joker! Last issue set up a delicious cliffhanger as young Robin, Damian Wayne, looked set to hand a serious smack-down to the Joker as he was locked in a cell at the Gotham City Police Department. This issue picks up right away and we see the tables turn on Damian rather quickly. As I read this issue I had a feeling things might work out that way, but Morrison still makes the tale of the Joker gaining the upper hand, yet again, seem fresh and oh, so much fun.

Definitely a highlight for me was the crowbar. One can’t help but look at pages—especially ones drawn as wonderfully as these—involving a crowbar, a Robin and the Joker and not flash back to the epic storyline of “A Death in the Family” where the Joker delivered an horrific beat-down to Jason Todd as he wore the Robin tights. I was literally giddy when I saw the Joker wielding the familiar weapon in this issue, and I’m sure that’s exactly what Mr. Morrison had in mind when he wrote it. And though Damian Wayne is on the losing end of this issue, he is still by far my favorite character to take on the role of Robin, and the fact that he is certainly the most fun is without argument.

The only downside I saw to this issue was the arc involving Batman himself—or rather, Dick Grayson as Batman. This mainly is a problem with the delay—it was delayed, right? Seems like it’s been a while—between this issue and the last, as I had a hard time remembering exactly what Batman was up to in the last issue, especially when that storyline was competing with the brilliant Robin/Joker face-off. The art in this issue by Razer Irving is again phenomenal, and definitely unsettling. His depictions of the Joker are ones for the ages.

Overall, another solid bat-issue from Morrison and Co. If it is hampered at all it is only by its being just one cog in a much larger piece of machinery, but that’s a small complaint as it certainly looks like the coming months are going to be a lot of fun in the Batman comics!

tags: batman, batman & robin, frazer irving, grant morrison

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