Batman & Robin v. 2: Batman vs. Robin
Written by Grant Morrison
Illustrated by Cameron Stewart, Andy Clarke, Scott Hanna and Dustin Nguyen
Colored by Alex Sinclair and Tony Aviña
Lettered by Pat Brosseau and Jared K. Fletcher
Published by DC Comics
I can’t imagine anybody without a moderate to strong understanding of Batman lore appreciating this book, but I certainly enjoyed it. Morrison plays Batman, now Dick Grayson, and Robin, now Damian Wayne, off one other very well, with effusive banter and effective touches to underscore the respect they’ve gained for one another. The plot is lightning fast, so be prepared to keep up.
The first half, with Morrison’s favorite obscure Batman and Robin analogues, Knight and Squire, and a slightly shoe-horned-in Batwoman manages to stay (just barely at times) this side of coherent, with too many characters jumbled together a little too quickly, but it’s a decent if forgettable yarn. I’ll give it points as a clever thematic tie-in to the Blackest Night event without actually referencing the event at all. The second half, which has Robin dealing with his mother and her “influence”, is stronger, more focused, more couched in Batman lore. It also builds around a stronger emotional core. You need to know Dick Grayson’s Nightwing/Teen Titans history at least cursorily, as well as Damian’s parentage, to really appreciate it, but most casual fans have requisite knowledge.
Both artists, Cameron Stewart and Andy Clarke, suit the series well. Each provides clean artwork, detailed to carry the story but never cluttered with lines, and they lay their pages out effectively. The result is a good-looking, fast-moving series, smartly written and recommended for interested readers.