Thursday, March 11, 2010
In short Batman and Robin #10 was phenomenal. Why? Well, if you've been reading Batman and Robin you know a couple of things already:
1) Bruce Wayne is lost in time, but he is coming back
2) That Dr. Hurt would return to finish what he started in R.I.P
3) We know about the mysterious Domino Killer who is being tracked by the equally if not more mysterious Oberon Sexton
4) The main bad guy calling the shots is someone we only know as El Penitente who is leaving clues in the form of dominos.
But with these things comes some crazy questions. Like, how will Bruce Wayne make his way to the present, and will he be the same? Who is the Domino Killer? Who is Oberon Sexton? Are El Penitente and Dr. Hurt the same guy? And what is Dr. Hurt's identity and ultimate goal? Some many questions.
So the issue starts pretty quick with Damian addressing the Wayne Enterprises board members pointing out some interesting irregularities in the numbers. Dick and Oberon are elsewhere comparing notes on the Domino Killer. Dick is called back to Wayne Manor by Alfred who explains that while examining the Family portraits he notices that when hung in the correct order, that they seem to tell a story. They notice though, that one portrait is missing. That of Thomas Wayne, who lived in the 1760s, and is regarded as the "black sheep" of the family. Batman, Robin and Alfred conclude that Bruce (who is stuck in the past) is trying to leave them clues throughout the manor as to his whereabouts. Dick assigns Alfred to looking up historical records of the Waynes, while he and Robin search through the pictures which leads them to the library.
Meanwhile, Oberon Sexton is contacted by El Penitente, who tells him that since he did not strike at Batman while he had the chance, he would now have a price to pay. "The Mexican Train is on it's way." he warns. Four oddly dressed assassins make the way to Mr. Sexton's room, but it's too late, as Oberon is already out the window.
Back at the Wayne Manor, Batman and Robin are exploring the library, while Alfred, in the Batmobile, gives them info about the Wayne's is the portraits. Damian begins to ponder his place in the Bat-Family if his father comes back. But Dick, who say he can just go back to Nightwing, discover a secret passage behind the fireplace that leads to a room lined with suits or armor.
We get a flashback sequence showing Damian talking to his mother while recovering from his spine replacement. She tells him that he must abandon crime fighting so he can live up to his destiny and conquer the world. She claims that Alfred and Dick are trying to brainwash him, not letting him live up to his full potential. He begins to defend the former boy wonder, but is interrupted by Talia saying that it is time to obey his mother's commands and end Grayson, "I will not be your weapon against them, mother.' says Damian. And the scene ends with Talia responding with a very cryptic "We'll see."
Back to the present, and Batman and Robin are exploring the secret passage. Dick goes to the middle of the hall, and kneels. The floor has bat painted on it, with a rose in the center. Suddenly, Damian, not in control of his actions, grabs a sword and swings at Dick. But Dick falls through the center of the rose, which is a secret tunnel as well. Damian realizes his mother can control him whenever she wants and runs out of the mansion. Dick, underneath the manor, discovers a "secret Batcave." The name Thomas is scribbled multiple times on the wall, with the larger word "Barbatos" running through it. Damian, now outside, is running through what appears to be a Wayne cemetary. He is snatched by Oberon Sexton who appears suddenly and exclaims "They're everywhere!" , referring to the group of villains that attempted to murder him earlier, who are now moving toward Wayne Manor. The issue ends with Oberon saying "I'm here to help."
The issue overall is great, as it begins to unravel the mystery surrounding Bruce Wayne's whereabouts. But it's also frustrating as so many new questions arise. That's the brilliant thing about Morrison. He can gives us answers without giving us the solution. His entire run on Batman has been one long epic, that probably won't stop with the mystery until Mr. Morrison stops writing the caped crusader for good. Also want to mention how great Andy Clarke's pencils were. While not a memorable as Quitely's, I definitely think there an upgrade from Tan's if not Stewart. Can't wait until April 7 for #11.