A mysterious villain in France has sprung three of the most horrible super-criminals from the Parisian Arkham and Nightrunner calls in Batman & Robin to help him round them up, as they go nuts in The Louvre. Writer David Hine comes up with some good, new villains that help fill out Nightrunner’s rogue’s gallery and it’s a pretty fun romp but it feels a little rushed and it’s too bad “The French Batman” doesn’t play a bigger role in an adventure on his home turf. Greg Tocchini & Andrei Bressan pinch in on art, and while their work is good, I would have loved to see this issue illustrated by someone with a more detailed style (like cover artist Chris Burnham). Still a good, done-in-one Batman comic, but it’s obviously a placeholder for the changes coming next month.
It’s an interesting time to be a DC fan; while everyone awaits the launch of September’s 52 first issues, the existing titles shuffle along as lame ducks. Some are wrapping up storylines while others are ticking away the issues with fill-in creative teams, which is absolutely not a bad thing. This final issue of the first incarnation of Batman & Robin gives us a done-in-one by writer David Hine and artist Greg Tocchini that attempts to cram a lot of dada surrealism into 22 pages. It’s a striking, bold effort that falls a bit short; Hine’s script is dense and rewards multiple readings, but Tocchini’s pencils aren’t ideal for the story he’s telling. There’s some nice bold panels but I think the surreality of the piece would have been better served by more detailed backgrounds, especially when we’re watching a pulsating mass of brainwashed strangers attack the Dynamic Duo and their Paris counterpart, Nightrunner. Still, the ambition of the thing and the moments that do go right are well worth the price of admission–I don’t want to spoil the story’s conclusion except to say that Hine and Tocchini sync up to deliver several solid dada punches that land straight in the brainpan. It’s a great single issue especially if you’re someone who likes to dip into the occasional Bat-pool but don’t follow the ongoing Bat-saga closely…or if you like your superheroes with a side order of Dadaism.