100 Days, 100 Comics #3: ‘Batman and Robin’ #3

Batman and Robin #3Grant Morrision and Frank Quitely rocked my comics-loving soul into happy dreamlands during their runs on New X-Men and All Star Superman, and I was pretty thrilled to see them enter into this series on the unsteady ground of the post-“R.I.P.” Bat-Universe. Three issues in, I’ve had enough of a taste that I know I’m going to follow this through to issue #12, but like their aforementioned two runs together, I also know to judge this one act by act — especially as it switches artist gears a couple of times to set the stage for Quitely’s finale.

The distinctly Morrisonian ingredients at play here, with his new clinically psychotic villain Pyg, an airborn narcotic that dissolves notions of self, and the heavy presence of unseen and unidentified villainy behind the scenes makes this opening arc feel like an old friend in slick new threads. The final page, which I won’t spoil for anyone, was marvelous, and it’s got a certain Xorny quality to it. Yet with the Joker and Jason Todd both floating around out there, the thread could fall on either side of expectation or jack-knife into new territory altogether. Whatever happens, I can’t wait.

The warty plush violence of Quitely’s art gets no better fodder than Morrison’s writing during the last three issues. Their work together had as always been a symphony of familiar juvenile tropes and brainstem-curdlingly bizarre moments of confusion and horror. Reading all three of them has been like welcoming your cool older brother back from abroad and finding out what he’s been up to over brews.

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