Jun 20, 2016
The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 482: Batman and Robin #1, August 2009
Oh, I have been looking forward to this. Much as I've waxed lyrical over Morrison's handling of the mythic Batman, it's this series, in which the myth starts re-manifesting in another form that I really, really love. I think I could have become a huge fan of the Dick Grayson version of Batman. The old, or original, heroes always seem to have something of the past clinging to them. While Robin's got a long history himself, it's when we see someone like Wally West take over for Barry Allen, or Dick Grayson take over for Bruce Wayne, that the characters become contemporized for me. The New 52 tried to unhistoricize the characters in an effort to make them seem relevant in contemporary society. But the generational tale has far more impact, and retains far more respect for the origins, and originals, of the characters.
I also hadn't totally put it together last time I read the series, but there's a lot of the 60s Batman TV series in this issue. Grayson is certainly less gruff and grim than Bruce was, ready to crack a bit of a joke, much as deadpan Adam West did. And Frank Quitely's insertion of sound effects into the art work is probably one of the most amazing things I've ever seen in a comic (picture below), and certainly calls back to those prominent sound effects from the series. The other thing that came to me is that there's been a reversal of roles, in a way. Common thinking is, and what we've had articulated throughout the series is, that Robin brought light to Batman's dark world, that his optimism tempered what could have been a quick and disastrous slide into psychosis. But in this iteration of the team, Batman is the more light-hearted, while Robin, Damian Wayne, skirts the edges of that slide. It's a really lovely team-up. As I noted above, I only wish there'd been more.
Here's the Quitely art that made me grin, ear to ear, the moment I opened the comic: