Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Batman and Robin by Grant Morrison issue #8

There is a simplicity to Grant Morrison's Batman and Robin that's often deceptive on the surface because we are talking about Morrison after all, and he always guarantees convoluted and bizarre plots are on the way. The striking thing about his writing is that you will always find yourself unprepared for it but over time it will start growing on you, gaining an unstoppable momentum until you just decide unconsciously to sit back and enjoy the show, all silliness and shocking poignancy included. At least it was like that for me.

So here I go again, reading and reviewing his B&R issues as a way to get ready for Damian Wayne's homecoming in New 52 DCU which doesn't scare me as much anymore. Coincidentally, in this series, Bruce Wayne himself is coming back from the dead, or at least that is what Dick was hoping for when he asked Knight and Squire to find a Lazarus pit so he could submerge Bruce's corpse in it.

Because, yeah, Dick, that's going to end well. You beautiful idiot.

This issue features Batwoman who is not exactly a part of the Bat-family but is more like a distant relative you only see during specific gatherings, often bewildered or amused of the other family members and their quirks. In this case, she's definitely not pleased that Dick decided to resurrect Bruce and yet although she was wary, she's also still supportive. She's there on a different mission, however, which happens to tie with the Lazarus pit discovery. This is important because some asshole is after her, determined to dispose of her. But let's focus on Dick's own side of the story which opens with who we assumed is Bruce bursting out of the pit. As we all know, someone who emerges from said pit will have momentary madness so when this Bruce starts acting crazy, Dick and the rest just decided to wait patiently for him to snap out of it--but then he doesn't. Lazarus pit-Bruce Wayne starts going after Dick, Knight, Squire and Batwoman. While fighting the crazed maniac, Dick realizes that it couldn't be Bruce at all. He asserts that though the fighting style is familiar, it's more like a good song being sung by a bad singer. There is a part of me that feels bad for the Bruce clone since he really believes he is the real Batman. Well, not really. He's not Bruce Wayne so why should we give a fuck?

While the four of them are caught in trying to apprehend him, the asshole who has it for Batwoman, some sleazy villain called King Coal, planted explosives around the cave where they are inside and once those exploded, they were separated by the large debris with Knight and Squire on the other side, and Dick and Batwoman on the other, and the latter is seriously injured. Dick and Batwoman had a heartfelt moment where she recognized who he is under that cowl and then she asked him to do something for her so they can save her life together. It was pretty awesome. During the explosion earlier, clone Bruce managed to escape, fly a bat-plane and head back to Gotham. Dick mentions that there is a shortcut from England to Gotham...and I just assume that Morrison knows whatever the hell he's talking about because that should explain why clone Bruce managed to land in the hotel (I failed to mention this but the Bat-gang is not staying in the bat-cave/Manor for some reason), find Alfred, beat him up, and then confront Damian inside who is still wheelchair-bound from the last story arc after he fought the Flamingo.

I had so much fun with this issue because it was just urgent, dangerous and action-packed. It was nice to see Dick and Batwoman work together and have that personal moment. Meanwhile, I was just excited when that clone Bruce stepped in to confront Damian while poor Alfred was on the floor with a concussion. As soon as that clone punched Alfred, whatever sympathy or pity I had for him was just gone. I immediately started reading the next issue to see what happens. Once again, Cameron Stewart illustrates this issue, and his panels and action sequences keep everything fast-paced and thrilling!


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