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Review Group Week 230 - BATMAN & ROBIN #13

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Eli Katz
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Postby Eli Katz » Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:49 am

It's hard for me to judge BATMAN & ROBIN #13. I haven't been keeping up with Grant Morrison's Batman run, and I haven't been buying this new series or following what has happened to Bruce since RIP. So while reading this week's issue, I felt as though I was jumping into the middle of a very large story and not really catching the significance of each scene. That said, I still think it's a fun read and a worthwhile buy. Certainly, the book features all the action, suspense, and gore that you expect to see in a Joker story.

But while the action and villainy are entertaining, what I most like about this book has nothing to do with the Joker. Instead, what I like is the contrast that Morrison creates in his depictions of Dick and Damien. Each character seems to represent one side of Bruce's personality. In Dick, we see the calm, intelligent half of Bruce -- the man who places very clear limits on himself and who lives by a level of virtue and honor that even Superman has trouble matching. When Morrison has Dick saying "Commissioner Gordon" instead of "Jim," we know that Dick is the play-it-by-the-rules, uphold-the-traditional-values-of-society Batman. He's very much like Adam West, in other words, but minus the goofiness.

Of course, as any seasoned Bat-fan knows, there's also a dark, almost murderous side to Bruce -- the man who grows tired of the never-ending cycle of violence and corruption and who, in his weaker moments, resorts to brutal violence himself. Damien embodies this dimension of Bruce's character with great enthusiasm. We see this most vividly when he beats the Joker to a bloody pulp during an interrogation scene. Here, Damien is almost like Frank Miller's "Goddamn" Batman, but minus the three-day beard.

With these two contrasting depictions, Morrison is reminding us why Batman -- and Bruce, in particular -- is such an enduring character. He's a psychologically complex, almost twisted individual, who is constantly swinging between two extremes. And we fans love watching as he tries to balance, and often fails to balance, his holier-than-thou tendencies with his bad-ass impulses.

The art in this issue is atmospheric and strong, and it suits the nightmarish mood of the story. I love all the wrinkles and creases that Frazer Irving adds to the Joker's face. Those extra lines make him look like an old, decrepit vampire that should have crumbled to dust centuries ago. My only complaint with the art -- and, unfortunately, it's a fairly substantial complaint -- is that too many of the panels lack backgrounds. All too often, after the obligatory establishing shot, Irving does not bother to draw any details on the rest of the page. Many times the characters seem to float in an empty netherworld of rich browns and burnt oranges. This lack of background detail takes away from the sense of place and thus the overall story.

Still, BATMAN & ROBIN #13 is a fun issue and a big step up from the utter crap that the Review Group has had to endure for the last month or so.

STORY: 7.5
ART: 7
OVERALL: 7.25

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Postby john lewis hawk » Fri Jul 09, 2010 2:33 am

Eli Katz wrote:It's hard for me to judge BATMAN & ROBIN #13. I haven't been keeping up with Grant Morrison's Batman run, and I haven't been buying this new series or following what has happened to Bruce since RIP. So while reading this week's issue, I felt as though I was jumping into the middle of a very large story and not really catching the significance of each scene. That said, I still think it's a fun read and a worthwhile buy. Certainly, the book features all the action, suspense, and gore that you expect to see in a Joker story.

But while the action and villainy are entertaining, what I most like about this book has nothing to do with the Joker. Instead, what I like is the contrast that Morrison creates in his depictions of Dick and Damien. Each character seems to represent one side of Bruce's personality. In Dick, we see the calm, intelligent half of Bruce -- the man who places very clear limits on himself and who lives by a level of virtue and honor that even Superman has trouble matching. When Morrison has Dick saying "Commissioner Gordon" instead of "Jim," we know that Dick is the play-it-by-the-rules, uphold-the-traditional-values-of-society Batman. He's very much like Adam West, in other words, but minus the goofiness.

Of course, as any seasoned Bat-fan knows, there's also a dark, almost murderous side to Bruce -- the man who grows tired of the never-ending cycle of violence and corruption and who, in his weaker moments, resorts to brutal violence himself. Damien embodies this dimension of Bruce's character with great enthusiasm. We see this most vividly when he beats the Joker to a bloody pulp during an interrogation scene. Here, Damien is almost like Frank Miller's "Goddamn" Batman, but minus the three-day beard.

