This week saw the release of the next two titles in DC’s relaunch of the Batman titles, Red Robin and Batman, with new and exciting creative teams and directions and, most importantly, a new man under the cowl.  How did they measure up with last week’s Batman and Robin #1, from Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely?  Click the image below to check out my reviews!

redrobinbatmanRED ROBIN #1

Chris Yost, I think I love you.

Between Killer of Demons (from Image Comics), X-Force (from Marvel), and that Hulk Vs. animated movie that came out a while back, Chris Yost was already on my list of writer’s to watch.  I hate to overplay Red Robin #1, but I will say that it’s fantastic, brilliant, and everything I had hoped for from the Batman: Reborn relaunch.

Tim Dra…er, Tim Wayne is unhappy.  Dick Grayson has taken over as Batman (after Tim got his @$$ handed to him by Jason Todd), and has given the Robin costume to a killer, Damian Wayne.  In fact…Tim’s just downright angry.  On top of it, he’s now had two fathers die in a very short amount of time.  So when that little prick Damian starts mouthing off to Tim, prepare to stand up and cheer as Tim knocks him flat on his punk @$$!  Tim leaves Gotham entirely, and heads to Spain, where he’s starting to think that maybe Bruce Wayne isn’t so dead after all.  Either he’s going crazy, or he’s really the inheritor of the “World’s Greatest Detective” tagline.  Let’s face it, he always was a better detective than Dick Grayson was.

The writing by Chris Yost is effective, emotional, and perfect.  Tim’s angry, and you can feel the anger coming through.  This isn’t just an angsty post-Dark Knight Returns superhero book.  Tim is downright pissed off.  Lines like “I’d broken bones on five men before I even got in the room,” are sure to let you know that this isn’t the nice Tim Drake we’ve come to know.  The confrontation in the Batcave, the way Tim’s handling everything … this is the type of writing I expected from Batman and Robin.  It may not be as fun, but it’s a damn good read.  The art by Ramon Bachs is vastly different from the art on the last Robin series, but it works.  My only qualm with it is that, in costume, Tim looks a little older than his age.  And the cover by Francis Manapul?  Good stuff.

Bruce Wayne dying may have been just the right thing to get the Batbooks back on track.  Pick up Red Robin #1 as soon as you can – definitely worth the read.

Batman #687

I like Judd Winick, but this issue totally fell flat for me.  I understand that he was finally giving the emotional weight to the Dick Grayson storyline missing from both Battle for the Cowl and Batman and Robin but, unlike Red Robin, this felt forced.  The dialogue was hokey and unrealistic, and Dick seemed a bit too whiny.  The scene with Superman and Wonder Woman visiting the cave was effective, but I would have prefered to see them go back to the scene from JLA #1, where Bruce and Diana discuss Bruce’s death (remember that?).

I know I’m being hard on the issue, and it really wasn’t too bad, but really, the perfect scene of the emotional impact of Batman’s passing (at least for Alfred) was in the Batman and the Outsiders Special, by Pete Tomasi.  After seeing how well that was handled, and how naturally it felt, this issue just felt a bit forced to me.  And again with the art – Ed Benes can be up and down for me (it sounds like Mark Bagley is already picking up the reins in the next issue), but the Dick Grayson Batman should not look EXACTLY like the Bruce Wayne Batman.  In fact, when Dick Grayson wears his Nightwing attire in this issue (it’s hard to believe this takes place after Battle for the Cowl #3), he’s drawn very well.  In fact, it’s almost manga-ish in the angular art.  But when he puts on the Batman costume…he looks just like Bruce did.  There should be a difference.  Maybe they should have changed the costume more (never mind the fact that the belt in this issue is different than the belt in Batman and Robin).

A dissapointing read, but Winick has done some great stuff with Batman before – moving out of the shadow of the Battle for the Cowl storyline, and the whole “Dick accepting the cowl” storyline, I think we may be in for some better things down the line.

By the by, despite all the attempts to hide the new Batgirl’s identity, I’m thinking it’s Squire.  We’ll find out soon enough, I guess.

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