Morrison’s Batman and Robin continues to decline slowly without Frank Quitely, but Morrison is nonetheless still telling engaging stories and doing some of the most entertaining Bat-work around. Picking up on a clever bit of metacommentary as Dick and Damian find their fates at the hands of a fickle public, much like Jason himself all those years ago. The issue functions largely as a lengthy fight, but a surprising amount gets done throughout, from Damian’s chance at redemption to Scarlet’s ultimate fate, while Todd himself sets Dick on the path that leads to next issue: Blackest Knight. It’s tightly plotted and well-scripted, but falls largely short in the art.
This was Philip Tan’s weakest issue by quite a bit. The climactic struggle between Batman and Robin, Red Hood and Scarlet, and Flamingo was often fairly muddled. In Final Crisis: Revelations, Tan largely did a good job keeping his brief fight scenes flowing smooth and clear despite the overwhelming darkness of his art. Here, he loses a lot of that clarity, and his art seems rushed and, at times, incoherent.
The issue, which was by and large the bleakest issue of the series yet, nonetheless ended on a peculiarly hopeful image, and while I’m sad to lose a potentially interesting character, I’m glad to see her story end. This arc did a pretty big number of Damian, too, and the images this leaves us with suggests that the next issue won’t be any kinder to him or Dick. Still, Morrison is doing a lot to make the kid grow up, and, though this arc wasn’t nearly as strong as the previous one, is doing so in one of the most entertaining action books on the shelves.
- Cal Cleary