Like my previous annotations/commentary on Morrison's Batman, this is not so much a scholarly look at a comic book page-by-page as it is me making fun of stuff and/or pointing out what I notice. I may point you in directions you hadn't yet considered, but I would never guarantee anything that foolish.
Batman and Robin #1 Annotations
Cover: I'm not a huge fan of the "Battle of the Planets" Batmobile, but I'm sure it will grow on me as it continues to fly through Gotham and blow stuff up. I do like the utter simplicity of Quitely's Batman design -- classic, yet with a bit of weight in the boots to show this well-grounded Dick Grayson incarnation. I also like the return of the green on the Robin costume, as if Damian insisted "hey, Neal Adams, man! We can't just throw out his design!" and I like the Doc Martens, because Damian Wayne does not wear slippers (in fact, that's the subtitle of the next Robin spin-off miniseries). The best bit of the Robin costume is the black hood on top of the yellow cape because Damian doesn't care about fashion rules. He'll put a damn hood of a different color on top of a a damn yellow cape anytime he wants. He was raised by ninja assassins. Were you?
Page 1: Mr. Toad. Note that "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" isn't actually a ride at Disney World anymore. Instead you can journey through a lame, and pointlessly bouncy, tour of Winne the Pooh's house. Perhaps Morrison's anger at this switch led to the Mickey Eye thing in "Seaguy."
Pages 2-3: Flying Batmobile vs. old-timey car.
Pages 4-5: I imagine Batman says "I'm sorry I ever doubted you, Damian" in the tone of a middle school basketball coach, trying his best to be patient and supportive, but really wanting to tell the other kids to beat the little punk up after practice. This Batmobile shoots rockets that go boom.
Pages 6-7: "Never use real names in the field" is code for: "the exposition's over, pal, so start talking like these readers have actually read 'Battle for the Cowl' (even though we're as surprised as anyone that they actually did)." This Batmobile also has grappling powers. All it needs is a pair of metal fists. And Mr. Toad speaks like a carnie.
Pages 8-9: The double punch is a strategy employed heavily in the "Batman" television show from the 1960s, which is the feeling Morrison is apparently aiming for here. No sound effects, though, because that wouldn't make this panel ironic, it would just make it silly. Dominoes are also known as "bones" because doctors, aka "sawbones" used to get paid in dominoes (okay, that is probably not true at all). Does anyone draw gloves better than Frank Quitely? The answer is no.
Pages 10-11: The two pages that render all of "Battle of the Cowl" and its tie-ins completely irrelevant. Good. Also: Batman's grave, but nothing is written on it! Could it be that he's not really dead? Perhaps that final page at the end of "Final Crisis" #7 that showed Bruce Wayne alive in a caveman cave meant that Bruce Wayne is not, in fact, dead but rather alive in a caveman cave.
Page 12: See, I told you dominoes were called bones! Also, this page is a complete rip-off of Chris Ware's "Building Stories" and he should probably sue.
Page 13: The exposition ain't done yet, it turns out. But a European circus performer? That's menacing. And, no, eating chicken and jalapeno sandwiches don't make you a badass, Dick Grayson, as Damian is quick to prove.
Page 14: Who says, "crime is doomed"? Dick Grayson, right? He is turning into the sarcastic middle school basketball coach already. Also, Damian should drop a League of Assassins reference in every conversation. "So, did you catch the 'Lost' season finale?" "No, because I was raised by the masters of my mother's League of Assassins." "Do you like jalapeno sandwiches, with chicken?" "Dick Grayson, I will cut out your pansy tongue with a machete I carved from the spine of Charles Manson as I was taught by the masters of my mother's League of Assassins." Etc.
Pages 15-16: Disrespectful brats always talk about other people having to "earn" their respect. The "Tim Drake" line really puts Damian in his place, though. Dick Grayson may get promoted to junior varsity b-ball coach before this issue is over. Also, Pyg's doll gals are creepy. Pyg and his dolls appeared way back in "Batman" #666, remember that one? The one that was an "alternate future" where Damian was Batman? The one that seems less and less like an alternate future and more and more like what could really happen if Morrison stayed on this comic long enough? That was a good issue, wasn't it? This art is way better.
Pages 17-18: I know it's expressionistic and I understand foreshortening, but Frank Quitely's Batman can reach down and grab hold of his kneecaps without even bending over. His arms must have stretched after all those years of swinging around Gotham. I do like how Robin is bigger and in the foreground. This is the "Robin and Batman" series at this point. Grayson needs to step up and smack the little brat with those baboon arms of his.
Pages 19-20: That guy with the flaming skull? It's not the Flaming Skull. (He's Phosphorus Rex.)
Pages 21-22: Pyg is apparently not a professor yet. He's got a whole Leatherface thing going on here, which is pretty terrifying actually. And the acid mask gag? Didn't the Black Mask used to do something like that? Anyway, things look bleak for Niko and family. I don't think Robin will care too much about saving them. He was raised by assassins.
Page 23: I don't know if that's Jason Todd or not, but in that single panel, he looks cooler than he does in every previous appearance combined. Also: Dr. Hurt returns and he's got the keys to a building that's been blown up. Why is he all braggy about it? Because he's Satan, that's why! Or he's Bruce Wayne's father, that's why! Neither of which were raised by any sort of assassins, as far as I know.
No obscure 1950's "Batman" comics to reference this month? Maybe I'll drop this series and see what Winick's got going on.
Morrison and Quitely!!!