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Thoughts Like Shattered Glass

March 19, 2010

The return of the the evil clone Batman concludes in Batman and Robin #9, with Alfred Pennyworth and the injured Damian Wayne, the current Robin, stuck fending against him by themselves.  Batman tells Knight and Squire how Batwoman died, which was by deliberately overdosing on morphine, and they all start digging up the Lazarus Pit to resurrect her.  At Wayne Tower, the evil Batman tries to kill Damian, but Damian and Alfred manage to hold him off with various tools, including a mouse, a wheelchair, and an elevator.  This Batman’s voice is extremely off, his words almost unintelligible, and his skin starts to decay.  Even he himself claims that he was born broken.  Batwoman is revived, and one of her friends helps the gang get out of the tunnels.  Damian sets the evil Batman on fire, but evil Batman ends up tossing him off Wayne Tower.  Dick arrives just in time to save the day, and he and Batwoman make quick work of the clone Batman, with the final blow coming from Dick.  Batwoman flies off (not literally), and Knight and Squire track down King Coal to bring him to justice.  Then, in the aftermath, after Damian has healed, Dick admits that Tim Drake, Red Robin, was right: Bruce Wayne really is alive out there somewhere, and they have to find him.

Well, this was definitely a fun arc that not only answers the question about the body of Bruce Wayne back in Final Crisis but also advances the characters of Dick and Damian and the whole of the current Batman narrative.  I really like the three substitute dynamic duos for this issue, Alfred and Damian, Batman and Batwoman, and Knight and Squire.  Alfred and Damian in particular work surprisingly well with each other.  The clone Batman was also a great method for demonstrating how everything that Bruce Wayne has gone through would drive normal people, even seemingly exact copies of him, insane.  That trippy scene with Catwoman dressed as the Riddler, Joker dressed as Robin, Bane dressed as Scarecrow and classic Azrael, etc. was just nuts.  Cameron Stewart was a very good artist for this arc on the whole, as he’s got the same solid basics as Frank Quitely with none of the awkward wrinkles.  Unfortunately, it is a tad less dynamic than Quitely’s work, but only a tad.  I especially liked his illustration of Batwoman gasping for air in the Lazarus Pit.  I love Grant Morrison’s elaboration on the British crime scene, with King Coal and Pearly Charlie English.  On the other hand, I question his use of Batwoman.  In the end, I didn’t entirely understand her involvement in the story, as opposed to Knight and Squire.  Even still, this was a great arc.  Again, the previous arc was a hiccup, and Morrison’s back to telling quality Batman stories.  I can’t want to see Dick and Damian beat the crap out of each other next arc.

Plot: 9.0      Art: 9.0      Dialogue: 9.0      Overall: 9.0

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