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Review Group Batman and Robin #1

GLX had the pick for new comics shipping June 3rd and he selected Batman and Robin #1 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week that we each take turns selecting. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse’s Newstand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate in.

BAM! BOOM! BIF! POW!  So obviously there was lots of excitement about this week's pick.  We had a whopping 18 reviews this week and whether you loved the new flying Batmobile or hate Damian, there was a little something for everyone.
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Review by thefourthman

So this week's book was awesome.

"It is a little hard to tell exactly what is going on with the story. There is not a whole lot past exposition here. There is an odd payment and the obvious concern from the police that Batman is dead and gone and the reciprocal glee from the criminal community. Given time, it is possible that Morrison can let this ball unravel as well, but this debut issue is smoke gushing, guns blazing, and BATMOBILE FLYING fun! That is an element that has been missing from the core Bat books for some time. Sure, Batman Confidential had its moments and then some guy named Kevin Smith decided to have a little bit of perverse fun with the Joker, but excitement was long gone from the franchise.

To go along with some keen character moments and a script full of explosions and the like, Quitely steps up to the plate. This is not the bright and beautiful Metropolis of All-Star Superman, this is Gotham. This is dark corners and gritty crime. This is the realm of the insane criminal masterminds and it is all reflected in the people and the streets. To contrast this is the sleekness of the new Batwheels. There is an edge to its lines, it stands out."

Read the rest of my review here:  http://brokenfrontier.com/reviews/p/detail/batman-and-robin-1

Score
Story (8 + a bonus point because the goddamn Batmobile flies!=) 9
Art 8
Overall 8.5
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Review by amlah6

From the flying Batmobile to the crazy (I'm assuming new) villain this had pretty much everything you could want in an action/adventure Batman comic. Morrison is oftentimes his own worst enemy when writing superhero comics but for the most part he stays out of his own way here and delivers a super fun comic that is immediately accessible despite the last convoluted mess of a year in the Bat-family books. I loved the interaction between Dick, Alfred and Damian and how it pretty much explained how and why everyone is in the roles that they're in a matter of pages.

When previews of B&R have been posted on OH, there have been lots of complaints about Quietely's art. Those people are fucking crazy. The design, the textures, the motion, everything on the page really makes it clear that Quitely is one of the top three or four artists working in comics today. Even if his run on this book is going to be short, if nothing else he's given us the best Batmobile in ages. And the splash page with the Paracapes? Gorgeous.

Story: 9
Art: 10
Overall: 9.5
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Review by Sire v 2.0

From the very first page all I could think about was how awesome the art was I mean really that's all there was to this story.

It was set up and that's fine for a new #1 but man can Quitely draw!, I see Damien is still his usual self, it will be interesting to watch him teamed up with Dick.

The new flying Batmobile is cool, I dunno I can't really complain about a set up issue there is not much more I could have asked from a first issue. I will be back for issue #2 so I guess that’s saying something.

Overall - 9
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Review by House of J

Hmm.. I definitely have Bat-burnout after RIP, which I found stupidly anticlimactic like a story that never came together and so was used to direct readers to the event comic by the same writer.

So, I was not excited in the least for this book. Just saying that going into it because it probably affected my opinion of this book.

The cover looked a little better in print than digital, but Damien still looks like a git with a weird shaped cranium (Talia didn't have a gourd for a head, did she?) and Batman still looks like his suit and cape need dry-cleaned and pressed or something. Quitely is one of my favorite artists, I wish there were an inker I could blame this on, but his hatch-lines are getting out of hand. In some cases they are not looking like shading and texture but are making Batman especially look like he slept in his suit for a week in a trash dumpster behind a Wendy's. Other than that, Quitely looks good here.

The new Batmobile is getting a lot of love. Personally, I like the design in Batman Beyond, this thing looks like a ladybug trying to take a dump.

The story's ok, mostly set-up as has been said, but I can't dismiss the lingering bitterness from RIP when I read it. Will any of this go anywhere? Is there any meat to any of it beyond a bunch of scattered ideas and images GM thought were cool? I don't know, but none of the setup here was strong enough to guarantee I'll be back for more. I feel like I've seen the torturer with the pig mask thing before--or it could be the torturer with the baby mask in Brazil, I dunno. Mr. Toad? Mildly entertaining but nothing I'll be thinking about tomorrow or next week.

