Saturday, June 06, 2009

Batman and Robin and Seaguy Hit THE SPLASH PAGE

Chad Nevett and I couldn't resist talking about Grant Morrison comics when two of them shipped on the same day. So that's what we did:

Chad Nevett:
Oh my god, we're discussing Grant Morrison again! What a surprise! I am so shocked! This never happens! Ever! Seriously! Er... so... yeah... "Batman and Robin" #1 and "Seaguy" #3. Want to kick things off, Tim?

Tim Callahan: "Batman and Robin" #1? Oh, did that come out?

Honestly, I haven't been anticipating a comic this much since "Final Crisis" #7, how about you?

The first thing that pops to mind is, "yeah, had Quitely drawn all of Morrison's 'Batman' run, our brains would not have been able to handle the awesomeness." Boy, is he the perfect guy to take this Morrisonian weirdness and make it sing. And, yeah, this issue immediately renders all of "Battle for the Cowl" moot, filling in just enough plot details to get everyone up to speed, and then jumping right into the action. This is definitely a much more accessible Morrison Batman comic, with very little in the way of subtext beyond the Dick/Damian relationship and the new strangeness descending on Gotham in the absence of Bruce Wayne. But Morrison's "Batman" run started out simple too, with a Man-Bat Ninja attack and the introduction of his hitherto-unknown son. I think people forget that when they complain about the dense and indecipherable earlier Morrison Batman comics (which, as we both know, were slightly dense but hardly indecipherable). Still, this is a "Batman and Robin" comic for everyone to enjoy. I didn't even miss Jamie Grant's colors as much as I thought I would -- Alex Sinclair does a nice, bold job with the color palatte here, and perhaps Grant would have made it too ephemeral for a Batman comic (although I probably shouldn't assume that, since a pro like Grant would have changed his approach to suit this series).

As much as I liked "Batman and Robin" #1, I think I prefered "Seaguy" #3, though. "Batman and Robin" #1 was great and all, but it seemed to be pretty much exactly what I expected going in -- based on the preview art and the interviews. I never know what to expect from "Seaguy," and this final issue (of the middle series) had it all: action, madness, thrills, nonsense, satire, and most of all, romance! I loved the heck out of this "Seaguy" series. What about you? "Batman and Robin" #1 or "Seaguy" #3? What takes the Nevett Award for Best Morrison Comic of Early June?

CN: Yeah, "Seaguy" was the better comic. I was looking forward to "Batman and Robin" more, but "Seaguy" is just too damn good for a lighter superhero book to really match up. And "Batman and Robin" is very much a light superhero book -- a very good one, but, in many ways, I don't think it quite matches up to what Morrison did up until this point on "Batman." As you said, it's very superficial and lacking in subtext, which is fine and good, but a book like that is always going to look inferior next to one that is so rich and deep like "Seaguy." I love both, but one is going to get reread this weekend and the other isn't.

Actually, there's something about "Batman and Robin" that felt off for me. I didn't mention it in my review of the issue, because I was going for something a bit more objective -- and because I haven't been able to figure out what feels off yet. Maybe it's the lack of subtext. In many ways, this comic feels too easy, too self-explanatory. Too unchallenging. One of the things that we've loved about Morrison's "Batman" run has been that it demands that the reader step up and engage the comic in a far more active way than he or she usually would. Now, maybe we'll discover later that there really was tons of stuff going on here -- because, as you said, Morrison's "Batman" run began similarly -- but, I was maybe just expecting more. That said, "Batman and Robin" is a very smart, well-executed comic that reads briskly. I don't think it's as groundshaking as others have said, but it's a very strong start to this book and this new dynamic duo. Are you missing the subtext like I am?

To Be Continued at GraphiContent!


sohei said...

Umm... link doesn't take you to the rest of the discussion.

Chad Nevett said...

That's because I just posted the second half. Go read it.

Unknown said...

Now you guys have simply lost your minds. I love Cameron Stewart's art but in no way does he EVER surpass Frank Quitely's virtuosity. And, NO, you're both wrong, in fact, Batman and Robin #1 was better than Seaguy #3. Although, I loved Seaguy #3 very much - we're talking differences in quality that could only be measured with a gamma-ray interferometer. I look forward to Grant Morrison's next creator owned work.
That is all.

Rohan Williams said...

Not really subtext, but I loved that this issue picked up on Bruce's attempts at 'Building a Better Batmobile' from Morrison's first issue. So are Dick and Damian a better Batman and Robin than Bruce and Tim?

Loved that page with Dick looking back at the Wayne tombstone as he and Alfred pull out of the Manor, too - reminded me of the first page of NXM, when Cyclops tells Wolverine he can stop hacking away at the Sentinel. Time to move on.

Brian Tutton said...

Dick and Damian may not be a better Batman and Robin than Bruce and Tim but they are certainly being written that way.

My one fault with Morrison's run on Batman is how Damian was put over at the expense of Tim every time, let alone getting to see Bruce and Tim actually function as a unit.