Friday, October 17, 2014

Batman and Robin by Grant Morrison issue #6

Of all the formidable names to choose that will strike fear and terror in the hearts of people, why on Loki' green visage would you choose a flamingo, Eduardo, thrown-in villain of this issue of your ugly namesake? REALLY, man?

Look, I'm well-aware that flamingos are nasty fuckers even if they share the color of cotton candy. I've seen documentaries and they're just as deceivingly aesthetically appealing as goddamn dolphins (who are the psychopaths of the sea, okay? Don' fool yourself just because they seem to be smiling. The Joker smiles because his mouth is stuck that way. Same with dolphins, and they will take pleasure in harming you the next time you swim next to them, make no mistake). But wearing that pink color as your trademark look, Mr. Flamingo, is the undoing of any kind of frightening presence you may have. Or maybe it heightens the creep factor because how ridiculously repugnant would it be to watch your favorite superhero get beaten up by a man wearing that loud shade of pink? Well, it's pretty disturbing based from what I've seen here. It's the same feeling I got when I read Professor Pyg strip-tease before Damian a couple of issues earlier.

God, whenever Morrison allows himself to have crazy fun with his gimmicks and narrative choices, he really knows how to amp up the discomfort factor. This time was no different.

I think I should mention that I have despised the pink color for as long as I could remember and this Batman and Robin cover issue was a tragedy for me, albeit a comical one to look at too. But I NEVER WANT TO SEE a Batman comic book in that color EVER AGAIN!

As the final issue of the Revenge of the Red Hood story arc, this had enough punches--literally and metaphorically. Morrison gave Batman, Robin, Red Hood and Scarlet a common enemy to fight against and it's a great action sequence because you get to see how much Dick holds back during the fight while the rest of them take turns employing whatever violent means necessary to dispose of Flamingo. In the end, it was Scarlet who attacked him the worst and it was quite the cathartic moment for her. There was also that one scene earlier where Damian actually admitted to Dick that he felt responsible for what happened to Sasha because he was unable to save her. That was a great character moment for Damian and I should hope to see him soften up in the later issues. There is this brittle strength and casual arrogance to this kid that does get under my nerves. And he was supposed to be my favorite Robin of all!

One thing I noticed after I finished reading is that it really has been consistently a redemption story for Jason Todd and Sasha but more so with the latter. As soon as the dust has settled and cleared up, Jason still refused to acknowledge his faults. He still believes that what he did to 'save' Gotham was an acceptable route even when it was his disregard for the city's safety and extremist ways that got the attention of the killing machine Flamingo in the first place. But he would never admit this because admitting it is surrender, a compromise he will never choose because he just hates Dick Grayson for being the perfect golden boy he believes is a reflection of his own failure as Robin. I simultaneously want to hug and punch him for believing so.

As for Sasha: I actually enjoyed this character even if she only appeared for three issues. We might even consider her as the very heart of the story, a character whose development contained the writer's message about the dangers of living with a mask on. I cared about her because Morrison wanted us to sympathize with her demons because it's something we have been through at one point in our lives, which is the loss of a tangible identity we can hold onto while the rest of the world around us is swallowed by chaos. I had my own share, which was why stories like this one with characters who undergo this kind of conflict always have a soft spot in my heart. I think Morison handled Sasha's brief character arc very well especially the way he resolved it. It was a happy ending for her and that was quite nice.

I can't say the same for Jason. He and Dick clearly have to bury a colossal hatchet one of these days. Look at this exchange:


SIGHS. My sweet boys, just find a way to get along! Overall, I am so happy I decided to read this series. I had a fabulous time. This has been an immensely satisfying story arc and I can't wait to start writing my official review for the first volume of the collected six issues of Batman and Robin: Batman and Reborn next!


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