The Bat Casebook by Jared Kardos

Welcome to The Bat Casebook, where I take what Batman comics came out that week and review them for you. Let’s get started, shall we?

BATMAN & ROBIN #9
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Cameron Stewart
Cover Artist: Frank Quitely and Cameron Stewart

It’s kinda odd that this column’s accidentally became bi-weekly coinciding with this title. Coincidence, of course, but it is a book that’s really got me hyped for the bat-verse in general, and is just full of excitement.

So what happens in this issue? Dick helps kill Batwoman, but him, Knight and Squire get out of the cave-in and use the Cauldron of Rebirth/Lazarus Pit to revive her, and there was much celebration (come on, they’re in England—you think I wouldn’t pull a Python reference out at some point?). Zombie Batman takes out Alfred (but not without getting some good blows in with what looked like a cricket bat—not as badass as his usual shotgun-wielding self, but I’m willing to look past that) which leaves a vastly disadvantaged Damian against the deranged clone of his father. Damian is confirmed to be the son of Bruce Wayne—both by the clone and by his resourcefulness in slowing him down enough until reinforcements come in. Knight, Squire, Batman and Batwoman use all their resources to take out the rapid degenerating clone, with the latter two delivering the final blow in the classic double-punch that this book is famous for. The last few pages are Alfred and Damian haranguing Dick for thinking that it was ever remotely a bright idea to do what he did, and Dick accepts it, saying he felt he had to because of who Bruce was and the amount of lives he’s saved, but it does confirm one thing…Tim was right. Somewhere, Bruce Wayne is alive.

This was a fantastic issue—a great closer for an entertaining arc. The writing was amazing, it had an exciting flow, great character lines and moments, had some clever ideas like Zombie Batman’s degenerating speech-patterns (done a lot better than Morrison’s previous attempt in All-Star Superman), and offers some clarification and makes for more questions to ponder, especially for Damian. I also liked how they explained Dick’s motivations in the end—it seemed like Morrison anticipated that some fans wouldn’t be pleased with Dick’s plan, so he gave them a reason that ultimately made sense while acknowledging that it was Dick going against who he was. This just has me even more hyped for the next arc—Batman Vs. Robin!

GOTHAM CITY SIRENS #9
Writer: Paul Dini
Artist: Guillem March

This is a great moment worthy of celebration—the first Dini-penned book released this year that was actually written by Dini! Yayz! I would be annoyed by his infrequency of late, if it weren’t for the fact that he always delivers quality when he does make it onto the stage.

What we get this issue is a solid mystery story, with the Sirens being framed for a murder in their own home and coming to the only person who’d be willing to actually find out if they’re innocent—The Riddler. We have them tell their own version of what they saw, which brings out some great character moments—Ivy using her expertise and some pheromones to become the chief botanist at the Gotham section of S.T.A.R. Labs, Selina getting a check-up about her whole “having her heart ripped out” thing and then training with Ted “Wildcat” Grant, and Harley fighting on internet forums—truly a woman after my own heart.

Eddie decides to take the case and goes to their home and examines the body, deducing that she was indeed not killed by the Sirens, but by…someone you should see for yourself. Seriously, while it wasn’t an amazing surprise of a reveal—I mean, in comparison to what happened in Blackest Night, the closest thing I can think of that could surprise me this week is that if I have a night-cap with Scarlet Johanson—it was a cool reveal of an interesting villain that I thought was dead.

Overall it was a very solid issue. Dini created an excellent set-up for Riddler to solve, and I have a feeling that this is going to be Dini’s last great hurrah of P.I. Riddler before Daniel will undoubtedly set him up again as yet another super-villain a few issues from now in Batman. I’m also enjoying the art more with this issue. Tell me, dear reader, is this art growing on me, or am I going nuts? Y’know, on second thought, don’t answer that one.

However, there is one thing that I’ve been noticing about March’s art that’s finally picked up on me as a problem—Catwoman’s cleavage. This is not me being prudish; in fact, it works in special occasions, key word being “special.” Having her costume zipped down like that ruins any sexiness that comes from it. I could maybe accept it if it’s Selina’s casual look while in the costume, but then I remember that she fought with her mask on and cleavage exposed just last issue. I just don’t get why. The only reason I can think of is that she wanted to expose the girls this the whole time, but she couldn’t while Bruce was alive since he would Batarang any unsuspecting fool that even thinks about staring at them. It’s not enough to push me off the book, but come on—sometimes it’s best to wait for the right moment when it comes to that kinda cheesecake stuff, and Ivy has enough cleavage going to share with the whole lot of them, including Eddie.

So that was all the Bat-related books out this week. Next week, on March 3rd, we’ll have Detective Comics #862, and since I did it’s prequel a few months back, I believe I will also count First Wave #1.