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The Dysfunctional Duo

July 15, 2009

Continuing the first whirlwind arc of Batman and Robin, the two titular characters arrive at the Gotham City Police Department to interrogate Mr. Toad.  The other members of the Circus of the Strange show up and attack the police department, and they start a brawl with Batman and Robin.  Damian  fights a big fat person who may or may not be a man, and Dick fights a burning man and what I think are conjoined triplets.  I’m not sure of those really exist in nature, but whatever.  Damian goes overboard in trying to interrogate the fat person, and Mr. Toad is somehow killed right under everyone’s noses.  Damian refuses to respect Dick and rides off in a fit, and Alfred Pennyworth gives Dick an actor’s pep talk.  Damian ends up finding one of Professor Pyg’s newest dolls, presumably one of the characters from the last issue, who warns him to look behind him.  More dolls then attack Damian, and even more of them go around the city blowing themselves up.

Now, I can’t say that I know exactly what Pyg’s trying to do here.  His objective seems to be a mixture of anarchy and homogenization through making everyone his dolls.  Whether its one, the other, or both, he’s extremely screwed up, and in the same way as the rest of Batman’s rogues gallery.  He fits perfectly.  The conflict between Damian and Dick is also perfect, fitting with Grant Morrison’s previous characterization of the bratty new Robin.  And Morrison’s version of the Dick Grayson self-doubting is probably the only one that doesn’t sound like him whining, since it actually acknowledges the biggest problem with Dick being Batman: other people realize that he isn’t the original.  Frank Quitely’s faces are a bit better in this issue, but they’re still pretty dang ugly.  However, he does draw an extremely obese person very well.  Overall, this is the most fun that Batman has been in a long time.  It’s a great new take on a concept that has seen the same topics covered many times over in the past few years, which I personally find to be  highly refreshing.

Plot: 9.4      Art: 7.9      Dialogue: 9.1      Overall: 9.0

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