100 Days, 100 Comics #81: ‘Batman and Robin’ #12

Well, that was something. Way back at the end of Batman and Robin #4 Morrison had me onboard with the Oberon Sexton mystery, and I’m happy to see that my worst fears weren’t realized, but it turns out I wasn’t far off. Spoiler Alert: Don’t read on to the next paragraph if you don’t want to be exposed to the big reveal at the end of this issue.

The current storyarc has really been humming for the last few months, and Oberon Sexton turning out to be The Joker more or less means that things are ostensibly at fever pitch right now. The duplicitous Sexton/Domino Killer reveal made the unmasking intriguing, even if it compels me to point out the drastically different shape of Sexton’s head and face shapes compared to those of The Joker. It’s a petty aesthetic quibble, but it also constitutes a small cheat on Morrison and his artists’ parts. Nevertheless, narratively and as a plot device, it works.

Furthermore, the rest of issue #12 was full of solid beats as well. Damian’s clarified fall from the House of Ra’s al Ghul was great, and the opening fight between Dick and Slade Wilson/Damian was both fun visually and a well-developed convergence of old and new plot threads. The whole book this month was vintage Morrison, and Andy Clarke, Scott Hanna and Dustin Nguyen’s artwork may have required a prism of collaborations, but it gelled serviceably.

As a series, Batman and Robin has been an unexpected multi-ring circus of hits, misses, and artists, but now that it’s over the 12-issue hill, the big pictures looks much better than you might have expected it to last fall.

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