This issue is pretty good, has no real flaws, but I've never been a Nightwing fan. When he was in the New Teen Titans he was my least favorite character, acting like a prig and refusing to give Starfire the ol' bouncy-bouncy. I started to like his last series right before it was cancelled. I'm not sure what the DCU is gaining here by losing Nightwing and having him act like Bruce. Damien...75% annoying, 25% funny--a lot like many OH posters, actually. I'm not sure if I have any taste for him in the Robin role long-term, but maybe.

Five years ago if you'd told me Grant Morrison would be the prevailing architect of the DCU I'd have been thrilled--but now I question his motive at every turn. I just don't want to feel RIPped off again.

7.5
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Review by 48THRiLLS

I will start off by saying that I don't get the love for Quitely, I mean the art is okay I guess... maybe his style is just too sloppy for my taste, the lines seem way too squiggly and the faces he draws just seem kinda wonky to me. Aside from that I thought this was pretty good, I don't read any Batman but I was able to hop along quite easily. I liked the interaction between Dick, Damien, and Alfred. The pig dude is straight up creepy, I do have a question... who was the dude on fire or are we not supposed to know? I am not sure that I liked this enough to pick up the next issue since I am a broke motherfucker but if I have extra money I may or may not.

STORY - 8
ART - 6
OVERALL - 7
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Review by guitarsmashley

What a great issue. And Damien is still the character he was when he was created a 2 years ago so at least he's written consistently. It was also really nice to not see Dick screw up. This is what I'm afraid of in Judd's Batman and I liked the last Judd run but I just don't want to see Batman fail.

9
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Review by BubbaKanoosh

So, I took the chance on this and picked it up. I thought Battle for the Cowl was a waste, and I hate Damien but I actually enjoyed this issue. I am kinda confused on how much time has lapse between Battle for the Cowl and this issue, I don't recall it saying so. Perhaps I missed it reading it on the subway on the way home. Anywho, I really enjoyed the story more then I thought I would, considering I didn’t think I would like it at all. I loved seeing Gordon on the roof. The new baddies look damn scary (which will fit right in with the rest of the rogue gallery). Will I pick up next ish? Yes, even though I hate Quitely's art. The colours were beautiful, but the faces and squiggly lines just hurt my eyes. The faces look like socks filled with jello. Still, it was fun and I will pick up number #2.

Story: 7
Art 3:
Overall: 5
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Review by MrBlack

First off, I enjoyed Batman RIP, and I liked Final Crisis overall. I would like to see Morrison teamed with a more grounded writer though (Greg Rucka comes to mind), because he tends to let his ideas overwhelm the plot.

On to Batman & Robin #1.

I really liked this issue. It was a good setup for the dynamic between the new team, with Dick still uncertain about walking in his adopted father's shoes, and Damien continuing to rebel. It's interesting to compare his attitude to that of Jason Todd; I look forward their promised meeting later this year.

The story starts off with the new Dynamic Duo in action, and Quitely just knocked it out of the park here. Some people might quibble with his art style, but his framing is just brilliant. The opening scene feels like a summer blockbuster, and then everything is pulled into smaller panels for some quieter moments between Dick, Damien, and Alfred.

Then, of course, there is the new villain introduced here, who quickly sets himself up to be as creepy and psychotic as any one of Batman's other rogues. I'm glad they decided to start Dick off with a new character; there will be plenty of time for him to encounter the old rogues gallery in the months to come. Speaking of which, the last page of the book gives us a taste of what to expect in Batman & Robin in the coming year. Suffice it to say that Morrison doesn't appear to be done with the story he began in Batman RIP.

Overall, I thought this was a really fun issue. There was some setup going on, but I'm prepared to give Morrison and Quitely some time to get this going, as they always payoff.

Story: 7
Art: 10
Score: 8.5
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Review by Chubbles

I actually really liked this issue. I am not a big Batman fan nor a big fan of GM but this was a fun issue. That Pyg dude was totally freaky and I liked that a lot. I wanna see some fucked up bad guys doing messed up shit and this guy looks like he fits the bill. I will echo what some others said in airing their dislike for Damien. He's like an annoying little gnat but he does play a role here. I'll just wait out until he gets what's surely coming his way. I don't like Quitely's style all that much. I think he draws excellent backgrounds and his pacing and layout is awesome but his style of faces just doesn't do it for me. Most people look the same and I just don't like that. This was certainly fun enough to stick out for at least the next few issues.

