I’ve really enjoyed Grant Morrison’s Batman & Robin title—much more than any of his prior Batman work. Usually, his stuff feels fragmented to me. It seems like he’s planting a bunch of seeds, but I never feel like they all work together or make sense. “Batman and Robin,” on the other hand, has already opened and closed a few distinct arcs and with issue #13, Morrison appears to be ready to bring together several of the remaining open plotlines. Most of all, the story actually makes sense—there’s enough linear progress that the reader can pay attention to the development of Dick and Damian. Grayson has become increasingly competent and confident (although in issue #13 he makes some pretty bad missteps), and the brashness of Damian’s youth is put to excellent use in this latest installment. In it, Joker is in custody and Batman, Robin, and the Gotham PD are interrogating him. And it looks like Robin is the guy most willing to do anything.
The issue also introduces a new regular artist, Frazer Irving. I was reluctant to accept him, because the last two artists on this series, but it turns out his use of light and dark are a perfect compliment to an increasingly frightening title. It almost feels like this should be a “D.C. Knights” title—if there were such a thing. It’s mature, scary, violent, and threatening. Morrison is willing to allow his Grayson-Batman to fail, and to allow his Wayne-Robin to be even more violent than Grayson was in Frank Miller’s All-Star Batman and Robin. We’ve never seen this before in the world of comics, where an iconic sidekick takes the place of his iconic leader, and the iconic leader’s son takes on the role of the sidekick. The role reversal is providing Morrison with fertile ground, and he’s making very good use of it. Let’s hope he keeps the seeds growing. I honestly can’t tell where he’s headed once Bruce returns. And that’s