The next installment of Grant Morrison’s Batman & Robin series sees the duo trying to revive Bruce Wayne and fighting a bat-worshiping cult.
The story starts with Dick Grayson, the new Batman, searching for a Lazarus Pit in London. Assisting him are Knight and Squire, England’s equivalent of Batman and Robin, and, later, Batwoman. They discover it after facing off against eccentric British gangsters who are also mining for it.
They throw what they believe is Bruce’s body into the Lazarus Pit, but instead of resurrecting Batman they reanimate an insane clone created by Darkseid. This results in a good Batman versus Batman fight scene, but the clone manages to escape, steal the Batwing, and make it to Gotham.
Damian Wayne, the new Robin, was left paralyzed at the end of Batman Reborn. His mother, Talia, managed to get a new spine created for him, but he’s stuck in a wheelchair for the time being. The Bat-clone finds him alone in Wayne manor and hurls him off a roof. Luckily, Batman shows up (via suborbital, of course) and manages to defeat the clone.
Dick realizes this means Tim Drake, the last Robin, was right about Bruce: he’s not dead, but trapped in the past. Batman and Robin, now fully-recovered, search for clues in the caves beneath Wayne Manor.
Soon Robin begins to lose control of his body and attacks Batman. It turns out his new spine has some weird, comic book technology that lets his mother control him remotely. I’ll stop discussing the plot here to avoid more spoilers, but a bat-crazed cult, Oberon Sexton, and Deathstroke also show up.
The art in the first half of the book is a more cartoony than the last collection, but it’s also clearer and better-looking. I prefer it to the art in the second half, which emulates the grainy style from the last book and isn’t as nice.
The collection ends on an unfulfilling cliffhanger and the British villains aren’t as good as the last collection’s, but its still a good follow-up.
I like the direction the story is taking, but it seems Morrison’s rushing to bring Bruce Wayne back before Dick can really shine. I like his run as Batman and Damian’s more likable this time around.
It’s good to see Batman doing detective work and Robin developing as a character. I wouldn’t say Dick and Damian are bonding, but they are growing on each other, and that’s another positive. Morrison is easily two for two with this run of Batman collections.