How is Batman coping after the events that took place in Batman Incorporated? Find out in this review of Batman & Red Robin #19 …
Batman and Red Robin #19
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Pencils by Pat Gleason
Inks by Mick Gray
Synopsis: Batman begins his journey through the “five stages of grief” following the events of Batman Inc. #8, beginning with the title “Denial”.
Good: The beginning of the story arc flows perfectly along with the current events in the Bat universe fitting in well with the ending of an amazing silent issue in Batman and Robin #18. The book opens with the introduction of Carrie Kelly (see Batman The Dark Knight Returns) to regular continuity for the first time. While Bruce Wayne is still recovering from the death of his son, he finds a bill from Damian’s tutor and, being the man he is, needs to investigate her further. I really enjoyed this introduction because it seemed like a natural progression of the story. It was a very real take on the loss of a loved one because people still do get mail and phone calls for loved ones after they pass. Carrie wouldn’t have been able to link the death of Robin to the disappearance of Damian. While I’m not sure what DC’s plans for Carrie are in the New 52, I did see this as a great way to bring her in, even if just for a brief appearance. Overall, the Bruce Wayne portion of this issue was very well done.
The Batman story in this book features the appearance of Red Robin, who needs to save Batman from the depths of his grief. While the story itself wasn’t good, the Red Robin appearance was a plus. His portion in the story tied the events of “Death of the Family” and “Requiem,” and showcased his current state of animosity towards Bruce but at the same time his “through thick and thin” family bond.
Sadly, the writing in the “Batman” portion of this book wasn’t nearly well done as that of Bruce Wayne but the artwork was able to pick up a bit of the slack. Spoilers ahead: The issue features a guest appearance (to my dismay) of Frankenstein which allows some great looking panels of him and Batman duking it out near the end of the book. The artwork features a very detailed depiction of Frankenstein, right down to the stitching in his scalp. There’s also a few overhead shots detailing his crypt, equipped with the classic horror film operating table with car starter cables to bring him to life.
Bad: While the book started out fantastic, it fell off as soon as Batman put on the cape and cowl. Spoilers ahead: The basic plot of this story features Batman trying to learn Frankenstein’s secrets to life, with the intention of reviving his dead son Damian. While I understand Tomasi attempting to make Batman look as desperate as possible, the inclusion of Frankenstein just completely obliterated my interest in this book to the point of making me want to forget this was ever in continuity. It seemed way too forced and farfetched especially considering the brilliance Tomasi and Gleason captured in the previous issue. The wonderful thing about Batman and Robin is how dark, and relatable the title is on a general basis. By using the Frankenstein monster, especially this soon after such a large event in the Bat universe, I feel it is a gimmicky cop-out and an insult to the death of such a major characters memory.
Overall “Denial” featured several positives. However, I do hope to see some improvements to the man in the cape and cowl in the next four stages of grief. Tomasi and Gleason set my hopes so high for this title after the amazing work in Batman and Robin #18 but this time they fell short.