100 Days, 100 Comics #20: ‘Batman and Robin’ #4

Batman and Robin #4Here’s a case where I actually psyched myself out too much expecting a disaster and walking of the read pleasantly surprised. Some ominous tweets and blog entries over the last week had me all ready to mourn Grant Morrison’s falloff in Batman and Robin following Phillip Tan’s appearance and Frank Quitely’s temporary exit. Granted, Tan’s style isn’t quite as inventive and doesn’t carry the same breed of charm that Quitely musters, but Tan was totally serviceable here and definitely above average.

I know I mentioned this in my review of issue #3, but I really dig Morrison’s identity shell games behind the masks, dating back to his Xorn reveal in New X-Men. Now he seems to be doing it one case, if not two now that this fellow Oberon Sexton has walked into the party. How great of a name is that, by the way?

If he turns out to be the Riddler in disguise following that “riddle of the corn dollie” comment, though, my eyes are going to do a barrel roll back into 1998.

This series is going to get really gruesome really fast, too. I mean did anyone else notice Philip Tan mugging Darick Robertson in at least one or two scenes here? It occasionally felt like I was reading The Boys.

There’s another interesting element at work now, as well, since the Red Hood appears to be competing with Batman as a crime fighter, which tartens up of the mystery about his identity, since now we may be looking at Jason Todd out to improve upon his mentors methods or The Joker looking to corner the organized crime market in Gotham. His execution of the one mob boss on the table was a bit too similar to Heath Ledger’s pencil trick in The Dark Knight, though, and I have to wonder if that wasn’t extremely intentional. Furthermore, if Batman thinks he’s Jason Todd at first glance, I have to figure he’s The Joker, or else there’s one less surprise left to unveil.

Anyhow, nice to not feel nearly as cheated as I feared I would be. This series is still in great shape.

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