Comic Book Review: Batman and Robin #13

Batman and Robin #13

Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Frazer Irving

Published by DC Comics

I know just enough.

I won’t pretend to know everything that’s going on in Batman and Robin #13. I’m not sure I’d believe anyone who said that they conclusively know everything laid out in these pages. But I know enough to understand the basics of what’s going on, and I know enough to know that I want to know more. It’s a rare commodity in a comic book these days to tell a story and leave your reader wanting more, but Grant Morrison has been doing that with Batman for years now.

If and when they repackage Morrison’s run on the various Bat-books as multiple Absolute collections, I can only hope they include a #0 volume containing Morrison and Dave McKean’s Arkham Asylum, because that’s where the story begins. Many people are probably confused by Morrison’s depiction of the Joker in Batman and Robin #13, but it’s in keeping with the view of the character Morrison laid out in Arkham Asylum. I’m thrilled to see that come to fruition.

Morrison also continues to show that he understands the difference between Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson, and does so without being heavy handed. At no point do we get an issue filled with “this is what Bruce was like, this is what Dick is like.” Morrison gives us their differences in smaller ways, like how Dick calls Commissioner Gordon by his title as opposed to “Jim,” or how Gordon tells him that the members of Gotham PD like Dick better than Bruce. Both moments ring true to the characters, and indicate that the title of this series might not be a reference to Dick and Damien, but to Bruce and Dick.

Frazer Irving is a fantastic artist and well suited for a book of stark contrasts. His Joker harkens back to Bob Kane’s original depiction. Here, he looks like someone who could really exist, deformed, yes, but not exaggerated to the point of being absurd.

On one hand, I don’t want this series to ever end. I really enjoy reading about Dick Grayson and Damien Wayne. I love the dynamic that Morrison has set up. But on the other hand, I can’t wait until it reaches its conclusion, just so I can go back and read it from the beginning. I can only imagine all the wonderful new moments and fantastic revelations I’ll pick up on when I can read the story as a whole.

I can remember the last time I was ever so eager to go back and read my back issues. Oh, wait, yes, I can: it was the last time a Grant Morrison written Batman title was released.

(Originally published at www.comicbulletins.com)