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Review Group - Batman and Robin #13

Written by John Martin on Tuesday, July 13 2010 and posted in Reviews

Daringd had the pick for new comics shipping July 8th and he selected Batman and Robin #13 by Grant Morrison and Frazier Irving.


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The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse’s News Stand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate.

Is there anyone working in comics today more universally loved than Grant Morrison? You never see fans of his getting accused of being tripped out Kool-Aid drinkers like you do with fans of other creators. Wait, what?!
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0708-batmanandrobin13_cover.jpgReview by starlord

Batman and Robin #13

or

A Moment in the Home of Starlord

Mightymouse: Honey, why are you coming down the stairs with that weird look on your face?

Starlord: Shut the hell up!

Mightymouse: What? What's wrong with you? Why is there blood coming out of your nose and ears?

Starlord: I told you to shut hell up! Don't make me come over there and snap you in half!

Mightymouse: Oh God... you did it didn't you... you read HIM again?!

*Starlord throws table lamp into wall*

Starlord: Leave me alone! I told you I could handle it!

Mightymouse: Oh baby, you promised me. You said you'd never touch his shit again. YOU PROMISED ME YOU BASTARD!!!!

Starlord: I'm sorry. *sob* I didn't want to but its my friends. Just when I think I've gotten away from that crap they keep pulling me back in. Please... baby... please give me another chance.

Mightymouse: No, not anymore. You disgust me. Look at what that hack does to you. You're bleeding out of every orifice of your body. It's shit, Starlord! Pure shit! I can't watch you destroy yourself like this.

Starlord: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The moral of this story is: Finding a kernal of corn in a pile of dog shit doesn't make the kernal any cooler.

My Score: 0

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Review by guitarsmashley

This issue was awesome except for the art. The just didn't truly fit but that's what happens I guess. otherwise it was compelling it was quirky and it was well told. I just didn't know the world had established That there is a new batman in town. And the bit with the joker is just furthering of how Damien isn't just coming into his own but growing.

7 would have been higher but the art knocks off 2 points.

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Review by Eli Katz

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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Review by Punchy

Story - I'm of two minds about this issue of Batman And Robin. My first mind, is that this issue is one of the best Batman comics I've read in a long time, and up there with the excellent Quitely-drawn opening story of this issue. The other mind was reminded of the horrors of Batman RIP and was not pleased with what he saw.

Let's start with the positives. This issue was full of great surprising moments and character bits. I've really enjoyed how Grant Morrison has played with the idea of Batman and Robin, of the Dynamic Duo, and how in many ways he has inverted our expectations. Batman is level-headed, and Robin is a psycho. No better has that been expressed than in Damian Wayne's 'interrogation' of the Joker. It's unsettling to see a child act in such a way, but as fans of Kick-Ass will know, it's also pretty awesome. When Batman is worried about the Joker's health, you know things are serious.

And for once, the Joker is serious. I loved Morrison's portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime here, after previously not enjoying his take at all. Seeing the Joker as a broken man without his Batman was strange indeed, and it adds another edge to the character. I also loved Damian attacking head on all the contradictions within the Joker, he loves chaos but he plans meticulously. In many ways, Morrison's Batman run as a whole has been about attempting to resolve all of the contradictions in Batman's 60-year history. He hasn't really succeeded, but it's a noble attempt, and has lead to some awesome moments like this.

The crazy-mad plan of Doctor Hurt is also a plus here, addictions you can catch is just plausible and just ridiculous enough to fit both sides of Batman's contradictory nature, and added to that is the return of the magnificently odd Mister Pyg and his Dollotron's, you've got a perfect storm of weirdness. I've often felt that Batman And Robin is not just a Batman comic, but is more, a true pop-culture artifact. The bright primary colours of each cover, the short 3-issue stories. This is Batman as pop-art, and I love it.

But then there's my other mind, the mind that is confused as all hell by the opening three pages and couldn't give a fuck about who Doctor Hurt is or what the deal is with Thomas Wayne and hate, hate, hated Batman RIP. The opening of the book is certainly very well done, playing with some very famous Bat-iconography (the Year One cover) and expectations, and ending with Hurt shooting Batman right in his head. But I didn't understand it. We know Bruce Wayne wasn't killed then, so when did this happen? Did it happen? I don't particularly care, but it's annoying. I'm reading Batman for the pop-art fun and to see Dick and Damian interact, not for Morrison's mind-bending epic story that doesn't even really make sense. Maybe I should re-read RIP or something, but I don't want to do that, and any comic which makes me think of that has a black mark (or black glove) against it. Maybe I'm just unwilling to go beneath the surface, I'm appreciating The Return Of Bruce Wayne on the level of 'OMG! Cowboy Batman is awesome!' rather than all the time-travel and Darkseid gubbins. Am I shallow? Probably, but then Batman is shallow too.

