Batman vs. Robin #2 – Mark Waid, Writer; Mahmud Asrar, Artist; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: We knew relatively little about this series coming in, except that it would spin out of recent series of Josh Williamson and Waid himself, and would be the most brutal falling-out between Batman and Robin yet. What I don’t think anyone was expecting was that it would essentially be a Vertigo-inspired horror series that plunged Batman into the world he’s least comfortable with—dark magic. Last issue saw the return of Alfred seemingly through supernatural means, the near-death of Zatanna, and an attack by Damian on the Batcave backed up by two ensorcelled minions—Jakeem Thunder and Tim Hunter. The main villains were revealed to be Mother Soul and the Dark Lord Nezha, and Batman’s quest to save his son from himself led him to one of the most famous sites in Vertigo history—the House of Secrets, where he’s greeted this issue by the hapless Abel and begins a terrifying tour of the supernatural.
Batman and Alfred find themselves alone in the House as Abel meets his usual fate, and the stuttering man is soon replaced by his malevolent brother. So begins a psychedelic tour through the magical corners of the DCU, as Batman and Robin’s paths cross again and we get a better look into just how Damian was corrupted so thoroughly. Magical beings like Felix Faust come in and out, and it seems more and more like this wasn’t just an attack on Zatanna, but a coordinated attack on Magic users in the entire DCU. It’s a type of Batman story we’ve really never seen, and it’s genuinely impressive how much history and continuity Waid is weaving in here. But he needs to be careful with this cliffhanger, which delivers a gut punch of a reveal but also stands the risk of undermining a lot of the good will he’s built with this series. There are many ways around it, but it definitely casts a foreboding tone over all future issues.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.