31 Jan 2012

BATMAN AND ROBIN #5

By David Lee Andrews   Posted at  07:00   PETE TOMASI

[ LETS GO BARGAIN HUNTING
There once was a man who was a bit shoddy. He used to play chess for a hobby. I approached him one day - and before he could say - I told him that he was 'a nobody'. Oh! Which reminds me of a tale Written by Peter Tomasi; Drawn by Patrick Gleason; and Published by DC Comics in February 2012. Nuff said.

So what’s the story morning glory?
In this issue of Batman and Robin, we are presented with a dilemma, a tales of times past, and one mother of cliff-hanger.

The Dilemma: Damien (Robin) Wayne has gone over to the dark side - or more specifically, Morgan (Nobody) Ducard - whom treats him as a darkly hued aide in his game of death and destruction.

However, Damien's father, Bruce (Batman) Wayne does not know this - and that is why he is scouring the street of Gotham City, to find a trace of where his son has been. Moreover, whilst he is doing this, he also reminisces about his times past with the Ducard's.

A Ducard's Tale: Henri Ducard is an expert gun for hire, who, by mistake, falls in love with another assassin, Felicity Strode, and then has a son with her, Morgan. Please note, Henri did not know that Felicity was an assassin to begin with - but when Morgan finds out - he kills her - and then joins his father in his tawdry trade. 

Now some time after this transpires, a young Bruce Wayne in training befriends Henri, and then asks him to teach him some of his tricks. Henri agrees.

The Cliff-Hanger: Once Robin and Morgan infiltrate a human trafficking ring - will Robin be able to pass one simple test posed to him by Morgan? Shoot the head honcho in the face with a gun.

What is the most memorable sentence spoken in this issue?
During one of Batman's inner dialogs to Damien, I liked it when he mused "I know we're never going to throw a baseball in the back of the Manor after a tough day - but I'd be lying if I said a small part of me wouldn't enjoy that mundane existence even for a small moment". 

Ahh! Bless Bruce. I want to cry now.

Was the story any good?
Yes-sir-re, this issue of Batman and Robin was one hell of a read. Conceptually, it is three stories rolled into one. The first being Damien's and Morgan's evolving partnership together - which I found to be a very dramatic and staged segment. The next was Batman's pursuit of Damien - which had a very nice personal prose running though it. And the last was the 'origins of the Ducards' - which was OK because it respected continuity - though the 'Mr and Mrs Smith' underpinning was hard to swallow.

Was the art any good?
Yes - I have to say that Patrick Gleasons artwork is starting to grow on me now. Well, it's blatantly obvious how much thought and effort he has put into the panel layouts and the 'neon' vibe to this adventure.

However, I still do find that some of his manga work is too overt at times - thus making his characters too spongy in appearance. 

What is the best thing about this issue?
My favourite section of this tale was Bruce's search for his son Damian. For me, Bruce's depiction was very humane, and I did enjoy reading his running dialogue, as if he was talking to Damien face to face.

Plus, in addition to this, I liked it that Damien acknowledged his respect for Alfred - what a nice lad he is. Shame that he is a little sh*t.  

What is the worst thing about this issue?
As I have said previously (and will later as well) I was not too keen on the 'Mr and Mrs Smith' inclusion of the Ducard story. Knowing of Henri's previous appearances in the Batman tiles, I can say for a fact that this inclusion is part of 'DCnU' continuity. Still, it isn't the fact that it is new that bothers me - it's that fact that it feels 'too forced' for an expert assassin of his caliber, to be duped in this manner.

Kind of silly - like the film.

If you could sum up this issue in a phrase or saying, what would that phrase or saying be?
Now I would like to say the phase 'Father knows best' - as it does feel appropriate in as strange sort of a way. But to be completely honest with you, I feel that the phrase 'Oi! What the f*ck do you think your doing?' more appropriate all in all.

If this issue were a movie, an object, or a piece of music, what would that be and why? 
Well - as I have mentioned this film twice already - I might as well say 'Mr & Mrs Smith' again - because it would seem a waste not to otherwise. 




Though maybe we should call it 'Mr and Mrs Ducard' now instead?

What do you think would have made this issue better than it was?
I would have had Henri show up and aide Batman in capturing his son Morgan.

Come on - turn about is fair play!

Final thoughts...
The scope for this title is starting to grow by the issue, and I can see where this series can go in the future. Talia al Ghul - Ra's - Henri - Dick - Tim - Stars and Stripes - Tom and Jerry - and Child Protection Services. The sky is the limit!

And if not them, maybe the courts, ha!

Marks out of 10? 8

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