Grant Morrison’s Batman & Robin: Batman Must Die! brings the conclusion to the (Morrison universe) Batman & Robin trilogy. Having scored Batman Reborn and Batman vs . Robin both a 5 and very much looked forward to this. And I was not disappointed. Batman must die! picks up where the last volume left off whilst still being related to the Black Glove storyline. It’s action packed and has a great storyline.
The one thing that sticks out from the beginning of Batman Must Die! is that it doesn’t make much sense with inner monologues full of riddles and Professor Pyg and Dr. Simon Hurt seemingly speaking in tongues. This book is not a great starting point for new readers as there’s plenty of context which is needed to piece things together. Once again, the dynamic of Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne as Batman and Robin is one of the all time highlights for me, personally. They get along and work well with each other now and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This is particularly evident when Dick fears for Joker’s life when he’s stuck in a room with the young Robin.
This is where the storyline really begins as The Dark Knight and Robin face off against Joker and Dr. Hurt before the climax at the bat cave and the return of the real Batman.
Joker plays a big part in the storyline and it is one of the finest portrayals of the killer clown you’ll find in a comic book. He’s calculated, menacing and his plan is all about the ‘finer details’ a part, we find, where Batman always figures out what’s going on. Even the way he looks is one of the purest forms I’ve seen. Joker has been written and drawn so well in this book you’d think it was a classic Batman/Joker book – it isn’t.
The real storyline, which is Simon Hurt’s quest to get the box back is the real meat and gravy of Batman Must Die! It is a little bit confusing at times even after reading the first two volumes. Reading the other books from the Morrison run is advised and I wish I had a bit as I needed to a lot of background reading in between pages.
It’s a conspiracy driven storyline which is very good in parts and the confusion drags it down in other areas. Once the Black Glove plot is concluded, Bruce Wayne returns as does Batman. Morrison then sets up the next phase in his run which is Batman Incorporated. Details of what he got up to are minimal but he does plant the seed about an incoming threat justifies whatever Incorporated is.
The artwork in Batman Must Die! is inconsistent between a couple of styles. Frazer Irving’s style in particular was one I found not so great and often characters were drawn with comical moon faces.
Overall, this is a great book. A brilliant storyline that concludes the trilogy and sets up Incorporated. Irving’s art was not too my taste and is the only reason this a 4/5 and not top marks.
Last update on 2020-09-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API