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Batman and Robin #12 Review

by  in Comic News Comment
Batman and Robin #12 Review

The Batman vs. Robin arc concludes this issue with the revelation of who Oberon Sexton is.

It’s a strong conclusion while still working as a good introduction to the next step in the Batman Mythos.

First off, cool Quitely cover.

The preview for the issue shows the beginning of the book, where Dick Grayson figures out the identity of the bad guy who is controlling Damian. It’s pretty neat…

Andy Clarke’s art is not as sharp in this issue as the first two, but it’s still good. What I was REALLY amazed by was Scott Hanna’s brilliant work making the substitute pages by Dustin Nguyen fit in almost seamlessly.

Can you imagine having a handful of Dustin Nguyen pages mixed into an Andy Clarke penciled book and having it not really stand out like a sore thumb? That was someone managed in this issue, as Nguyen just did breakdowns, allowing Hanna to finish the work in such a way that it seemed pretty close, visually, to the Andy Clarke penciled pages that Hanna inked. Since Nguyen and Clarke’s styles are nothing alike, it’s a really impressive feat.

In any event – I will admit to not paying as much attention to the identity of Oberon Sexton as I should have. I now wish that I had, if only to see if I would have come to the truth of the situation before it was revealed in this issue.

You know, forget it, let’s go SPOILERS HERE, PEOPLE!!!!!

Okay, spoilers are coming! Be forewarned!

Oberon Sexton is the Joker, and so is the Domino Killer. I mostly went for spoilers because I want to hear from you smart people what the jokes are that the Joker used to do the Domino killing. By the by, it was made pretty clear back in RIP that Joker was going to get revenge on the Black Glove people that he felt mistreated him, so it was pretty clear that he was going to be related to the Domino Killer. Him being Sexton, TOO, is pretty neat. I can’t wait to go back and re-read his earlier appearances.

Morrison actually made reference to DC Universe continuity this issue!! He has Dick Grayson acknowledge that Slade Wilson played a major role in the destruction of Dick’s former town, Bludhaven. While it was nice to see Morrison make such an acknowledgment, it was a bit weird for me, because once you DO acknowledge it, why then would Dick not stop at anything to take Slade down? Seemed odd that he would be, “Oh, you’re the guy who helped to kill 100,000 people – but I got other things to deal with at the moment, so I’ll deal with you later (in other words, some OTHER writer will deal with THAT story).”

Damian breaks from his mother in a brilliant little piece of dialogue where he firmly establishes himself as a member of the Bat-family and as an enemy of the Al Ghul family. I love how Talia basically became WORSE than her father ever was in parenting – it was a cool case of the whole “I learned it from you, Dad! I learned it from watching YOU!” method of parental relationships (an alternative to the “I learned it from you” would be Sondheim’s “Be careful the things you say, children will listen.”).

I know a certain commenter who will be pleased to see Dick Grayson pretty convincingly take down Slade Wilson (through Dick’s extensive knowledge of how Slade’s enhanced senses work – a shock to Damian will hurt Damian, but it will REALLY affect Slade, since his nervous system was wired to Damian’s).

The set-up to the whole “Return of Bruce Wayne” stuff was handled nicely and oh boy, Dr. Hurt is almost back – I can’t wait to see that!

And, of course, it’ll be interesting to see Morrison explain Joker’s motivations behind becoming Oberon Sexton. Is it a bit of a “Going Sane” type of thing? Without the Dark Knight Detective around, Joker himself becomes one? Interesting.

Speaking of detectives, I like how Dick is given his props as a detective in this issue, also how Morrison seems to be laying the groundwork for how Bruce’s plans REQUIRED Dick to take over as Batman, because if not for that, no one else could figure out the clues – well played, Bruce, well played.

As I said in the beginning of the piece, this issue is also interesting because it gives us a firm conclusion while ALSO giving us a cliffhanger. That’s not an easy task to do (give a real “ending” to your story while still branching off to the next story), and Morrison has pulled it off two arcs in a row now.

Man, if it were not for those Tan issues…boy, this series would be one hell of a complete read (as is, it is still great, but when a full QUARTER of the issues so far have been sketchy, it’s a big drag).

But as for this issue (and this arc, really) – Recommended.

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