Batman & Robin #16

Batman & Robin #16

A+

Wow. This was what I’d been waiting for… since taking over the Batman universe in 2006 we finally get a conclusion to Grant Morrison’s first over-arching run with the Dark Knight. Did we get answers to all of the questions Morrison has raised over the years? Probably not, but in the last few months—and in this issue especially—I got answers to all of the ones I cared about, and some more will most likely be coming in the final issue of Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne next week. And more importantly, Morrison tied up those loose ends in such a way that still left me excited for whats to come by dropping a major bombshell at the end of this issue.

To summarize, this issue starts off with a flashback to the 1700′s as the origin of Dr. Hurt/Thomas Wayne’s supernatural powers and long life are explained in a scene that’d even make Ozzy Osborne blush. From there we jump back into the present as we find out, yes, Bruce Wayne has indeed returned in the mantle of the Batman.

On a side note I find it more than a little ironic that with all the similarities that the Batman storyline has had with Captain America over the last few years that the returns of both of their respective titular characters were in effect somewhat spoiled by missed deadlines and late issues. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that the original calendar at DC did not have Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne coming out a week after this issue.

There’s an excellent scene of Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson and Damian taking on Dr. Hurt’s 99 Fiends with artwork that’s incredibly kinetic and detailed. I found myself looking over those two pages several times. Bruce Wayne’s initial reaction to seeing Damian in the Robin costume was pitch-perfect as was the praise he later hands to the boy. I’m among one of the legions of fans who hated Damian when he first appeared and I’ve got to say he is now my favorite character in comics. The way Morrison allowed this character to evolve every month has been nothing short of masterful while at all times feeling completely natural. The scenes where Damian expresses concern over the fate of Alfred and then later where he voices his worries that him and Dick won’t be able to continue their roles as Batman & Robin were fitting capstones on this characters growth.

And I’m not even mentioning the cavalier manner in which the young Robin faces down a nuclear bomb…

Oh man, but I haven’t even mentioned Professor Pyg yet! Or the final showdown between Joker and Dr. Hurt. Wow… I definitely did not see the latter coming nor would I have expected it to unfold so brilliantly. As for the former, there’s no doubt that Professor Pyg will be around to stay, especially after he squeals out the line, “I’m not wearing protection, my darlings!”

Have we actually seen the last of Dr. Hurt? Being that we’re talking about comic books I’d say probably not. But I do think that Grant Morrison has taken this character’s arc to its logical conclusion. But what everyone will be talking about—indeed, the chatter has already started—is the last two pages of this issue. Bruce Wayne is back, that’s no surprise and if you didn’t see that coming well, then I just can’t help you, but who would’ve guessed that he’d reveal himself to the general public as being behind all of Batman’s funding. Can’t really call him a liar on that count, can you? I love the door this opens up for the Batman comics in the coming months as Batman Inc. will soon be starting with Grant Morrison behind the wheel. It should be a great ride.

And I’ll definitely still be on board with this series to see more of Damian Wayne in action…

tags: batman, damian, grant morrison, robin

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