Thursday, June 4, 2009

Batman & Robin #1

When Grant Morrison is on, he makes some of the best comics on the shelves. I knew I was in for a treat one page 1 when a new villain, Mr. Toad, yells out "Seat belts, gentlemen. Remember, safety first!" That's such an odd thing to see in the middle of a heist, it was great. Mr. Toad has a great design, and his use of European carny-talk after his capture was another nice bit of character development. Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne seem to make an effective crime-fighting duo, even if they don't get along all that well. The relationship between them is a fascinating one, and I'm especially enjoying the sense of entitlement that Damian has and his annoyance that he has to be Robin to Grayson's Batman. Morrison has these two voices down. Grayson seems like a nice, well-adjusted dude while Damian is already an annoying brat.

Alfred actually gets a fair amount of page time in this too, and he's pretty amusing in his interactions with the two vigilantes. I really dug how Damian calls him "Pennyworth" and is pretty rude to him, all the while saying "thank you" and other required niceties. Morrison introduces another villain, a ringleader named Pyg who seems pretty scary judging by his first appearance. Pyg seems to melt doll-masks onto his victims, then he exerts some type of mental control over them making them into some kind of doll-drones. The art really sells the spookiness of that fate. The new flying batmobile is a little... grander than we're used to in Gotham, but obviously this is a new era and Morrison is sci-fi'ing things up.

Frank Quitely does a fantastic job with the art. His character designs for the new creations are flawless: the hi-tech batmobile, Pyg and his dolls, Mr. Toad, they all look wonderful. I wasn't immediately sold on his take on the dynamic duo, but they look good enough. Quitely incorporates sound effects into the panels too, and the effect is specatular, especially in the opening sequence.


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