New 52 – Batman and Robin #14 review

Batman & Robin ain’t what it used to be. I thoroughly enjoyed the “Born to Kill” saga featuring the villain Nobody, but it’s as if this title just keeps getting worse with every issue since Nobody was defeated. I mean, this was a mess. A half-baked plot that rushes through zombies and a cannibalistic cult and then somehow tries its hardest to tie in with the “Death of the Family” story when that really wasn’t necessary and it doesn’t even make sense. At all. It also, like the last issue, features a fill-in artist for the middle portion of the book and Giorello’s art just doesn’t blend well with Gleason’s. They’re styles are too different. I can’t help but wonder why Gleason didn’t just take this 2-part story as a chance to rest-up before the “Death of the Family” really got rolling.

The only really positive things I have to say about this comic is that the cover is pretty cool and the final pages are rather heartwarming, even if they feel kind of out of place in this story. Best of all, that touching conclusion finally clears up why Damian has been spending so much time in the Gotham sewer system over the past couple story arcs.

But jeez Louise, that was not a good read. I even made sure to read it first so I wouldn’t be comparing it to Batman #14 or the new issue of Saga or anything and it still managed to disappoint. What the hell was that? I’m going to sprinkle in some spoilers here so if you feel like ignoring my advice and picking the book up anyway, you should probably back out now.

Let’s get this straight: a Cult of Saturn that practices cannibalism raises the dead, abducts the innocent and drags their bodies back to an underground lair for a cliched cult ceremony complete with cloaks (because your cult ain’t shit if it doesn’t have cloaks), Robin fights them off along with Batman and then we get this surprise twist that this was Joker’s plan all along. What? How does that makes sense? How does that fit in to the Death of the Family timeline? And in what way does that idiotic twist make this story any better? The whole thing concludes without Batman and Robin catching the cult leader, but maybe the cult leader was Joker? So I guess Joker’s plot was to re-enact his past crimes in twisted new ways, target all the members of the bat-family, and, oh yeah, raise the dead with the help of a cannibalistic cult and abduct as many of Gotham’s citizens as possible for one big banquet. I’m reminded of an episode of King of the Hill in which Hank tells a Christian rocker that he’s not making Christianity better, he’s making rock’n roll worse. Mixing Batman & Robin #13/14 and Death of the Family together benefits no one.

If this comic wanted to be about zombies, it should’ve strove for a more adventure tone. Zombies and Batman don’t mix naturally so if you want to do it you better bring the fun so we Bat-fans can just sit back and have a blast watching Batman and Robin battle the undead. This 2-part story was absolutely joyless. Batman & Robin needs a good story and fast. It’s quickly becoming the weakest of the Batman titles.

SCORE: 3/10

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