June 16, 2009

Becoming Batman

When I blogged before about the new "Batman", I really enjoyed what Morrison did...and on some level, what DC did. Granted, it's admittedly a temporary measure (I mean, come on, didja really expect Batman - or Captain America - to stay dead?), but there's something about having a drastic "reboot", or really changing the status quo. Granted, Morrison dropped us into the middle of things, and I'm sure that there was a story to be told of the aftermath of the messy "Battle for the Cowl".

Unfortunately, both Batman # 687 and Red Robin # 1....one is a complete and utter waste of time; the other is just kind of a meandering, almost perfunctory tale.

Batman # 687 is the latter - written by Judd Winick (who helped orchestrate the "revival" of Jason Todd) and drawn by Ed Benes...in many ways, it follows the story beat of Battle for the Cowl # 3 in how Dick Grayson decides to become Batman. There's a lot of pouting and angst, and although it's not a bad story...there is a slight sense of by-the-numbers to the story. Although I enjoyed the conceit of Dick Grayson making Batman "his own"...there's something about this story that doesn't quite sparkle.

However, it is an enjoyable read...unlike Red Robin # 1, which has some interesting twists, but really doesn't quite hang well. We pick up with Tim Drake Wayne, who in a short time, lost both his real parents and his adoptive father; watched his superheroic best friend die; seen his adoptive half-brother assume his superheroic role; and who has taken on this role to....

...well, Tim Drake's a tricky character. I can see the seeds of some really powerful storytelling (basically, being a global Batman; trying to assert one's own identity; following one's beliefs despite popular opinion - in short, becoming one's own person). However, Christopher Yost's writing verges on the purple at times, ("Batman is dead, right? And I'm sure as hell not Robin...this costume is already tainted...I never considered you a partner, I considered you my equal...") - I may be paraphrasing it somewhat, but it all seems a little too melodramatic. The rationale is simple - taking on a role that won't lead back to Bruce Wayne or Dick Grayson - but much of the plot seems too much like let's-get-to-the-new-status-quo.

And Ramon Bachs' art? To my eyes, at times, it's a little too generic. Maybe I'm being too hard on an issue # 1, but this story just didn't...grab me. Ironically, for a character who talks about "crossing lines"....this story seems to do anything but.

It's an adjustment when the mainstay of a character leaves, and it may seem somewhat fannish to believe that this is permanent...but although I'll definitely be staying a few issues more for a Winick Batman, I'm not so sure about Red Robin.

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