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Batman and Robin #21

by  in Comic Reviews Comment
Batman and Robin #21

“It’s nights like this that I wish I had a damn teaching degree.” I’m not sure if I’m in the majority or the minority on this one, but I enjoyed the living heck out of Tomasi’s run on “Nightwing” back in the day. Logically, having Tomasi write Dick Grayson as Batman would seem to appeal to me as well, right? You’re darn right it does! As he did in “Nightwing,” Tomasi makes Grayson a serious character, devoted to his work and to saving others, but he never loses his humanity in the cowl as frequently has happened to Bruce Wayne. Tomasi puts humanity into all of the characters in this book, even making Damian almost likeable. I said almost.

The White Knight of Gotham strikes again in this issue, building upon the pace of last issue and striking at the Langstrom family in particular. Tomasi uses this issue and the attempt to take the lives of Francine, Aaron, and Rebecca Langstrom as the vehicle to clue us in to the White Knight’s plot. It leads to a very creepy scene focused on the Knight and more than one more successful slaying.

Gleason knocked my socks off with the exposition of the self-proclaimed White Knight. It’s a simple page composition of three vertical columns across a spread, but the left column is broken into three panels while the middle panel also serves as backdrop for the panels to either side. The White Knight is luminescent, and his brightness eliminates all detail, but that makes him all the more dramatic set against Gleason’s and Gray’s intricately detailed pages. White Knight wields a weapon of some degree that could have been drawn in a Kirbyesque manner, but Gleason chooses to use the Kirby design as a guide and makes the weapon very clearly all his own, combining Kirby, Perez, and McQuarrie in one design.

As Gleason did with the aliens in “Green Lantern Corps,” he does here with the Dark Knight and Boy Wonder, but he doesn’t stop there. The architecture of Gotham City is meticulous and very clearly drawn as opposed to SketchUp generated or photo-traced. Alex Sinclair colors the heck out of this book, washing out the characters as they plunge to the illuminated streets below, casting a glow around the White Knight, and putting wear and tear on Commissioner Gordon’s overcoat. This book is so stunning in its detail that it almost becomes tangible. Gotham feels cold and damp, the White Knight’s explosion hot.

The only Batbook I’ve given my coin to on a regular basis has been “Batgirl,” which I will continue to do so. Recently, Scott Snyder, Jock, and Francesco Francavilla made “Detective” a must-read. Now, however, it appears as though I’ll be making room for some more Batbooks. I’m dialed into this book for as long as Tomasi and Gleason are on board.