Comic Review: Batman & Robin #7


Batman & Robin #7 is a DC Comics release, written by Grant Morrison, with artwork by Cameron Stewart, and featuring covers from both Frank Quitely and Cameron Stewart.

The Story

[Note: Some slight spoilers, but not anything you didn't see coming a mile away!]

The story opens where issue #6 left off, with Dick Grayson removing Bruce Wayne’s body from a secure location.

The action quickly cuts to central London, where we find Batman rescuing a child from a pod on the London Eye, just before it explodes. Batman then radios in to Squire, and the two begin a mad dash across London, in search of  a dirty bomb planted by King Coal. Their chase takes them into the London Underground, where they find the bomb on a tube train, strapped to the body of Smooth Eddie English, The Pearly Price.

Eddie English is a member of the infamous Pearly crime family, and after freeing him from King Coal’s bomb, Batman decides to find out why Coal was trying to blow him up. In order to find these answers, he heads Basement 101, Her Majesty’s high-security prison for ‘Paranormals’. Here, he talks with The Pearly King of Crime, Eddie’s father, and finds that Eddie had won a mine from Coal, but that Coal wanted the mine back, and was willing to go to war over it. Why is an abandoned mine worth risking so many lives? Well it may just be one of the last Lazarus pits left on earth!

After ascertaining the pit’s location, Batman and Squire head off to find the mine. When they arrive, they find Knight is already there, and is locked in battle with cultists of the religion of crime. The cultists were carrying a coffin with them, but before Batman can investigate what is inside, the coffin explodes, and Batwoman bursts out. It seems that the cultists were coming here to try and sacrifice Batwoman, because tonight is the winter solstice, and their prophesy says that the ‘Knight of the Beast’ will rise on this night, and in this place. When Batwoman asks what Dick and friends are doing here, she is shocked to find that they have come to resurrect Bruce in the Lazarus pit! She warns them against this course, but it is too late, as Knight came earlier in the day and placed him in there hours ago. Then a black gloved hand shoots out of the pool. Will it be Bruce Wayne, or something else entirely?!

The Rating

I’ve really been enjoying Grant Morrison’s run on Batman & Robin, even more so than his run on Batman. Having Dick Grayson take on the Batman mantle seems like a great move to me, a natural progression after decades of stuffy continuity.  This new series feels so fresh and vibrant, like anything is possible. It’s an all-new Batman, with new stories and new villains, and having Damian become Robin creates a great dynamic between the characters, which is so different from the same regurgitated crap we’ve had for decades. The resurrection of Bruce Wayne will bring an end to all this, maybe not straight away, but soon enough, a couple of writers down the line, and we’ll be back to business as usual. *sigh* I guess it’s true that nothing ever changes in comics, heroes die, then heroes live again, no one ever matures or grows old, they’re just stuck in stasis. Bruce Wayne was around long before I was born, and I’m sure he’ll be around long after I die. There is something both comforting and at the same time terrifying about that. I

Bruce Wayne won’t be back next issue, of course, advance solicitations have pretty much ruined any writers’ ability to create a sense of suspense. He won’t actually be returning until the Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne miniseries, so the Batman that comes from the Lazarus pit next issue is likely to be some dark shadow of Bruce, as alluded to in Batwoman’s prophesy of the ‘Knight of the Beast’.

Aside from my mixed feeling about the return of Bruce Wayne, this is a wonderfully scripted issue, and by far one of the best issue yet in Morrison’s run. Knight & Squire are two of my favourite supporting Bat family characters, and it’s always great when Morrison bring them out to play! The issue is set in England, and Morrison fills the scrip full of little clichés and in-jokes, which make the issue incredibly fun (especially if you are British). The story opens with an eleven-page chase scene, which is brilliantly choreographed, with Batman racing on foot from Westminster to Knightsbridge, swinging off the Westminster bridge, and jumping from car roof to car roof. Meanwhile, Squire drives through Harrods on a motorbike, goes up the escalator, and bursts out a window, catching Batman on the back of her bike. Wow! That must have take quite some time to plan out! The rest of the issue is equally amazing, with a great plot, fantastic pacing, good dialogue, and some nice character development. It’s pretty hard to flaw anything in the issue, this is Grant Morrison working at his very best, and that is really saying something.

The artwork on this issue is by Cameron Stewart, and I’ve been looking forward to this one since it was first announced. I’ve been a fan of Cameron Stewart since I first saw his work on Catwoman, back in 2003, and I’ve bought everything he’s worked on since then. His work on this issue is absolutely astounding, and I just love his crisp and clean linework, and his bold inking. I’ve already mentioned the spectacular opening scene, well Morrison sets Stewart a hell of a challenge here, with some insanely fast-paced action, set against a backdrop of most of central London. Not only does Stewart meet this challenge, but he excels, choosing interesting perspectives to draw the action from, and just nailing the London landmarks. It’s just a beautifully illustrated issue, and some of Cameron Stewart’s greatest work to date!

One minor complaint about this issue though is the colouring. There are a few places where it just looks wrong. Mainly when there is a light source shining on a flat surface, becasue the colourist has used a light gradient effect that looks very digital and artificial, and really distracts from the wonderful looking artwork.

I should also note that there is quite a big mistake with the lettering on page 28, where the speech bubbles for Batman and Batwoman are completely mixed up, and neither the letterer nor the editor have caught the mistake. The problem only really affects one page, but I’m quite surprised nobody caught it!

Batman & Robin #7 is the best issue of the series yet! With an brilliant script by Grant Morrison and beautiful artwork by Cameron Stewart, no self-respecting comic fan can afford to be without this amazing issue!


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  3. DC Shows Off New Cameron Stewart Batman & Robin Interior Artwork and Frank Quitely Covers!
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  5. A Sneak Peek at Andy Kubert’s Cover for Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1

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