By all accounts, Grant Morrison has fashioned quite the reputation for himself as writer and plot master behind all things Batman these past few years. He's put Bruce Wayne's alter ego through the ringer, stacked him with insurmountable odds to face, and orchestrated a journey through time that brings him full circle with his origins and being. If that sounds like a bunch of confusing hokey-pokey, then I don't blame you, it's a long story to follow. However, the payoff has been sweet, and there have been drastic changes to the Bat universe that most fans have embraced and accepted over time. The book I'm reviewing here, Batman and Robin, is the primary title of said change "Batman: Reborn", which showcases the adventures of a new Dynamic Duo protecting Gotham, namely the pairing of Wayne's first ward Dick Grayson and his biological son Damian. The series has run for 16 issues so far, and with the final one written by Morrison in place this week, Grant has once again brought something unexpected to the table, through what many people have summed up as a "game changer". I promise not to mention any reveals or spoilers... that's what the internet is for if you're impatient, haha.
Batman and Robin #16
Written By: Grant MorrisonIllustrated By: Cameron Stewart and Frazer Irving
Cover By: Frank Quitely
As the person responsible for the Dark Knight's undoing and return, Mr. Morrison has dipped his hand in the proverbial well of controversy and presented layers upon layers of mysteries that have kept faithful Bat readers scratching their heads, but persistent enough to keep on reading his books indefinitely. After firmly establishing Dick and Damian as the new Caped Crusaders, Grant has been consistent in portraying their adventures fresh, with new enemies and old adversaries popping up from time to time. However, the Scottish writer hasn't forgotten about Bruce Wayne or the people that have made his life a complete wreck, and all that comes full circle in Batman and Robin #16.
The pieces are set, the cards have been spread on the table, and the original Dark Knight has returned to settle the score with villains who have been a thorn at his and his family's side, namely Dr. Hurt and The Black Glove. Hurt has gone through extreme measures to torture, ruin, and claim the Wayne name for himself, but the new Batman and Robin have constantly thwarted his plans, and now that Bruce Wayne is back, it's time to give the devil his dues. Unfortunately, the good doctor doesn't give up without a fight, and he's going to put the Batfamily through one final showdown before everything's said and done... with a big change in store that no one could see coming!
Going to the nitty and gritty, anyone who hasn't followed Grant Morrison's Batman tales will most likely be lost at what's going on throughout most of the issue. Most of the plot is spread throughout other books in the Batman spectrum, particularly the miniseries "Batman: the Return of Bruce Wayne", which chronicles the original Batman's time skipping journey to return to the present. That series has yet to wrap up as of this writing, but it's already a forgone conclusion that Wayne will and has returned as of this issue and the recently concluded "Bruce Wayne: The Road Home" series of one shots released this past October. Story elements incorporated in said books and past story arcs like R.I.P and The Black Glove will finally wrap up as well here, and it's a sigh of relief longtime Morrison Batreaders can breath after everything is said and done. However, Morrison leaves this book not with a satisfactory ending... but a "game-changing" ending that has sent the press and interwebz into a media frenzy. The ramifications, of course, will be felt on Morrison's next endeavor, Batman Incorporated, which sees The Dark Knight's mission taken to a whole new level. What that is, I'm sure many of you know by this point, and in my opinion it's the next logical step that I find promising and exciting for the future of the World's Greatest Detective. I don't intend to spoil the surprise if you don't, so pick up the issue ASAP.
Grant Morrison ends his run on Batman and Robin with a bang, and his writing is complimented by the rich lineup of artists onboard who have worked with the Scottish writer throughout his 16 issue run on the book. Cameron Stewart and Frazer Irving serve up satisfying dishes of their respective artworks in this entire issue, and even nitpickers will come to admire their works one way or the other. Other longtime Morrison collaborator Frank Quitely serves up the cover to this issue... one of his most memorable ones yet. It's a good way to cap things off, and certainly a nice way to promote the new direction The Dark Knight and his fight is going!
Rating - 10/10