It’s been a while since I read and wrote about some A-list superheroes. I think. Maybe some of those people in the Dance comic were important. I am sure that it has been awhile since I read and wrote about Batman or Superman.
Now, I might not know much about these here comic book things. But I DO know that Batman is dead. Yup. I know that. But I’ve also been around just long enough to know that just because someone is dead in one series, that doesn’t mean he’s dead in some other series, because some of these series don't care about the other series, and some of them do. (Which I find weird, because it's not like the comics say "this one counts" and "this one doesn't count", but, no one asked me.) So, I was curious if this Batman & Robin comic was about a new Batman, or if it was an entirely different storyline where Batman wasn't dead. Part of the general rule when I'm picking these is that my questions aren't answered, even if they are really basic ones like "Am I going to like this at all, like even a little bit."
Well. I found out. This is NEW Batman! Nightwing gave up his hang glider!! (or did he….???) I guess he doesn't live in a museum anymore either. That's okay. He doesn't seem like he's smart enough to run a museum anyway.
I'll admit, it was the cover that first drew me in. What I loved was the way Robin was drawn. (Batman was fine too, but he just looked like Batman always looks.) But Robin’s little outfit intrigued me. It doesn’t look all spandex-y and weird. It looks like it’s made from really durable fabric, funky enough to look really cool rather than really lame. I love the boots. Even his cape looks tailored and plausible. He looks pretty bad ass. I mean, he's still a little kid, and it still seems like a dumb idea to have a kid tag along while fighting murderers, but hey, at least he's cool looking.
Now, I know these Batman & Robin stories have been around a long long, long, long long, long, long, long time, but it’s kind of neat to get in on the story with this issue. It’s a whole new beginning. And it definitely read like that, but in a great way. Again, I don’t know a lot. I don't know why Batman is dead, how he died. But I vaguely know that there have been several Robins and that this Dick guy was Bruce Wayne’s ward. Or son? (See – I don’t really know. I'm sure I've been told.) But all that I needed to know to get this comic has been written in, and it seems pretty seamless. There’s no cheesy text bubbles of inner monologues that conspicuously work to catch me up with a bunch of unnecessary, boring information. It's just story, and it moves, and I can get the characters from the way they act. From his behavior, I caught on pretty quick that Robin feels pretty entitled. To everything. More than everything. He truly believes that he should be Batman--it isn't some kind of half-joke, I don't feel like it has anything to do with morality plays--he's just a really arrogant kid who truly believes that he should be Batman. Although we’ve got a bad-guy named Toad, and a commissioner about to get re-acquainted with Batman, what’s probably going to drive this story is the strained relationship between Nightwing who seems pretty humbled to have become the new Batman and a Robin who wants the job, and/or wants Bruce back, and is generally a pompous little prick. That seems like a good idea to me. I have a hard time believing that the bad guys in these stories are any sort of threat to Batman. He's Batman, and from what I know, Batman always wins.
I love that I find out in this issue that not only did Nightwing become Batman, but that he used to be Robin, too. Now I’m sure you all know that. But I didn’t. I've read some Nightwing comics, but all I can remember is that the art was kind of boring and he was always hang gliding in New York. But it's written in so well here, it seems to come up naturally and move right along within the story. This little formula looks like it's going to make for dramatic tension at its best. I’m sure New Robin is great at kicking ass, but I can't see him being able to beat up Nightwing. (Is this the same Robin who I read about when Bruce was alive? And Robin sort of kicked the shit out of him? Like, in a bad way? Did I read that? Am I making that up?)
I imagine that most people reading Batman comic books want action, a bunch of violence wrapped up in some kind of dialog about justice, and I guess that's fine. It seems a little boring to read a lot of that, but I bet it works out okay for the company who makes these stories. I'm more interested in this story though, because it seems like it will be more about clashing egos, humility, respect--those motivators have more potential to me than punching. They seem like they could spark something at weird times. I don't know if it's the case all the time with Batman, but I don't remember any of the Bruce Batman comics having a lot of emotional content. This one though? It's packed full.
I’m excited to keep up with this one. That doesn't mean I'll be reading it regularly, but I could see myself asking somebody about it after they read it.
I mean, c’mon, I’m still me.
-Nina Stone, 2009