“Batman Reborn” Part 2: The Circus of Strange
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Frank Quitely
Colors: Alex Sinclair
The first issue of Batman and Robin was woefully glossed over when review time came up, and I honestly cannot recall for the life of my why that was.Â Regardless, the second issue of Morrison’s fresh take on the Dark Knight rounds out a week rife with sidekicks filling out their mentor’s shoes, and this may be one of the best interpretations so far.Â Spoilers within!Â
When last we left our heroes, they were responding to a call at Gotham PD, which is an attack by the Circus of Strange.Â Make sense that Morrison’s first outing with Dick Grayson as Batman would be against a twisted circus, doesn’t it?Â Regardless, Damien proves he’s probably not yet ready to be a part of the team yet by taking his interrogation tactics a bit too far.Â To make matters worse, the criminal Mr. Toad dies in the cell near where they were fighting,Â and no one noticed, very much to Gordon’s dismay.Â Abandoning Dick back at their Bat “lair”, Damien strikes out to take down the Circus by himself, but it goes less than well.
The flipped Batman and Robin dynamic continues in this one, with a lighthearted Batman and a dark, brutal Robin.Â Its a bit surreal, but acceptable.Â Morrison does a good job of handling the characters, though I have to admit the sequence where Dick speaks to a group of roped up thugs in circus lingo was a bit confusing.Â Would Dick really give away such a hint to his upbringing?Â Its really no secret that Bruce Wayne adopted the sole surviving “Flying Grayson”, and just feels sloppy and out of character.Â Dick’s whining that no one is accepting him as Batman creates a nice moment between himself and Alfred, but again it feels out of character for Dick.Â He’s had his problems in the past, but I doubt he’d expect to be immediately taken for Batman, especially when Gordon can tell on sight that its not the same guy wearing the cowl.
Frank Quitely again excels with the art.Â I’m in the minority, but I really enjoy the sense of style that he brings to his artwork, and especially like the sense of realism he brings to the costume designs for his characters.Â The scenes with Robin fighting a rather *ahem* rotund member of the Circus of Strange in particular make nice use of the characters unique fighting style, and have a little fun with panel placement as well.
Batman and Robin‘s second issue isn’t necessarily as strong as its first issue, but it certainly ramps up the excitement a lot more.Â Its a fun romp, and while Dick’s term as Batman is born on borrowed time, there’s no doubt that his time behind the cowl is shaping up to be an enjoyable ride.Â Batman and Robin#2 gets a B.