After the touching interlude with Bruce and his son Damien in ‘Batman and Robin’ #8, this issue leaps head first in to the ‘Night of the Owls’ storyline.
Robin is tracking down Major General Benjamin Burrows, one of the citizens of Gotham that the Court of Owls has targeted for assassination. Meanwhile, Burrows and a group of soldiers in the Gotham Army are participating in a training exercise when they’re attacked by a small group of Talons. The soldiers are in trouble and have no idea how deadly the undead assassins are and are literally being slaughtered.
Arriving on the scene, Robin immediately takes command of the situation (humorously… much to the dismay of Burrows). Surprisingly, the soldiers take to listening to the commands of a 10-year-old quicker than I would’ve expected. Still outgunned, Robin decides to flee with Burrows in an attempt to save his life. A single Talon follows Robin and Burrows while the soldiers keep the rest of them busy. When Robin and Burrows are forced into a stand-off with the Talon in a dark forest, Burrows learns the secrets of his family lineage and why he’s marked for death.
The best thing about this issue is watching Robin take center stage. Most of this series thus far has centered on Robin anyway, albeit with his troubled relationship with his father. Now that the ‘Night of the Owls’ is underway, writer Peter Tomasi takes us away from the family dynamics for a moment and let’s Robin run rampant and it’s glorious to see him be able to unleash his violent fury. You see… the Talons are undead creatures anyway, so Robins free to cut loose without fear of his father’s reprimands on murder.
The art this issue is handled by Lee Garbett and he does a great job of keeping the action flowing. Even when things get hectic in the woods, it’s still easy to follow exactly what’s going on. The highlight of the art, however, has to be the flashback sequence when the Talon is telling the story of the Burrows family. For two pages, Andy Clarke takes over pencil duties and delivers a sepia-tented woodcut looking art that I’d love to see again in a historical or steampunk DC series.
This issue doesn’t have much in the way of story revelations as it’s mostly action, but the action is tight, fun, and exactly what a summer event comic should be.
BATMAN AND ROBIN #9
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art by LEE GARBETT, ANDY CLARKE, RAY MCCARTHY, and KEITH CHAMPAGNE
Cover by PATRICK GLEASON, MICK GRAY, and JOHN KALISZ