With these two contrasting depictions, Morrison is reminding us why Batman -- and Bruce, in particular -- is such an enduring character. He's a psychologically complex, almost twisted individual, who is constantly swinging between two extremes. And we fans love watching as he tries to balance, and often fails to balance, his holier-than-thou tendencies with his bad-ass impulses.

The art in this issue is atmospheric and strong, and it suits the nightmarish mood of the story. I love all the wrinkles and creases that Frazer Irving adds to the Joker's face. Those extra lines make him look like an old, decrepit vampire that should have crumbled to dust centuries ago. My only complaint with the art -- and, unfortunately, it's a fairly substantial complaint -- is that too many of the panels lack backgrounds. All too often, after the obligatory establishing shot, Irving does not bother to draw any details on the rest of the page. Many times the characters seem to float in an empty netherworld of rich browns and burnt oranges. This lack of background detail takes away from the sense of place and thus the overall story.

Still, BATMAN & ROBIN #13 is a fun issue and a big step up from the utter crap that the Review Group has had to endure for the last month or so.

STORY: 7.5
ART: 7
OVERALL: 7.25
Nice essay, Eli. i give it a A-.

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Postby Hermit_Sage » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:44 am

John Snow wrote:This is the kind of thinking that made you a terrible tyrant.



says the guy who has relaxed the rules and gives even MORE leeway then I ever did.

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Postby ****** » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:05 am

Sire wrote:says the guy who doubled group membership.


:P

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Postby Hermit_Sage » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:07 am

John Snow wrote::P


So you played nice so the masses would like you, and this proves you were more then a tryant then me?

Pfft. Face it, you've gone soft

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Postby ****** » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:28 am

Sire wrote:So you played nice so the masses would like you, and this proves you were more then a tryant then me?

Pfft. Face it, you've gone soft


Soft? Bitch please, my numbers crush your numbers...

Reviews posted during Sire's 63 week reign: 710
Reviews posted during the first 63 weeks of amlah6's reign: 949

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Postby Hermit_Sage » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:33 am

John Snow wrote:Soft? Bitch please, my numbers crush your numbers...

Reviews posted during Sire's 63 week reign: 710
Reviews posted during the first 63 weeks of amlah6's reign: 949


Yeah cause you went soft to get the reviews, its ok man no sense denying it, you had a good run, but now in the twilight of your reign, you're a teddy bear

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Postby ****** » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:41 am

Sire wrote:Yeah cause you went soft to get the reviews, its ok man no sense denying it, you had a good run, but now in the twilight of your reign, you're a teddy bear


What you call soft, I call 1,074 reviews posted on my watch. Face it, my reign is the Golden Age of the Review Group.

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Postby Hermit_Sage » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:51 am

John Snow wrote:What you call soft, I call 1,074 reviews posted on my watch. Face it, my reign is the Golden Age of the Review Group.


Hey I am not denying the prosperity of the group right now, its grown beyond simply being a review group.

But to call yourself a tryant really? Pffft

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Postby Hermit_Sage » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:53 am

And give up on being replaced.

You control the SOD as long as you got that you might as well just put up the thread.

The number crunching is the biggest time consumer

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Postby guitarsmashley » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:07 am

John Snow wrote:What you call soft, I call 1,074 reviews posted on my watch. Face it, my reign is the Golden Age of the Review Group.


Silver or Bronze at best. I'm gold status.
doombug wrote:You really are the george carlin of the outhouse. that's fucking hilarious.


doombug wrote:and yeah, Yoni called it. :drunk



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Postby Hermit_Sage » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:14 am

guitarsmashley wrote:Silver or Bronze at best. I'm gold status.


If we are talking tryant douchery, you're still the gold standard baby

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Postby guitarsmashley » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:26 am

Sire wrote:If we are talking tryant douchery, you're still the gold standard baby


And don't you forget it. :twisted:
doombug wrote:You really are the george carlin of the outhouse. that's fucking hilarious.


doombug wrote:and yeah, Yoni called it. :drunk



I feel like a condemned building with a brand new flag pole.
- Les Paul

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Postby Punchy » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:27 am

Dear 48thrills,
Please choose Gorilla Man #1 for next week! The Review Group needs more Gorilla action.

Yours sincerely,
Punchy

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Postby Zero » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:44 am

Punchy wrote:Dear 48thrills,
Please choose Gorilla Man #1 for next week! The Review Group needs more Gorilla action.

Yours sincerely,
Punchy


He already did didn't he?

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