New 52 – Batman and Robin #9 review

With the bat-family fighting the undead it’s game-on for everyone to be as brutal as possible. The no-kill rule has gone out the window and there’s no better time to see every hero be a total badass than right now…so why hold anything back?

Strength in Numbers

Why was Wayne Manor the only target that required dozens of Talons when an assault on several military units (Batman & Robin #9) and the GCPD (Batgirl #9) only saw one assassin each? The Talon of “Batwing” #9 was only trying to kill Lucius Fox, so one Talon alone made sense. That was a great part of the Night of Owls crossover and had the best fight scene so far (outside of Snyder’s “Batman”). But Damian is famous for wielding a samurai sword and the Talon here in “Batman & Robin” is going to try and kill a Major General in the middle of military exercises surrounded by squads of armed soldiers. I really expected to see a massacre. This is a job for multiple assassins. I thought Damian would be cutting countless Talons in half while soldiers engaged even more with heavy weapons in the background. What I got, however, was a pretty tame issue.

 There Will Not Be Much Blood

This isn’t about showing Robin as a physical badass, it’s about showing what a great tactician he is. It’s kind of silly to see a 10 year old boy barking orders at a squad of grown soldiers, but if the kid who shows up on a jet pack says he read Clausewitz and Jomini at age 6 then I guess you shut up, pay attention, and do what he tells you.

That’s not to say that a brutal fight between Talon and Robin alone never happens, it does and it’s very well executed. Artist Lee Garbett (filling in for Gleason) has a very kinetic style and the action plays out well. It’s just that it’s over far too quickly. I came here to see Robin fight the Owls and instead I got Robin ordering a bunch of red shirts (Star Trek reference, but you know that) around for 90% of the book and then I finally got what I paid for in the final 3 pages or so. It was pretty disappointing, but maybe my expectations were far too high.

Nobody Asked

There’s also a lot of unnecessary stuff in this issue including an entire page where the Talon takes a break from hunting Burrows to behead a couple of innocent campers and another two page scene where we learn the Talon’s entire life story in a very wordy speech–who’da thunk these undead zombies would have so much to say? What’s the point of him killing the campers? We already understand he’s evil and it disrupted the pacing of an otherwise intense battle. And as for the 2 page backstory for the Talon, it may have looked nice thanks to guest artist Andy Clarke’s pencils, but it added nothing to the story and was totally pointless since this Talon would be dead 3 pages later.

Overall

It’s pretty forgettable, but far better than this week’s “Batgirl” or last week’s “Detective Comics” entry to the Night of the Owls saga. Also, on a side note, I think it’s time comics retired the sound effect “fap” it has an unfortunate connotation now that makes for some unintentionally funny moments.

SCORE: 5/10

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