Batman and Robin #16
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Cameron Stewart and Frazer Irving
Holy shit, that was one hell of a conclusion, marred only by issues shipping late and in confusing read order. I mean, I’m going to assume (and most likely do a write up at some point) that this issue takes place after The Road Home, as Dick is aware of everything that has happened to himself in The Return of Bruce Wayne as far as the released issues go, but there is no mention made to him knowing how Bruce returned. Which I guess makes the entire thing work out, save for that one missing issue, but hey, the story here does not confuse. At least not with the most epic return of the one and only God Damn Batman, Bruce Wayne.
This issue is Morrison’s staging point to tie up the many loose ends of his run both on this title as well as Batman, as he prepares to move forward with Batman Incorporated. We discover the origin and identity of Dr. Simon Hurt, we have Bruce return, Pyg’s super drug is wrapped up, and we even find out where Joker winds up when all is said and done. It’s a very well orchestrated issue that really does make for a great last chapter in the saga that has been Batman and Robin.
Everyone is given a chance to shine in this issue, as Bruce is returned and allowed to see the new Dynamic Duo in action, despite that he did not expect it. It was never Bruce’s wishes for Dick to carry on after him, or for his son to be the new Robin, but it’s clear to see the concept grow on him throughout the course of the issue as he fights alongside them watches them in action, and even provides Damian with a well deserved, and almost fatherly moment. Everyone has played their parts so far, as Dick and Damian rush off to save Gotham City from Professor Pyg and put a wrap on their first true case as Batman and Robin, leaving Bruce to bring things with Dr. Hurt to an end.
Everything with from the last few years of Batman is cleaned up relatively nicely in this issue, which only makes the well publicized conclusion leading into Batman Incorporated that much nicer a way to end the issue. Rather than the book end on a solemn saving of the day note, the book ends with Bruce Wayne’s revelation to the world and the promise of things to come.
I honestly could not have asked for more perfect a conclusion to Morrison’s tenure on this book, or a better lead in to what he has planned next.
Art in this issue is split between Cameron Stewart, who provides his pencils for the majority of the issue, and whose style I still think is perfect for this book, and Frazer Irving who primarily does the scenes featuring Professor Pyg, Joker, and more or less the end of the book. Irving’s art is near perfect for the scenes he handles, and while I’m not generally a fan of his work with super heroes, he does well with this. The addition of Stewart to the issue, allowing him to handle the early parts of the issue, actually helped cover some of Irving’s weaknesses, and made for a much better looking issue. Of course, the Frank Quitely cover just makes me wish he was doing the issue on his own, but that’s not really the point.
Morrison is a master of weaving threads together in ways that keep you guessing until the last minute, before finally blowing your mind. That’s his thing, and when he’s on his game, he doesn’t fail. This issue is nothing short of a success as he truly makes the payoff worth every minute of build up. Now, with Batman Incorporated on the not-so-distant horizon, I find myself excited for the future without wondering about the mysteries that had kept me going up until now. It’s like a fresh start.
Tags: Batman, Batman and Robin, Cameron Stewart, Frazer Irving, Grant Morrison, Reviews, The Return of Bruce Wayne