It's been a spectacular Batman title blowout last week, and while each and every story bordered tilted between both the good and the bad, there's no denying that even with Bruce Wayne's death, the Bat books have been going strong with the proteges holding down the fort for their mentor. Among the basket of books related to Batman: Reborn, the one I've enjoyed most so far is Batman And Robin, with stellar writing delivered by the unpredictable and cunning Grant Morrison. Despite what happened when he pulled Bruce out of the picture in R.I.P, the man breathed new life into the Batman title by making the revolving door spin around and pass the mantle of the bat to Dick Grayson, who's now burdened with greater responsibility.
Batman and Robin #6
Written By: Grant Morrison
Illustrated By: Philip Tan
Cover By: Frank Quitely
After their defeat at the hands of Red Hood and Scarlet, the new Batman and Robin find themselves striped bare and exposed to a "trap" that could compromise everything they've fought to keep a secret. As the duo work to escape their predicament and chase their adversaries, they realize that the pendulum has struck and more trouble is brewing ahead. As a result of all the trouble he's caused, Jason Todd is attacked by the mob's hitman, El Flamingo, who's eyes show no compassion and mercy whatsoever. The gun for hire makes short work of the new Red Hood, and laughs maniacally despite every injury he sustains. Desperate to save her partner, Scarlet tries to subdue their attacker, but is herself put down and left under the mercy of the insane killer. With all the pieces out in the open and little time left, can Batman and Robin stop the madness before it's too late?
As we hit the sixth issue is what is turning out to be a classic series, we come to the end of the Red Hood and Scarlet saga. Truth be told, I wasn't too sure is matching those two against Dick and Damian would work out, but Morrison prevailed in delivering the kind of tension one cannot predict at any given moment. Straight out of the 60's Adam West show, a "precarious situation" awaits our steadfast heroes, a result of a sound defeat at the hands of "Gotham's new protectors". It's funny that even if it looks obvious the heroes will escape, Morrison does it anyway and pulls a trap gag that's both a cliche to crime/ suspense situations and a dumb move on the villains part. Even so, it's the moment and dialogue that makes this particular situation work well to the book's advantage.
On the other side of the coin, Jason Todd and his new partner run into their own set of problems, as all the provocation and damage they've done to the mob in the past two issues comes biting back with the introduction of the international gun for hire, El Flamingo. This is where things get a little moot. Since Morrison took on the Caped Crusader for the past couple of years, he's introduced a whole new number of villains and characters that hardly make the cut as Bat Rogue material, yet some of them work to further the plot forward. Flamingo doesn't fall in that category, unfortunately, and his place in this book is just simply a wild card left to run amok and give the heroes (and anti-heroes) a hard time. The design isn't even memorable either, and while the Frank Quitely drawn cover pays tribute to Prince's Purple Rain, I'm still not impressed with the new crazy guy. Batman has tons of classic villains to use in his rogues gallery, so it should have been a good opportunity to bring someone like the Joker or Zsasz back. However, one of the themes of this storyline centers on Jason's cause "Let The Punishment Fit The Crime", and with that said, Flamingo fate by the end of this issue ends up being the reason why he was created in the first place.
As for the main characters involved, I'd give a big thumbs up to Morrison for fleshing out how Badass Jason Todd and Scarlett can be. The former's been the ultimate rebel and anti-hero in the Bat family, and it's all come to a head as he's finally come to terms with who he is. Salvation has never been an option for the former Robin, and upon taking up the mantle of the Red Hood, he's never turned back on his plans to fight crime his own way. As for Robin and Scarlet, something big happens to both of them that will change them for a while, that's all I can say. And Dick Bats? Well, by issue's end, Jason's words strike a cord in him that sets up what is possibly going to be the biggest storyline yet in the book since the events of Batman: R.I.P. What that is, I'm not telling, but the newest DC Solicits have already confirmed my suspicions of what Dick's tempted to do, evidence that's further supported by the last two pages of the current issue.
As we close up, I have to congratulate Grant Morrison and Philip Tan for a job well done on Batman And Robin. I have to hand it to the latter especially, as his pencils jive well with the dark and drama that's overflowing in this book. Once again, a new artist will be paired up with Grant for the next storyline beginning next issue, and how the pencils will fair, we'll just have to wait and see. For you guys who haven't tried out Batman And Robin yet, I encourage you to pick it up. This issue's may be so so alone, but everything is undoubtedly good as a whole. The first six issues may and well be sold out, but the Hard Cover's due this coming February, so catch it if you can, it's pure Bat action at its finest.
Score - 8/10