Friday, October 9, 2009

Batman & Robin #5

Grant Morrison is a weird dude. In a good way. My favorite bit of oddness this issue is that Red Hood is reading a book on marketing. Convinced that Batman is nothing more than a successful logo, Jason Todd is out to become even more popular with his hardcore ways. He's out to prove that crime doesn't pay, and he's willing to kill to do it. What makes this version of Jason Todd so interesting to me is that he thinks he's being a hero even as he continues to be the callous jerk he's always been. His new sidekick Scarlet occasionally starts to think of her past life, and Jason Todd is just brutal in his dealing with her. She starts to talk about her father and Todd just reminds her that she killed him. Tough. It's also a curious choice to have Todd reveal that Bruce Wayne had Todd dye his hair to look more like Dick Grayson. That's got to do some psychological damage to a kid like Jason Todd. Plus it makes Bats seem a little... weird doesn't it?

Dick Grayson/Batwing and Damian are still a good team. They are nowhere near as effective as Bruce Wayne and any of his sidekicks, on a couple occasions this issue the Red Hood gets the better of them. I like that type of vulnerability, it adds to the sense of danger for the leads. The big threat here is Flamingo, the mob enforcer brought in to take on the Red Hood. He's appropriately horrific, but again, I can't believe some of the stuff in a mainstream comic these days. Flamingo cuts off and eats the faces of the people who rode his plane into Gotham. Cut off their faces. Ate those faces. In a comic. We truly live in a horrific world where this type of material is needed to establish the street cred of a new bad guy. Once again I have to argue, people this crazy need to be KILLED. Bring in the Punisher.

Phillip Tan's art just can't compete with Frank Quitely. Characters like Penguin, Jason Todd, and even Batwing and Damian look off-model. The dramatic debut of Flamingo is somewhat ruined by the muddled look of his face. It's like Tan uses too many pencil lines and smudges up the faces of the people he draws.


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