cover image Batman & Robin, Vol. 3: Batman Must Die!

Batman & Robin, Vol. 3: Batman Must Die!

Grant Morrison, Frazier Irving, David Finch, et al. DC, $24.99 (168p) ISBN 978-1-4012-3091-3

An opening scene in which a bat-garbed Dick Grayson is shot in the back of the head gangland-style sets the tone for Morrison's tale. A man posing as Bruce Wayne's father, Thomas, returned from the grave, claims Bruce's wealth and attempts to carry out a twisted vengeance on Bruce's costumed heirs; as the story flashes back to show the events leading up to that scene, villainy appears fated to win. Dick "Batman" Grayson and Bruce's son, Damian, struggle to work out what "Thomas" and his demented allies are up to before Gotham is lost; traditional allies prove to have been suborned, forcing Dick and Damian into an uncomfortable partnership with none other than the Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker. A follow-up story, set after the return of the original Batman, Bruce Wayne, reveals the next stage of the Bat, the evolution of the legacy into a literal franchise. Like his protagonist, Morrison misdirects and misleads his audience, although for a more beneficent purpose; despite appearances, violence and chaos are self-defeating, and good people can through great effort prevail in the end. The art is divided among a number of artists, mostly to good effect. (May)