From Boy Wonder to Demon Seed! Robin, you’re making progress!
Last issue ended with Robin holding a gun up to the gigantic head of some guy that Nobody wanted killed. Will Robin prove himself to Nobody by following orders and killing someone just on Nobody’s word? Robin doesn’t mind killing but he does have his own moral compass. I’m not sure which way it points but I don’t think he’d kill anyone without proof that they themselves are killers. Or at least shoplifters.
Okay, so I was wrong!
Robin pulls the trigger but the gun has no ammunition. Robin has two things working against what Batman wants for him. One of those is Batman himself. Robin believes that his father is just keeping him from the things Robin wants to do. One of those things Robin wants to do is kill and maim. That’s the other thing working against Robin: his own nature (or nurture?!). Robin doesn’t see anything wrong with killing and he’ll do so if given the opportunity. Like any kid, the only thing he really needs is the slimmest or slightest excuse to do the things he wants to do anyway. So whether this man is evil or not doesn’t matter. Only that Morgan (Nobody) tells Robin he is matters.
It’s possible Robin knew the gun wasn’t loaded by its weight and he’s playing along as long as he can simply to weigh his options: Batman’s way or Nobody’s way. That’s something I would have guessed and absolutely believed with all of the past Robins. But this one? I don’t know. He may seriously have wanted to kill this guy.
Nobody shows Robin how to do the incapacitation move on this guy before hauling him back to Nobody’s safe-house. Another point for Nobody over Batman. Batman restricts knowledge he thinks Robin can’t handle or would be too dangerous for him to know. Nobody gives it freely. Well, not actually freely. There’s a very specific reason to give Robin all the candy and killing moves he wants. Nobody certainly knows the way to win Robin over is to give him everything Batman has been withholding.
"Nobody kidnapped Robin." "Then where did Robin go." "Nobody kidnapped him!" "Third base!"
While Batman searches for Damian, he tells Damian a story. I’m not sure how he’s telling Damian the story. He’s telling it in Narration Boxes. Maybe he’s speaking into a voice recorder set up in his cowl and linked to Robin’s smartphone. The story is about Wayne’s past relationship with Morgan Ducard (Nobody! Sheesh!) and Morgan’s father. Wayne paid Daddy Ducard so that he could apprentice under him. Morgan was also learning about hunting down dangerous men from his father. Bruce and Morgan, side by side, help hunt down a dangerous man named Hassan. Bruce thought they were bringing him to justice and that Interpol had been contacted when they finally had him cornered. But the Ducards had other plans. They were simply assassins contracted out to kill Hassan. When Bruce saw the hit go down, he became enraged at the manipulation.
Custom Smudge Effect on the panels borders!
Bruce Wayne left. And Daddy Ducard instructed Morgan Ducard that Bruce Wayne needs to be killed. Seems like a good idea, right? Train a guy while taking millions of his dollars and then kill him when he stops paying because he might expose you or become a danger to your assassination business. The only problem is that part where you fucking trained him to be the best!
Morgan attempts to snipe Bruce later in London. Bruce notices the sun glint off the scope just before the trigger is pulled, giving him enough time to react and take a non-fatal hit instead of the intended, more fatal one. Morgan, the cocky bastard, believes he’s killed Bruce and as he’s driving away from the scene, Bruce throws a concrete block through the window of Morgan’s car. Bruce comes very close to killing Morgan. In the end, he throws Morgan’s unconscious body through the skylight of Daddy Ducard’s workshop. A simple message.
The man taken by Nobody and Robin was an ambassador involved in human trafficking. At the site of the kidnapping, Batman meets up with Commissioner Gordon.
I love the Bat Reflections in Gordon’s glasses.
Tomasi boils down Gordon and Batman’s relationship and trust to just two perfect panels.
Back at Nobody’s safe-house which is actually a safe-boat, Ducard tells Robin his own version of the past. He prefers the story that Wayne was looking for a father figure and he was jealous of Morgan. So Wayne attempted to kill Morgan to have Daddy Ducard all to himself. As he’s telling this story to Robin, he’s preparing to drop the Ambassador into a vat of green smoking liquid, probably acid. I wonder what kind of retrofitting needs to be done to a yacht to include a giant vat of acid in its hold.
Robin can’t stand by and let the Ambassador disappear into the acid. He activates a GPS on his suit and attempts to stop the murder. Nobody overpowers him but Robin shoots a Batgrapple into his side to knock him away (Because he’s Damian-freaking-Wayne and he’s clever?) and, possibly, to save the Ambassador somehow. I’ll know by the end of the comic, I guess. Nobody freaks out because Robin wasn’t on his side after all!
A chip off the old Dick, Tim, and Jason block!
The confrontation continues.
cri cri cri cri
And then Nobody might just push Bruce a little bit too far.
Say goodnight, Damian.
And then sounds of pummeling and torture and hurting and pain. Batman puts the pedal to the metal while gritting his teeth furiously. Nobody is in big trouble next issue.
Batman and Robin Issue #6 Rating: +2 Rankings. This is a fucking great comic book. Now, the cover was a total lie. Absolute lie! Big fucking enormous lie. It’s one of those old school misdirection covers though and not one of the cover artist got the look of the antagonist completely wrong or the story on the cover doesn’t happen for another issue or two. But forget the cover. One of the really great things about this book is that it allows the images and speech balloons to tell the majority of the story. The narration boxes are kept to a minimum and used appropriately to tell the story. It’s wonderful to see a few pages put together where the images tell you the story without having the writer feeling the need to add to it with whimsical or profound speeches.
I’ve been trying to figure out what makes some comics better than others. Not just the story because some of the bad stories are still entertaining me. I think the Narration Boxes are behind some of the most egregious problems. It’s lazy writing. Like when I bitched about the opening scene in Batgirl Issue #7 where Batgirl’s narration boxes are blabbing all of this casual banter in the middle of her near drowning. The pages would work so much better without the dumb panels. Just show her eyes and her struggling. Let the comic book do the appropriate work. Anyway, that’s just one thing I noticed while reading this. It wouldn’t surprise me if some of the other top titles also kept the narration boxes to a minimum.