Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Batman and Robin #20

Yes, Robin does indeed have an ego to match the size of his head.
Cultural Wormhole takes a look at the Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason's first issue as the creative team on Batman and Robin.

Review by Paul Steven Brown

Batman and Robin #20

"Tree of Blood: Dark Knight vs. White Knight - Part 1 of 3"

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciler: Patrick Gleason
Inker: Mick Gray
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Published by DC Comics

This issue is a bit of a perfect storm of two great elements coming together. Grant Morrison established Batman and Robin as a fun, classic superhero book that placed Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne in their new roles as the classic duo of Batman and Robin. Now that Bruce Wayne has returned from the grave… or the time stream… or whatever, Morrison has decided to leave Batman and Robin to concentrate on the new Batman Incorporated title. Subsequently, Paul Cornell and Scott McDaniel filled in for three months, but with Batman and Robin #20, the new official creative team takes over.

Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason really rocked my world with their work on Green Lantern Corps. For a few years, these two made GLC as good, if not better than its big brother book, Green Lantern. Tomasi has proven the he’s very skilled at juggling a large cast and number of running subplots. Gleason has a fantastic cinematic visual style. Now these two bring those formidable skills to Batman and Robin.
Tomasi opens the issue with a wonderful, but rare scene of familial warmth between five fine fellows of Wayne Manor. In a few brief pages, Tomasi quickly establish each character’s unique mannerisms and the dynamic between Bruce, Dick, Alfred, Tim, and Damian. Still, the stars of this series are Dick and Damian, who have developed a great energy that is a mixture of trust and sibling rivalry. Dick has been charged with the task of mentoring Damian, who continues to be an irritable pain in the rear. I really didn’t care for Damian when he was first introduced, but he has developed into an irritable pain… that’s fun to read.

Gleason’s art is still top-notch. His characters have very expressive faces and body language, which enhances Tomasi’s already solid script with wonderful acting. Where Gleason really shines is during the action at the end of the issue. We are treated to a fabulous tumble through the Gotham City skyline in which Gleason oscillates between close ups that heighten the frenzy of the situation and pull backs to give us the grand scope of the scene.
I can’t decide if my Batman and Robin fell into my Tomasi and Gleason, or if my Tomasi and Gleason fell into my Batman and Robin. Either way this is a very promising merger of two dynamic duos. Color me excited.

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