I can't really complain though, even the parts of the issue that annoyed me were well done and cleverly written. After flagging a little with the Philip Tan arc, Batman and Robin has really picked itself up to once again become the only Batman title worth even considering, it's poppy and fun, but if you want to go deeper (unlike philistines like me), you certainly can. I'm just glad that for once a Morrison story is accessible to more casual readers like myself. Final Crisis was just as confusing, but it wasn't even fun. This is fun. Albeit not for the Joker.

Art - Frazer Irving is an artist I find it hard to be objective about, I've met him like 5 times and he's a really nice dude, so even when he puts out work that isn't his best, like Return Of Bruce Wayne #2 (OMG! Puritan Batman kicks ass!), I still love it. Luckily, he's back to his best here. The colour palette is still dark, but it's lighter, and boy... is his Joker creepy as hell, the texture used for his skin is... horrifying. I also loved how Batman's costume was almost a matte black, and his use of red in pages involving the new Batmobile. Irving really understands the importance of light and darkness. While in my heart of hearts I want Frank Quitely to draw every issue of B&R, Irving, along with Andy Clarke and Cameron Stewart, have proven themselves to be perfect for the book's tone and style.

Best Line - 'It's not him. It's the Joker I'm worried about'

7/10

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Review by Blue Streak

Grant Morrison’s Batman and Robin is a Batman book of two worlds. The first exists in Morrison’s mind, the world where the wildest and craziest ideas push the limits of fiction and storytelling. The second is Batman’s established home, the world of Gotham City and the Dark Knight, built up with over 70 years of tales. Morrison’s continuing Batman story begins to escalate even further, culminating of a second possible death of a Batman.

Morrison’s writing continues to be hit or miss. It’s almost as if he writes one or two issues of quality storytelling to draw the readers in and then hits them with a concentrated mess of Morrison gobbily gook. This issue certainly falls in the latter category. In one issue, the reader is treated to pages of Morrison’s Batman piecing together nonexistent clues solving a mystery of a character introduced only a few issues prior. Then, the reader gets another batch of Batman expositing that a disaster averted in the first issues was actually part an even more devious plot which happens to be set into motion at the end of the issue. It’s deliberately heavy-handed story telling that harkens back to the Silver Age. On the plus side, Morrison continues to endear Damien Wayne, current Robin and Batman of the future. Over the last several months, the Batbooks in general have made him a likable little shit, obnoxious yet enjoyable to read. This book proves no exception.

Frazer Irving’s art continues to disappoint in high profile books. His oversimplified style of art doesn’t mesh well with the high-tech, spastic Morrison Batman book. Between the lack of backgrounds in most of his panels to the additions of wrinkle lines on the face of every character in the book, it simply fails to deliver a needed punch.

Hopefully, with Morrison’s standard exposition dump now out of the way, he can focus more on delivering a quality story instead of exploring how far he can push the envelope with a high-profile book.

Story: 5.5
Art: 4
Overall: 4.75

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Review by Daringd

Batman and Robin #13 is what a comic book should be. Frazer Irving knocked it out of the park on art. His Joker sent chills up my spine. Grant really seems to be reaching the Climax of this storyline he's been working on since his first issue of Batman. The scene between Joker and Damien was worth $2.99 alone.

Simply put best issue of Batman and Robin yet

10/10

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Review by Victorian Squid

I've read the first half of Morrison's B&R run so far, and was planning on reading this arc when it's released in tpb but since I've loosely followed spoilers and flipped through the occasional floppy recently I figured it was no big deal to switch gears and buy this issue. Maybe I'd be hooked and return to buying the single issues.

It's a fairly entertaining comic on its own, but people who say it's not like R.I.P. can argue that all day long and I'll still have some of the same concerns when reading Batman & Robin as I did when R.I.P. was about halfway through and I started to get this little worry in the back of my head that all the little tantalizing clues weren't really going to add up to much more than window dressing, or story dressing if you will.

