“Batman and Robin” has been a fun ride just for the sake of seeing Morrison reunite with his former “Seven Soldiers” collaborators, and I walked away very pleased with his use of Frazer Irving in Batman and Robin #13. In all honesty, these barren backgrounds wouldn’t work in just any superhero comic book context, but Irving’s art is a real smart bomb for getting Morrison’s material across in this particular case, and his Joker is likewise frigidly effective. Issue #13 kept the momentum alive from #12, and the concussive story beats that were absent from some of this series’ earlier issues were alive and well this time around.
In fact, the biggest detractor from issue #13, is how much it makes me want to go back to this series’ weaker installments and see them redone with this level of success. It draws on the storyarc and mythos elements that Morrison has been seeding for years now, it’s very well paced as a single comic, and it brings its moments of tension to climaxes at just the right speeds. I might even go as far as to say this is the best new Joker comic I’ve read since seeing “The Dark Knight” in theaters — at least in terms of its approach to the character and the way it framed his inner workings and scheme.
It’s remarkable how few rapid action sequences there are in this issue, but those don’t really play to Irving’s strengths. Thusly, this comic may not resonate with the punch-punch-punch, fight-fight-fight crowd. For the New X-Men and Morrison JLA lovers, however, especially those who have been on since Batman and Robin #1 or before, it should be worth the $2.99 plus tax.