Friday, July 6, 2012

Batman and Robin #10

Back in the eighties, a comic proclaiming "War of the Robins" would have sat on the shelf in a big fat stack, unsold.

Batman's philosophy is not to kill any law breakers. He doesn't do this for them; he has this rule to keep his own sanity and humanity. But that means that every arrest, he's beaten the shit out of some thug or madman. Arkham Asylum (as well as the streets of Gotham) is littered with people emotionally and physically scarred by The Batman.

The guy with the Batarang through his head did it to himself.

Now, a man named Terminus has gathered together a handful of bitter thugs to take down Batman. So this is one of those comic book stories where the hero doesn't save anybody's life but his own. Except this is called Batman and Robin. So maybe it's going to be about Robin saving Batman. That would be a good reason to have a sidekick. Next time someone asks Batman why he hangs around with that little squirt, Batman can say, "He's not totally useless, dude."

Over in Wayne Manor, Bruce and his Robins and butler are getting a family portrait painted. When I say Robins, I mean the Robins that haven't died and come back to life. Although Red Hood is on the cover, so we'll see how he comes into the picture.

While they're posing for the portrait, Tim Drake and Damian bicker constantly.

I think Damian is bringing respectability to the sidekick! And gore and murder and horror and a prick-like attitude.

I wonder if Tim Drake stopped being Batman's sidekick too soon. He seems to envy Damian's close relationship with Bruce. He's angry because Damian is the bad kid getting all of the attention while he did everything right (constantly!) and now he's young and on his own. Dick Grayson was able to leave in his own time and he's okay with the other Robins. But I think Tim may have been the Robin with Batman when Batman died and so he was forced to go his own way. Maybe not. The timing on all of this is horrible to figure out since super heroes have really only been around for five years. But Batman spent one year of that dead. And he's trained four Robins during the rest of it. Seems a bit crazy.

Bruce tries to get the little bastards under control but Tim and Damian storm off. I like how they're really portrayed as young siblings vying for their father's attention. And Dick Grayson is old enough and has experienced enough (even time, himself, as Batman) that he can relate to Batman as an adult and a friend.

Later in the week, Damian calls an emergency meeting of his siblings, including Jason Todd.

Damian seems to have a bit of a self-esteem problem. Or he simply knows he's the best Robin yet and needs the other guys to know it as well.

And the older two Robins have a bit of a rivalry as well.

Back at Wayne Manor, Batman and Alfred discuss their boys over some Batarang sharpening. Bruce has decided not to tell Dick and Tim about Damian killing Ducard (Nobody!). Alfred believes Bruce should be open and honest with all of his boys but Bruce just doesn't want to subject Damian to more criticism from the others. Alfred tells Bruce, "I must say, you have become quite the overprotective parent. Who would have thought, hmm?"

Tomasi has been brilliant with Alfred's character in this series.

Batman rushes off to answer the Bat-signal because there's probably a crisis in one of his other titles. While he's gone, Tim Drake comes back to the Batcave to tattle on Damian about Damian's wager. But Damian is waiting for him because he knew the first thing Drake would think about doing was snitching. He pisses Tim off by showing him some footage Damian stole by hacking into Red Robin's computer. The footage was of Red Robin seriously maiming Fist Point in the Teen Titans' Annual.

And that pisses of Tim so that he attacks Damian.

They fight a bit until Tim admits that the thought of making Fist Point pay crossed his mind. He did think for a second about killing him. But instead he just seriously maimed him, so Red Robin is building up a bunch of thugs that are going to want revenge against him just like Batman's enemies.

Batman has too many fucking kids.

Then a few pages where Terminus has infused himself with some protoplasm to keep himself from falling apart. I think he only has 25 hours left to live and he wants Batman to die at his hands before he melts away. The comic ends with him checking out a gigantic condom covered phallus. Maybe it's simply a warhead of some variety. And Terminus plans on using it on Gotham.

Batman and Robin #10 Rating: +1 Ranking. This comic was simply about the relationships between the Robins (mostly Tim and Damian) and it has heart. These damn comic books don't need to be filled with bad guys fighting good guys across 18 of the 20 pages to hold the reader's interest. Write a compelling story, whether or not it includes fisticuffs, and the readers will continue to pick up the comic. This is another series that has not really had a bad issue.

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