BATMAN & RED ROBIN 19
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)
Tomasi is a tits writer, Gleason’s magic stick is his pencil; whatever I say from here forward is ABSOLUTELY no reflection on the creators of this book. That is of course unless it was their idea to give us “just the tip” of “jazz hands” Carrie Kelly. In case you’re reading this review for the advertised WTF moment, I’ll tell you right now: Carrie’s not Robin, she’s not even close to becoming Robin. Harper Rowe was more in the running a few months ago. Sadly the real WTF moment was a nary a whisper on anyone’s list as Bruce looks to resurrect Damian sans a Lazarus Pit.
First, I feel the need to educate the young bucks and buckettes of comicdom. Carrie Kelly was a young High School student from the future. The future as Frank Miller saw it in 1986 when he looked 25 years ahead to create his masterpiece the DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. While I find his modern work to be shit incarnate, back then Miller was a forward looking genius and in hindsight a sage prophet. I can’t even begin to, so I won’t even try, to set the mood of DKR. If we just focus on Carrie though, she’s a girl who idolized the then retired Bats. She comes from a home of not abusive parents, but certainly anesthetized by pot, pills, and the electric allure of 24 hour television. They bitch about the state of the world and how to fix it, but never put plan into action. Remember gang, in 1986 no one knew what Gen X and Y would be like as parents 25 years later. I think Miller hit the nail on the fucking head, even though he missed the part about posting inactive action on message boards. Carrie, not content to just be a passive observer in life, dons a Robin costume (most likely purchased online) and helps to fix the problems her bleary eyed parents simply bitch about.
I was really excited to see this sage satire reflected once again on the pages of BATMAN & RED ROBIN given we are actually in the timeframe that DKR took place. After all, the rewrites would be minimal since Miller did all the heavy lifting. Nope…this Carrie Kelly is a musical theater major that Damian was taking acting classes with. I’ll let that sink in a minute…
These book-end moments would have been fantastic, because again Tomasi is tits in my opinion, if it was anyone but Carrie Kelly. These sections especially resonated with me because I am the 1% of straight men in America with an MFA in theater, and chooses to watch PBS broadcasts of Les Mis on Sundays as opposed to Footballs. Carrie is a saucy and fun young adult, she really is. She also has a caring heart for Damian, which leads her to Wayne manor to find out why this young talent stopped taking lessons…and to get payment of course. She is a good character, just not THE Carrie Kelly.
As for the rest of the issue I have nary a bad word for it. BATMAN is becoming unhinged; his grief over the loss of Damian (and the rest of the family) is wearing his soul incredibly thin. In a desperate effort to right Talia’s wrongs, Bruce actually finds a way to abduct FRANKENSTEIN to learn what made the monster come back to life. FRANKENSTEIN and his S.H.A.D.E. team are DC’s answer to the HELLBOY crew and sits as one of the most underrated titles of the New 52. Every issue has been amazing in weirdness and a touching exploration that the human soul does in fact exists within monsters. Sorry, back to BATMAN & RED ROBIN. So once Bruce deciphers where Frankenstein’s lab is located he flies a bound Frank to his Daddy’s lab and starts the dissecting.
RED ROBIN comes into the fray because of a desperate plea from Alfred. Great continuity here as Tim laments any contact with Bruce based on the events of “Death of the Family” and even better follow-through once the two finally come face-to-face-to-Frank’s dismembered head.
I loved this issue, I really did. I’m OK with an unhinged Bruce. It shows a level of humanity I wish we saw more of twenty-five years ago when Jason bit the big one. Gleason does amazing work playing the lighter fare of Carrie’s adventure, juxtaposed against the dark moments as Bruce tries to find the spark of immortality. I just have a lot of wishes after reading this. I wish this was old Carrie, not a New 52 Carrie. I wish I had seen moments with Damian taking acting lessons instead of it being a Ret-Con allude. I guess I wish I was in an editorial position at DC, which will never happen. So, if we take solely what is, this was a damn fine issue, just not the issue I would have written.