Batman and Robin #9 marks the conclusion of the book’s third arc. With this, only a single arc remains of the pop action book before “The Return of Bruce Wayne” takes over, and the book will be missed. “Darkest Knight” has been an action-packed arc featuring excellent moments not only from the usual suspects – Batman and Batwoman – but also a few lesser knows who’ve long deserved more time in the spotlight – Knight and Squire – as well as a confrontation between the crazed, fearless Batman clone raised in a Lazarus Pit and Alfred and a wheelchair-bound Damian. The pacing is well-handled and the tone is spot-on, making Batman and Robin #9 an undeniably read.
Stewart continues to work quite well with Morrison, providing crisp action segments – of which this issue has a number – and excellent physical presence to his characters. Morrison and Stewart work well together here, and it’ll be a shame to see Stewart replaced next issue by Andy Clarke and Scott Hanna, but it’s always interesting to see how the tone of the book changes with new creative talent. Still, Stewart helped revitalize the book after a lagging second arc, and “Blackest Knight” was a clever use of left-over plot threads from Final Crisis and Batman R.I.P. that also managed to set up The Return of Bruce Wayne and validate Tim Drake’s assumptions in Red Robin. All this was accomplished with minimal handholding, and though none of it was necessary to the story itself, it was a good Easter Egg for those keeping up with DC’s continuity. Quick, clever and ceaselessly fun, Batman and Robin may exhibit more sheer joy per page than any other Batman story in recent memory.
– Cal Cleary