Story 9
Art 7
Overall 8
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Review by starlord

It amazes me that Didio has done it again. A man that I supported to his face last year in Chicago has done another bonehead move. Putting the least talented writer and hook him up with one of comics top three artists is just down right wrong!

That being said, this wasn't horrible. It's the usual Grant pattern. Impress them at the beginning, make them loyal, then go so far out that nobody understands what they are reading so Grant can tell them they are all stupider than him. Can't wait for this familiar little roller coaster. Rolling Eyes

Still, the art was beautiful and I do like Grant's take on Damien. He reminds me of a cross between both Tim and Jason. Not impressed at all with the villains, Dick is bland (more impressive as Nightwing) and the Alfred I know would have slapped thee shit out of Damien with his first remark. Oh and the Batmobile sucks worse than Grant's entire X-Men run.

Love Quietly though.

Story: 2
Art: 9
My Score: 3

(I like good writing much more than great art)
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Review by Kerny

"Lose the attitude, Robin. I can still offer Tim Drake his old job back."

Morrison's earlier Batman run was uneven, same with Final Crisis, and I didn't bother with Battle For The Cowl, so I was skeptical going into this. My doubts were for nothing, if the first issue of this series is any indication

This was a pretty awesome read. It's basically set up, but some good set up. I am liking the new dynamic between Dick and Damien and Alfred and Damien, Damien is a little brat, but I think that’s fun. I like the new villains. Mr. Toad works in a comedic sense. Not. Fire headed guy? He seems like a henchman, guy for hire type deal. Prof. Pyg was really creepy and I think he is a welcome addition to Batman's rogues.

Quitely is hit or miss for me. Hated his New X-men, loved his work on We3 and ASS. This is something in the hit category. I love the way he tells a story here, with the panel layouts and what not. His figures might be a little off but eh. The flying Batmobile was cool, and I love the sound effects usage.

Story 9
Art 9
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Review by young neil

The new series Batman and Robin starts this week, and appeals to just about every inch of geek in me. From the Bat-Mobile with a bat symbol as a windshield to the paracapes; this was a stellar set-up for the series to come.

I know a lot of people either love or hate Morrison, but there very much seems to be two sides to his writing. And I find when he collaborates with Quitely, he can do no wrong.

In summation the first issue, shows us the new Batman and Robin and introduces two new very different villains. One frankly scares the crap out of me and one just reminds me of campy Batman from years gone by. However, one thing can be said, the Mr. Toad chase scene was not only a great way to introduce the new flying bat-mobile, but one of the most kick ass/ well designed sequences I’ve seen in a long time. I think it’s great how Morrison doesn’t feel that he needs to use the Joker all the time to write a good bat-story.

I always thought there was no need for Damien, there was already enough heirs’ to Wayne/ Batman Family in general without introducing another character. He struck me as overly whiny and pointless. I think I might be about ready to change my mind. This book is the perfect place for Damien. It creates a place where the character can be redeemed, and hopefully learn some humility. The banter between Damien and Dick definitely paints a different Batman and Robin than the ones readers are used to.

What can’t be said about how great the art was in this issue? Quitely has one of the most individual styles I have ever seen. The splash pages were amazing, I sat and stared at the Paracapes page for a good minute. I can’t fault the art at all apart from the overly baggy costumes our heroes seem to now wear.

This book reminds me of All Star Superman for obvious reasons. In this Issue Morrison reminds us what it is to read a great Batman Book.

A new status quo and a fresh start, ‘Batman and Robin together again, for the first time.’

Story – 9
Art - 9.5
Overall – 9.25

I loved this book and I’m usually one of the strongest haters of Nightwing, lucky for him he’s Batman now.
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Review by Daringd

Yeah Baby! Wow! God I hope this ends up being as good as All Star Superman. If this first issue is any indication it will be. I really don’t know where to start other than, Dick and Damien make a great Batman and Robin. I have always hated Robin as a character Damien makes Robin a punk ass and I love it. Dick as Batman is great the line about feeling as if the costume is a shroud chills. I am very impressed with this issue can’t wait to see what these two do on the book. Even if Quitely is only doing 6 issues of it.

