BATMAN AND ROBIN Issue #3 Page 1 and Issue #3 Page 20


Batman and Robin 1
©2009 DC Comics. All Rights Reserved.
(ABOVE) BATMAN AND ROBIN (2009)
by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely
Issue #3, Page 1: Batman Action Vehicle Splash Page
Graphite on board
11" x 17"
$6,500.00



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Batman and Robin 2
©2009 DC Comics. All Rights Reserved.

(ABOVE) BATMAN AND ROBIN (2009)
by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely
Issue #3, Page 20: Principle Action Hero Splash Page
Graphite on board
11" x 17"
NFS

Grant Morrison killed Bruce Wayne in Batman R.I.P. as part of his Final Crisis takeover of the DC Universe, but this was only part of a much larger plan which continued in the pages of Batman and Robin.

Grant Morrison may be one of the most patient set-up men in the business. He began his master outline on Batman with issues 655-658 in his Batman and Son story, which introduced Bruce Wayne/Batman’s adolescent son Damian, raised by his mother, Talia Al Ghul. Damian is a violent and self-important brat trained by the League of Assassins to kill at a young age, which doesn’t quite jibe with Batman’s moral code.

From #663-683, Morrison first set up a wildly degenerate rogues gallery of new arch criminals, and then started on the Batman R.I.P. story arc, which pits Batman against The Black Glove, whose identity remained one of the best kept secrets in comics. Surviving an explosion that whipes out his foes, the events of Final Crisis draw Batman elsewhere, and in a battle with Darkseid, both are mortally wounded, but none are witness to Bruce Wayne’s death, so to the characters in the extended Bat Family including Tim Drake (the third Robin, now called Red Robin), Dick Grayson (the original Robin, now Night Wing), Jason Todd (the second Robin, thought dead, but resurrected as the Red Hood), and Squire (sidekick to UK Batman-countepart, The Knight), Bruce is merely missing, but believed dead. A Battle for the Cowl ensues, from which a reluctant Dick Grayson emerges as the winner. Ten-year-old Damian assumes the role of Robin, but the dynamic between this Batman and Robin is radically different, with "a more light-hearted and spontaneous Batman and a scowling, bad ass Robin."

Morrison started out with the idea to prove that no one else but Bruce Wayne could be Batman, but thought about how fun it would be for someone else to try. Morrison reunited with favorite collaborator Frank Quitely for the first three issues (and all the subsequent covers) choosing a brisker action choreography and re-introducing the sound effects as integral elements of the artwork. As a result, this collaboration between the two is the loosest yet, allowing a true, equal partnership to surface as a coda in the careers of two men whose work is so closely identified with each other. Quitely won the 2010 Eagle Award for Favourite Artist: Pencils and Favourite Cover, while the series won for both Favourite New Comcibook and Favourite American Colour Comicbook.

Morrison later revealed that the R.I.P. stood for Rot In Purgatory, and the Return of Bruce Wayne miniseries was released in tandem with the Batman and Robin series after the first few issues. The grotesquery of the villains that Dick and Damian faced seemed to mirror the purgatorial aspects of the bigger story and it’s the most fun Morrison’s readers have had in years.

The first splash page displayed above features Dick Grayson as Batman holding a criminal face down, inches from the asphalt as he cruises along in one of Bruce Wayne’s fancy bat vehicles. Quitely captures the motion of the vehicle and the tension of the action by zooming out to a full, overhead view of the vehicle. Dick Grayson as Nightwing has always relied on his wits more so than the threat of retribution, and is clearly not comfortable with such tactics in the role of Batman. This first page to issue #3 is actually nicer than the cover, and stands as one of the most beautiful comic pages of Quitely’s career. Fitting that it should come from a Morrison collaboration titled Batman Reborn.

The second splash page displayed above features Damian as Robin smashing through a glass ceiling with Dick Grayson as Batman right behind him. Readers are presented with the perspective of Professor Pyg’s masked, mutilated henchmen (armed with everyday weapons like power drills and baseball bats) right before they catch an ass-kicking by Batman and Robin. Frank Quitely only penciled the first three issues of this series, and aside from the covers, there are only two of his splash pages featuring both Batman and Robin. The other one is in the artist’s private collection.

 

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