Review: Batman and Robin #10 - The Return of Bruce Wayne Begins Here



I was starting to think that the wheels were coming loose on the joyride that is Batman and Robin, especially after that last red herring of a story arc about a fake Bruce Wayne being brought back from the dead. But Issue Ten is working wonders, sort of like Red Robin's own Issue Ten out this week too. Is it something about that number? Well, there could be something to that since, by Issue Ten or Twelve, a lot of folks begin to rethink the items on their pull lists. There is a motivation for any publisher to perform a bit of a relaunch. That said, Batman and Robin #10 feels like things have been kicked back into gear.

It's like Mr. Morrison appears to be coming around to what he really wants to say in this title. Sure, this is a lead-in to Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne but this is definitely not filler.

The team up of Grant Morrison with artists Andy Clarke (pencils) and Scott Hanna (inks) sets the bar high. It's more than just matching the beautiful chemistry between Morrison and Quitely. The masterful play with scale and vantage points and overall composition is inspiring. For instance, I love the bird's eye view of that wicked Wayne Manor. And the cluster of odd shaped hunks of ice falling from the sky on this same page is most dreamy. All this great art working together with a great story.

We begin the new arc, "Batman vs. Robin," with "The Haunting of Wayne Manor," which ends up giving us some of Morrison's skillful use of symbolism. You come to see how significant Damian Wayne is as the child caught in the middle. He is searching for his dead father, the god-like Bruce Wayne who may be trapped in time, while he must also come to terms with his equally god-like mother who is diametrically opposed to the Wayne family.


The writing is most compelling when Morrison focuses on Damian's character. Will he have the backbone necessary to find his way? We begin with a scene of impressive skyscrapers and cut to a below eye level full page of Damian Wayne standing tall, despite his short height, to face off the board of directors of Wayne Enterprises. Later in the story, Dick Grayson comments on Damian getting himself a new spine. We see that exchange from on high as we look down on various sturdy rectangular forms. Finally, casting massive doubt on Damian's strength, is his mother. We get an exchange between the two while Damian is most vulnerable, in a neck brace and in a wheelchair. She insists that the Waynes only wish to make a spineless puppet out of him.

And then there's this very strange fellow, Oberon Sexton, a man all in blue who dons a long trench coat and top hat. He goes by the title, "The Gravedigger." Apparently, he hopes to dig up Bruce Wayne one way or another and would love to include Damian in on his search. With a double whammy of an ending to this first installment, we've got a title running on all cylinders. Yeah, it's purring like a finely oiled machine.
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