9.6/10
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Review by GLX

OMG! MORRISUCK AND QUITELY ARE RUINING MY COMIX!!!!

In all seriousness, this comic delivers the goods. Great writing. Great art. What more could I want?

8.3* out of 10*
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Review by Punchy

Story - Grant Morrison is that most frustrating of creators, the mad auteur with brilliant ideas, but so often, his execution of those ideas is sorely lacking, his recent work, with the exception of All-Star Superman has been very poor indeed, Final Crisis started out well, but soon spiraled into a crapstorm of epic proportions, the same can be said of his Batman run, and the pure unfettered badness that was RIP, so by all rights, I shouldn't be excited for this new book, it's the second Chapter of Grant's Bat-plan, it should be just as confusing and infuriating as before, but it isn't. There's one important difference, and he's probably the reason why ASS was so much better than it's contemporaries, Frank Quitely. I have more to say about him in the art section, but it's safe to say that he brings out the best in Morrison, and Batman and Robin #1 is a totally different animal to Morrison's recent embarrassments, it's actually good!

The set up for B&R #1 is simple, Bruce Wayne is dead (or in the past, or something, let's say he's dead) and now Dick Grayson, the original Robin, and previously Nightwing is the new Batman, and Bruce Wayne's son, Damian, also the son of Talia Al Ghul, is the new Robin, and they fight crime together! Biff! Zap! Pow! I really think this is a good concept, and progression for the Batman concept, for the last 15 years or so, Batman has become stagnant, Bruce is Batman, Tim is Robin, Dick is Nightwing, they continue to have meaningless adventures, but this shake up here was sorely needed. I know Nightwing has his fans (his poor, deluded fans), but for me, that identity has always been pointless, but now that Dick is Batman, he actually seems more interesting, he has the weight of his predecessor and mentor on his shoulders, and has finally achieved his potential. Damian as Robin is also interesting, Tim Drake is an excellent character, but he was never really Batman's sidekick was he? Most of the time he was off having his own Spider-Man-lite adventures, he never worked with Bruce as a regular team like Dick and Jason did, plus, he was a bit too old to be Robin, now that Robin is a crazy 10-year old, he needs to be monitored, and it's a return to the more interesting duo set-up. Of course, it's also an inspired reversal of the classic Dynamic Duo, we are used to a grim, violent Batman, and a lighter, more fun Robin, with this, it's flipped, Damian is the darker character, and Batman is slightly lighter, it's a fun twist on an old concept, and it can keep the book going for a while.

But as I said, Morrison's concepts are good, but his execution can often be not quite there, it doesn't matter how many interesting character progressions or 'inspired reversals' there are if the comic is a confusing mess. Fortunately, this is a very well told, straightforward action book that zips along at a brilliant pace, it moves quickly, but not at the expense of the story, like Final Crisis for example did. We open with a chase sequence, a new villain, Mister Toad is fleeing from the new Batmobile, which can fly! Yeah man, flying Batmobile, pretty cool. Dick and Damian catch up with him, and find out he's been paid in dominoes, which is kind of odd yeah? After pulling a classic fake out trick on him, they head back to their new HQ, an awesome skyscraper. I much preferred when Batman was based out of the tower in I think the 70s, as it made sense for such an urban hero to actually be in an urban environment, rather than out in the country. The Dark Knight movie used the same idea, and this fresh new Batman and Robin team deserve a more interesting base than Wayne Manor. We are then introduce to a second new Villain, Mister Pyg, who is creepy as hell, and it is there the issue ends. The book is light on story, but it doesn't really matter, because what is there is just bursting with fun and energy, the new villains, something sorely needed in Batman are interesting, the action scenes are strong, the dialogue is sharp, and the characters compelling.

Even if like me, you've been sorely disappointed with Grant Morrison's recent work, I recommend you check this out, it's a sea-change from his other Batman work, in fact, it's so new-reader friendly, you may as well forget all that crap ever happened. This is a fresh new take on a hoary old franchise, and I would like to see Dick and Damian as a team for quite a while, even if, in all probability Bruce will be back within the year, 2 years tops, because DC have no balls, but it'll be fun while it lasts.

