Well, it's that time again folks: Wednesday! And you know what Wednesday is?... Well, of course you do, you're reading a blog about comics, so you obviously know it's New Comics Day, a.k.a. Paul's favorite weekly holiday! And now for his much-anticipated pick-of-the-week...
What a Wednesday! It's late Thursday night, and I'm a little bit tardy on my column for this week. It's been a long day, but after putting some grueling final exams behind me, I'm racing into summer break with reckless abandon! I'm looking at a coming week full of quality time with a massive stack of trades and hardbacks, along with my usual week's pulls, and I can't wait. But for now, I have my pick from this week ready for you all, and if you're guessing what it's going to be you're probably going to off...
Batman and Robin #9 by Peter Tomasi and Lee Garbett
In a week where Scott Snyder's Batman comes out, especially the issue that is the heart of the "Night of the Owls" crossover, you may be surprised to see Tomasi's Batman and Robin usurping the formidable leader of the Bat books. Let me begin by saying that I am not saying that this issue of B&R is in fact superior to issue #9 of Batman. I decided to award this issue my pick of the week because of the fact that Snyder's Batman has no doubt received an insane amount of praise from the rest of the comic world. In my own humble opinion, Tomasi's Batman and Robin is the unsung hero out of all the Bat books that are coming out of DC right now. Patrick Gleason's art has been impressive from the get-go, and the story that these guys told with the new villain Nobody took the Bat and Bird to a whole new level in the New 52. However, issue #9 takes us somewhere totally different, along with a guest artist in the form of Lee Garbett.
When I picked up my pulls from this week, I was super excited about delving into all of my "Night of the Owls" books. Up to this point, we've gotten Detective Comics, Batwing, Batgirl, Batman and Robin, and, of course, Batman. Since Snyder's tentpole series stands out amongst its peers, the others have the unenviable duty of trying to stand up even taller than the other tie-ins. Of these other series that have tied in, Tomasi's story has by far been the best.
This issue opens up on the Robin, the boy wonder, who has received the same call out from Alfred as the other members of the Bat family. He immediately intends to return to Wayne Manor, but is instead directed toward a military man in Gotham who is one of the remaining men from the hit-list that Batman got from the Talons. This is the first time that we as readers are getting a chance to see Robin out on his own fighting the good fight, and let me be the first to tell you that it is really something else. The comic itself was a pretty standard one-off, but the aspect that impressed me greatly was how that Robin, an adolescent in a costume, stepped up to a military general and in a few short moments took total command of the entire infantry. The men who question his authority and ability soon find themselves quieted by his unparalleled knowledge and skill. And man, the boy really knows how to take some names and kick some tail.
The art by Garbett really stands out here. In a crossover event that has promised big action, this is the issue that clearly delivers the most, and a great deal of that credit goes to the guest artist. Each punch and kick is felt, not to mention some particularly disturbing scenes. Another factor that really drew me into this story was the fact that this Talon is not just some mindless monster, but rather he is on a personal vendetta against his target, Major General Benjamin Burrows. While some of the Talons avoid murdering people that aren't a direct part of the mission, this one takes pleasure in eliminating every person that he comes in contact with (including a very unfortunate couple of campers). This guy is not only lucid and thoughtful, he is ruthless and incredibly skilled.
But this comic wouldn't be any good without a victorious hero, now would it? And in my personal favorite scene, Damien Wayne shows the readers just why he is more than just a sidekick to the Dark Knight, but rather he is one of the most skilled and capable heroes to don the cape. The world has a legion of Dick Grayson fans, and there is even a strong sect of Tim Drake supporters (we all know Jason Todd got the short end of the... crowbar... ouch). But for those of you who may not be sold on the most recent patron of Robin's cape, don't count him out just yet. Go check out Batman and Robin #9. Trust me, you'' be very glad that you did.