I liked the first issue of Batman and Robin a lot, but the second issue is even better, on both the writing and the art side of things, which makes for a great comic book.
The first issue of the series was spent more or less on introducing the concept of the book (Dick as Batman and Damian as Robin), so with that out of the way, Morrison can do a lot more character based stuff, and it’s really striking to see his take on Dick Grayson as Batman. Dick and Alfred have a long conversation that adds a lot of nice insights into both characters. I especially like how this is such a bigger deal for Dick than when he was filling in for Bruce during Prodigal. There’s a significant difference between filling in for Batman while Bruce was taking a break to recover from Knightfall and actually BECOMING the next Batman, and Morrison does a great job showing how the two situations are dramatically different, and how the current situation weighs on Dick a great deal more than Prodigal. It’s a nice nod to those people who think, “But Dick WAS Batman before!”
Meanwhile, Damian continues to be the flame that is getting dangerously close to the powder keg, as Dick is having an increasingly difficult time getting Damian to respect him, but in this issue, we get a clearer sense of WHY Dick is willing to put up with Damian’s nonsense (I especially love how he refers to Damian’s behavior as practically supervillain-esque).
Quitely is given a lot of action to draw in this issue, and hoo boy, it was awesome!! Dick and Damian taking on two new Circus-themed villains was brilliantly executed. Quitely was good in #1, but in #2 he had a lot more to do and it was amazing. I also liked how Morrison worked in the circus slang in such a way that you instantly got that whether you understood it or not, it was clearly circus slang (and Morrison even had Dick expressly say it was circus slang, just for the slow kids in the class).
The first meeting between Gordon and the new Batman and Robin was handled well.
But mostly, the highlights of the issue were the character work on Batman and Robin (telling the story out of chronological order was a great idea), especially the bit where Alfred explains how Dick should approach his “take” on Batman, comparing being the next Batman to playing the great roles of theater, like Richard III or Stanley Kowalski. Great stuff. And seeing Robin beating answers out of the villain then showing anger at the idea that he not only can’t kill, but now he has to be nice to the police, TOO?!?! Hilarious.
The issue was a fun read, with great action, great art and great characterization – what more do you need?
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