Art - Frank Quitely! The name that strikes terror in the hearts of Jim Lee loving fan boys everywhere! Has there ever been an artist so divisive in comics? You seem to either love him or loathe him. Me, I fall firmly in the love camp, I don't see how anyone could read ASS or We3 and not be amazed at what he does, there's more invention and ideas in his pencil than in most artist's entire body of work. One thing I like about Quitely is how is work is slightly different for each project, and this is no exception, he's using a slightly different style here than he did for Superman, it's darker, more scratchy, more suitable for Batman, Quitely also tries out some new tricks here, most notably the sound effects, he's working them into the art, so when there's an explosion, it makes a 'BOOM' in the smoke, and when there's a splash, the water makes a 'SPLASH!', it's fun, and it seems to me to be much more palatable than normal sfx, which have been the bane of Batman's life since the TV show. I also particularly liked the page showing the Bat-Tower, and the panels cutting into it, showing Alfred's progress down, as a kid I was very interested in stuff like this, images showing the structure of buildings, cut outs, dioramas etc, and this was a nice example of this, and a good example of something that only comics can do, and the kind of innovative structure Morrison and Quitely play with. Also, that aplash page of Batman and Robin jumping out of the Batmobile was the tits. Good stuff, and I just hope Morrison can keep up his writing without Quitely.

Best Line - 'Batman and Robin. Together again for the first time'.

8/10
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Review by Doombug

So here we go again huh? Though this time it feels like something fresh. We have a whole crap load of hints to the new villain who we meet at the end of the issue, who was actually pretty damn disturbing.

Grant is able tow eave in nice little character moments and continuity beats that manage to make me smile. Dick is very stoic while in the Batcave as Alfred talks to him about how Bruce would be proud, which I liked a lot. Oh and Damian being the little shit we've all come to know and love was great too.

Oh and Frank's art is really strong here, this is at the same level of All Star Superman. Oh and it seems Grant decided to take a play out of Geoff Johns book with the preview page at the end.

Grade: Solid 8
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Review by Mr_Batman

What can I say? This was a pretty good start to what I hope will be a good arc. I'm curious to see what is to follow, what with these new villains. Pyg intrigues me. I must say that Morrison did a pretty good job in this issue. I love how Damian is the mechanic for the Batmobile. I think Quitely did a wonderful job, and I'm loving the way he draws the new Batmobile. The paracapes too. That was a wonderful page. Anyways, I'm definitely interested in what is to come. (And I LOVE J.G. Jones's variant)

Story- 9
Art- 9
Overall- 9
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Review by King Impulse

From the very first panel 'BOOM BOOM' spelt out in the very fire of the explosion creating the sound, you know you're in for something special with this comic. Grant Morrison achieves 3 things necessary for this comic to work in my opinion.
1) The great characterisation of Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne as Batman and Robin. Their interactions are beautiful, I love the antagonistic relationship between them, and that Dick is trying to reach out to Damian ("I'd have killed for a flying Batmobile when I was Robin") and Damian's staunch refusal to see himself as anything other than perfect ("If you're not up to it, stand aside Dick Grayson"). Their interactions really sell the book and drive home the 'AND Robin' part of the title.

2) Awesome new villains. Anyone can come to Batman with a fresh #1 and say 'Right, Joker/Two-Face/Riddler/Ivy/Scarecrow/Ra's al Ghul/etc but Morrison drops three new villains on us (people seem to forget the awesomely named 'Phosphorus Rex) with the promise of more to come in the 'Circus of Strange.' Pyg is a very interesting concept, a villain that goes around wanting to twist everything into his sick idea of perfection. If you created the character and then had to assign a hero to be his nemesis, it'd have to be Batman.

3) Batman and Robin being awesome. I don't know why, but my favourite panel in the whole comic is the double punch on Mr. Toad, it's a simple panel, but it evokes great memories of Adam West era Batman, which is looked down on these days, unfortunately. Batman threatening to drop Toad '300ft' was a great, simple interregation scene and the splash of Batman and Robin diving down with the Bat-Signal in the sky behind them? Well, that's just a great segue into the art portion of this review...

Frank Quitely... Is there anything to say? It's Frank FUCKING Quitely, while some may argue with his figures and faces, there is no denying he is one of the greatest storytellers working in comics today. If all comics artist had half of his ability to tell a story, we'd be living in a golden age of the medium.

