In a surprising twist, Batman and Robin #11 featured a guest star from regular DC Comics continuity – it sure wasn’t something I expected, but it worked.
The rest of the issue was strong, as Andy Clarke continues his impressive arc on the series.
First off, great cover throwback to the cover for #1…
A little talked about brilliant aspect of the covers of Batman and Robin has been the brilliant use of primary colors – when you put this cover and the one for #10 (with the strong red background) together on a comic book rack, they leap out from the other comics on the rack.
Clarke, by the way, delivers a beautiful variant cover brimming with dynamism…
This issue re-introduces the evil Doctor Hurt, last seen in Batman RIP. His introduction is quite foreboding, and Morrison and Clarke do a wonderful job introducing just how creepy this guy is, as we first see him getting a scourging, of all things!
And you gotta love “Double You” as a clue.
The rest of the issue mixes between Batman (Dick Grayson) investigating the clues he believes Bruce Wayne is leaving him from the past, while Robin (Damian Wayne) and Oberon Sexton fight a few thugs (but, of course, as we saw last issue, Damian’s mother, Talia, is secretly controlling Damian’s body – there’s a cute/creepy scene where we see Talia relishing her ability to fully control her child’s every movement – so Sexton is not as safe as he might think).
The most impressive aspect of the issue is the way that Morrison and Clarke manage to put together a brisk, fun and action-packed issue that is basically her to deliver exposition and set up the players for the next part of the overall arc. For the book to remain as entertaining as it is is a strong testament to the abilities of Clarke and Morrison – Clarke, in particular, seems to improve on his work from last issue, which was already quite good.
Clarke has this one splash page, where Damian makes a guess as to Sexton’s identity – and I could only marvel at what this cool, well-delivered page would have looked like in the hands of a weaker artist.
Here’s a good double-page spread by Clarke showing Dick investigating the tunnels below Wayne Manor when he is notified by Alfred of the problems besieging Damian and Sexton (click to enlarge)…
Anyhow, this all leads to a twist at the end where we see who Talia has gotten to fully control Damian in battle with Dick – it’s a great continuity nod, and I am sure folks who complain that Dick never gets a good win against this character, well, they’ll be in for a treat next issue.
Last issue probably had a little more interesting little hints and tidbits, but it’s not like this issue was devoid of them.
Generally, though, it was just an enjoyable jaunt with strong art and a great set-up for next issue.
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