Saturday, September 14, 2013

Batman and Robin #22 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

I haven’t been a huge fan of this “five stages of grief” plotline in “Batman and Robin,” mostly because it has seemed forced.  It’s resulted in weird confrontations like the one between Jason and Bruce in the first issue or Barbara and Bruce in the last one; I call them weird because they seem unlikely to have happened naturally, resulting more from Tomasi's need to match them to stage of grief that the issue is supposed to depict.

But, at least he was trying.  In this issue, he just abandons the concept entirely.  Catwoman doesn’t even mention the loss of Damian, despite the fact that she has to be aware of it.  I know that this Catwoman is a bit…colder than the DCU’s Selina Kyle, but, reading this issue, you wouldn’t know that she and Batman even remotely know one another, aside from some playful flirting on her part.  I was expecting Selina to help Bruce take his mind off Damian, but I thought it would be explicitly about taking his mind off Damian.  Instead, it's a consequence of her actions here, not the goal.

Instead, the Damian-related emotion of the issue lies with Bruce’s interaction with Carrie Kelly.  The problem with that, unfortunately, is that it seems hard to believe that someone as sharp as Carrie would be falling for the subterfuge that Bruce employs to keep her from realizing that Damian is dead.  To be honest, I’m not entirely sure why we’re not telling her.  Does the public at large not know?  If not, how long does Bruce really think that he can keep it quiet?  Why keep it quiet in the first place?

Carrie not seeing through Bruce’s ploy is a bit like Tim Drake no longer having discovered Bruce and Dick’s secret identities; it degrades the character, to the point where you question why they're special enough to be Robin in the first place.  Carrie is going to have to be more than just the dog-walker to justify the amount of space that Tomasi dedicates to her, but it seems unlikely that Bruce is going to make her Robin simply because she has spunk.

In other words, I’m not sure what either the Catwoman or Carrie stories have to do with “despair” or the future of this title.  Though, honestly, I think I'm done caring about the future of this title.

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