Batman and Robin #20 — Tomasi/ Gleason — April ’11/ DC Comics

After an interim three-issue arc, the new creative team is finally at helm of my favorite on-going Batman title. It started as yet another Grant Morrison joint, although one that was less concerned with high-concept weirdness and more focused on the “dynamic” between Dick Grayson, the new Batman after the events of Batman R.I.P., and the new Robin, Damian Wayne—the slightly psychotic scion of Bruce Wayne.

With Bruce wearing the cowl, you always knew he was going to come out on top, you had to be crazy to fuck with him; Grayson is another story. A lot of the fun of this title is watching the nascent duo get their respective butts handed to them. As Batman, Grayson tries to temper the impetuous lil’ Wayne, repeating the lessons that Bruce instilled in him over the years. Robin, on the other hand, is more of a “punch first, ask questions later” kind of kid.

Tomasi’s script announces that this is a new beginning with the whole Bat family sitting down to watch The Mark of Zorro together, the movie that young Bruce saw with his parents the night they were murdered. The scene quickly shifts to an alley in Downtown Gotham where B ’n’ R have just gift-wrapped some thugs, leaving them hanging upside down with a cool Bat calling card.

The most obvious difference between Grayson’s detective and the elder Wayne is a sense of humor about the job. You never would have heard Bruce comment to an incisor-less criminal, “I sure hope those were baby teeth.” Damian’s tone is more Wanyesque, asking, “The wire too tight?” When the crook answers that he can’t feel his arms, Robin quips, “Good.”

Grayson has also taken on some of the responsibilities of the public Bruce Wayne, showing up for the Martha Wayne Foundation’s opening night at the opera. All holy hell breaks loose when a winged apparent suicide plummets 80 stories onto the red carpet.

Coupled with an appearance from a deranged Man-Bat and hundreds of mysterious glowing bats also falling out of the sky, the new team’s run is off to an intriguing start.

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