I just finished re-reading The Invisibles for the second or third time for no real reason other than I was rummaging through some stuff in storage and they turned up. One of the best things about that book was the way a lot of the little details or subplots came together later or in the end, and made the over-all story richer--the clues added up to something. Something still open to a lot of interpretation on the reader's part but not the garbled mess of pointless clues and dodges that R.I.P. was at the end. I suppose you could argue that The Invisibles is a long run of comics, and Morrison's run on Batman-Final Crisis-Return of Bruce Wayne-Batman & Robin may all add up to a complete story in the end--maybe so, but R.I.P. was still not a satisfying piece of it.

The point in the issue where Dick is stating "Fact 1: Dominoes. Informally known as bones." makes me worry there's some half-baked detective work going on. It sounds like Adam West should be wearing the cowl in this scene. But, if Dick's got everything all figured out since he was 12, he wouldn't be getting shot, at least so it appears, in the future several pages earlier. Needs a large exit wound though, or I figure this is just more theatrics.

I admit I'm intrigued by the return of Dr Hurt, since not giving the reader anything coherent in the slightest regarding this character was one of R.I.P.'s weaknesses. I still don't get him, but the alternate scenes of the Wayne's after seeing Zorro are pretty compelling. Seems as though this may tie into Return of Bruce Wayne maybe, so it gives me hope this may all make some sense in the end.

The pages with Damian and The Joker were the best part of this issue, Frazer Irving's art really pulls off the scene. I like his take on B&R even though the lack of background detail occasionally annoyed me. More often than not the background tones and hues were deftly handled, but I still like to see where people are at once in a while.

After reading this issue a few times, all I can say about the chance of me buying #14 is, it's possible.

7

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Review by Jude Terror

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4/10

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Review by GLX

Not the sharpest issue from Morrison, but it's still a winner. Frank Irving's work is odd, but I found it to be pleasant to my eyes. The highlight of the comic is the exchange between Damien and Joker. Looking at Damien beating the shit out of Joker with a crowbar was awesome.

7.9* out of 10*

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Review by John Snow

Grant Morrison's Batman run feels like it's been going forever. While fan men all across the internet rage, I lol. Damian Wayne is the only character in the DCU worth reading and it's been that way since Batman & Robin #1. Now we've got Damian locked in a room with The Joker? Instant win. I don't care about whatshisname pretending to be Thomas Wayne and all that, honestly I gave up on keeping track of all that shit back in RIP. I just want to see Damian whack a bitch with a crowbar and Morrison delivered. Dick and Gordon's interaction was cool too. Morrison may be weaving some crazy web of convoluted continuity, but the strength of Batman & Robin throughout the 13 issues has been the character moments and this issue is no exception.

Frazier Irving's recent Return of Bruce Wayne may have been a hot mess of WTF, but he has more than redeemed himself here. From the page design to the whacked out stylization there was something exciting going on on every page.

Story: 8
Art: 10
Overall: 9
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That gives Batman and Robin #13 a group score of 6.39. Grant Morrison: Nothing but puppy dogs and rainbows since 1978.

I was too busy bragging about finding a copy of Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour before it's official release to bother reading last week's thread , but I'm sure it was fascinating. If you want, you can check it out yourself in The News Stand forum and post your own review.
Comment or post your own review!
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48THRiLLS has the pick for next week and he has selected Gorilla-Man #1 published by Marvel Comics. Look for the new anthropomorphic friendly thread after it becomes available Wednesday morning.

0714-gorilla-man_cover.jpgGorilla-Man #1

WRITER: Jeff Parker
PENCILS: GIANCARLO CARACUZZO

"If you kill the magical Gorilla-Man, you become immortal." Shooting from the pages of ATLAS, comes an all-new exploration of fan-favorite GORILLA MAN! Yes, Ken Hale is blessed with might and cursed with inhumanity, but you don't know the entire tale, and how his history may destroy his present! See his storied past as an Agent of Atlas, a soldier of fortune, an ally of the Avengers, and a Howling Commando! Three incredible issues by JEFF PARKER (ATLAS, THUNDERBOLTS, FALL OF THE HULKS ALPHA) and GIANCARLO CARACUZZO (ATLAS)! Plus a "Many Legends of the Gorilla Man" reprint. Rated T …$3.99


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