A brilliant, explosive first issue that has me onboard for the forseeable future, even through the unfortunate Philip Tan issues. I'm really looking forward to seeing Dr. Hurt come back. I'm sorry to anyone that wanted any kool-aid, because I think I drank the whole lot up...

Story - 9
Art - 9.5
Overall - 9

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Review by SuperginraiX

Oh, Batman and Robin, how I know you will ultimately disappoint me but how I desperately want you to be good.

This issue does a good job of showing Dick as Batman while at the same time showing why he really isn't Batman. I know that's odd and probably not what Morrison was going for (or maybe he was-- he thinks in eight dimensions) but it's how it reads. Dick seems more like he's playing at Batman and filling the costume for Bruce's eventual return (which, of course, is eventual and no one's lying to themselves about it). He's uncomfortable and has actual emotions and feelings that, once the cowl come off, make him seem like a more amateurish detective than the protege of Bruce Wayne.

Anyway, the book is filled with ackward lines. It's almost like Morrison is approaching this book from two different perspectives: there's whatever high end crap he's going to eventually pull off and then there's the dialogue straight from a Die Hard movie. Die Hard was great but never, ever analyze the dialogue because it doesn't actually fit most of the scenes. "Crime is doomed." spouted off by, apparently, Dick Grayson. "Batman and Robin. Together again for the first time." again by Dick Grayson and on their second outing together in this very issue (albiet the first visit to the Comissioner). It's weak and kept pulling me out of the book and made me want to watch Die Hard more than anything else.

The villain is suitably villainous though it's pretty certain that... Pyg... won't be joining Batman's rogue's gallery. Maybe he'll get a good run in before disappearing forever/ getting killed off. I guess we'll see.

The art. Quitely is hit or miss and, for me, it's mostly miss. There's some good work within but his faces continue to annoy the hell out of me. The new Robin is particularly Liefeldian in proportions. No seriously. It looks like Liefeld drew it but some of the crosshatching's been erased. Also: no one uses an iron in Gotham City. That is some seriously wrinkled clothes all around. You can add it to the wrinkled skin and... y'know, everything in this book is sort of wrinkled. Could also use an inker to add some line quality to his work. Everything is done with pretty much the same line width with only slight variation within. It looks sort of flat. It's one of the reasons why, precolor, these pages were just sort of blah. The work is saved by very nice coloring and good layouts (and because this is only my opinion and some people actually love this stuff).

The car is cool. The Bat-Suit is cool. Good layouts. Some nice design work. There? I can be positive.

All in all, I'm probably not going to enjoy this when it's in my collection. I should know that and not pick up the next issue and then continue not picking it up. I'm not a Batman fan. I'm not a Morrison fan. I'm certainly not a Quitely fan.

But this thing does call to me. Maybe it's because I'm a Nightwing fan. Maybe it's because the one thing Morrison can do better than anything else is hype. He can make me believe that this thing is gonna be worth it to the point where I don't want to look at it rationally. Maybe this time.

So, I'm in, I guess. We'll see if I can stay excited while waiting for the next issue.

Batman and Robin #1, you get a 7. See you in a few weeks, maybe.

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That gives Batman and Robin #1 a group score of 8.01 easily topping the scores of the two previous Morrison Bat books we've reviewed.

For further discussion about this issue, our reviews and a tag teaming of Chap22 and Zechs' Damian hate, feel free to join us in this week's thread (http://www.theouthousers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=24331) found in the Newstand forum where you are also invited to join the group by posting your own review.
_______________amazingspiderman597.jpg

Former group leader Sire v 2.0 has graced us with his presence once again and made the pick for June 10th Amazing Spider-Man #597 from Marvel Comics.  Look for the new thread after it becomes available Wednesday morning to join in on the fun.

Amazing Spider-Man #597

WRITER: Joe Kelly
PENCILS: Marco Checchetto

AMERICAN SON continues. Spider-Man goes up against Venom and Bullseye as he prepares to infiltrate the Dark Avengers headquarters. Meanwhile Harry’s life takes a dramatic turn now that he’s reunited with Lily and wedding plans continue for two lucky Parker pals. Rated A …$2.99

 

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