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Graphic Novel Review: "Batman & Robin Vol. 1: Reborn" by Grant Morrison

Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

"Batman & Robin Vol. 1: Reborn" graphic novel cover.

"Batman & Robin Vol. 1: Reborn" graphic novel cover.

Quick Info

  • Author: Grant Morrison
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Published: Hardcover, April 13, 2010; Softcover: April 5, 2011
  • Page Count: 168
  • Availability: In print, Hardcover, and softcover, digital and streaming on DCUniverseInfinite

Story Summary

Batman is dead; after the events of Batman: R.I.P., Dick Grayson has taken up the mantle of Batman. With Damian as the new Robin, they battle crime as the reborn Dynamic Duo. They go after Professor Pyg and his Cirque Du Freak, who is turning people into mindless dolls with his freakish experiments.

Meanwhile, Jason Todd resurfaces as the Red Hood with his own sidekick Scarlet as they class with Batman and Robin as he tries to prove that his methods are better than Batman.

This Is an Interesting Story, but Some of the Writing Decisions Are Stupid

Don’t get me wrong—I like this story; I enjoyed this arc a lot, but there are some writing decisions that Grant Morrison made that were so dumb they got retconned the moment he wasn’t writing Jason Todd’s character.

I enjoy the conflict between Dick and Jason. Jason has always been trying to prove that he is better than Dick when it comes to fighting crime, so it makes sense to see it naturally escalate.

It’s also interesting how Commissioner Gordon notices that Batman and Robin are different than they were before. It’s nice to know it didn’t go unnoticed that Batman was different than he used to and that he can tell that someone else is Batman now.

This graphic novel is great. Grant Morrison is a good Batman writer, and his work is interesting with well-written dialogue and an excellent storyline. Everyone seems in character, and there’s a new dynamic with Batman and Robin now that Damian, Bruce Wayne’s son, is Robin and Dick Grayson is Batman.

The story was intriguing and very well written, Grant Morrison is a good Batman writer and I enjoyed Batman: R.I.P., but his take on retconning Jason Todd’s hair color to being red like it was on Crisis on Infinite Earths, where Jason Todd of Earth-2 had red hair.

It was very stupid, and it later got retconned because it was a silly choice and made no sense at all. The reason Batman picks people with similar hair color to Dick Grayson is that Robin’s secret identity is not known to the general public so they assume it’s the same kind unless you’re in the superhero community.

While a lot of ideas in this story are good, the retcons to Jason Todd are dumb because they don’t make sense. Changing the color of Jason’s hair is foolish because his hair has been black since Crisis on Infinite Earths, and they have never shown Jason dying his hair black during his time as Robin.

Its writing and character decisions like this sound cool on the surface, but when you think about it, the changes are quite nonsensical.

Damian Wayne, fighting crime his way.

Damian Wayne, fighting crime his way.

The Artwork Is Nice

The storyline is very well done, and the action is excellent. The illustrations are very fantastic. Frank Quitely did a good job illustrating the story and his art style is unique and memorable. It does look very strange at times, although the fight scenes look magnificent. The character designs for Batman, Robin, Red Hood, and Scarlet are also stunning.

It is interesting how Frank tried to mix the classic design of the Red Hood with the more modern look that Jason had in the comics, but it isn’t the best costume for the character and was never used again in another comic, probably because fans like Jason’s old Red Hood design rather than this one.

The art was nice, but the character designs didn’t stick outside this Batman and Robin series, and Red Hood eventually began wearing what he wore during Judd Winick’s character writing.

The New Batman and Robin Dynamic Is Fun!

One thing I really enjoyed about Grant Morrison’s Batman & Robin is the dynamic of Dick and Damian that brought something fresh to the Dynamic Duo. They are interesting characters, and Dick is feeling conflicted about being Batman because he never wanted to be Batman.

There’s also a curious dynamic with Damian because he’s arrogant and thinks he knows what he’s doing because he’s had so much training. This graphic novel shows him learning and growing as a character, and I enjoyed seeing him change into a better, more likable character.

I also enjoyed Jim Gordon’s reaction to the new Dynamic Duo and seeing him figure out that it may not be the same Batman, but it's a nice touch that he knows it’s someone familiar.

I like Dick and Damian as Batman and Robin, but unfortunately, with the New52 reboot after the Flashpoint event, they made Dick Nightwing again, and they lost out on a fun dynamic that I wish they would have kept.

This Story Is Dark; It May Be a Little Too Dark

This story arc is very dark, from what Professor Pyg does to his victims to the new character of Flamingo that eats his victims’ faces. It seemed that Grant Morrison just wanted this story to be dark so he could prove that Jason’s methods don’t work, but he went a little too far, in my opinion.

I just think it didn’t need to have Flamingo be such an extreme character because it just looks like Grant created an edgy character simply for the sake of being edgy. And Jason already has his position in the edgy character department.

It seems cool, but then you think about it, and it just seems like Grant’s trying too hard to make Dick and Damian look better than Jason. He really doesn’t need to do that.

Dick feeling conflicted about Batman, Alfred asks about what happened.

Dick feeling conflicted about Batman, Alfred asks about what happened.

Reader Poll

The Ideas Are Good, but the Execution Is a Mixed Bag

I like the ideas Grant Morrison uses in his comics, but they don’t always work for fans of certain characters. I did like most of the ideas in this comic because it was interesting to see a distinct difference between Dick and Jason when it comes to crimefighting.

I like how Jason is obsessed with being better than Dick, but I did not enjoy the retcon of changing his hair color because it doesn’t make any logical sense when you’ve read the stories when Jason Todd was Robin. There was not one hint of Jason dyeing his hair during that time, so it just comes across as a stupid retcon.

Is this a good graphic novel? Yes, it is. Should you buy it? Maybe; if you enjoy Grant Morrison’s writing of Batman’s character, then you’ll enjoy the graphic novel. It’s definitely worth a read, and you should get it from the library.

I borrowed Batman & Robin: Reborn from my local library years ago, but I recently reread it on DCUniverseInfinite because I have a subscription, and it’s nice because now I don’t have to wait around for it to arrive at my local library; I can read it whenever I want to read it.

Quick Summary

What WorksWhat Doesn't Work

Great story, characters, and world-building

Some character retcons are stupid and were ignored after this comic run

A new, fun Dynamic Duo

The new, dark characters feel edgy for the sake of being dark and edgy

Great artwork

My Grade: B

Is it worth having on your shelf? It’s a very enjoyable action-packed ride; it’s very well done and is worth the time and money if you enjoy Batman graphic novels. If you want something good to read, Batman & Robin: Batman: Reborn is a great read.

I enjoyed reading this graphic novel a lot because I hadn’t read it in a long time, so I decided to read it again. I still enjoyed the writing and the storyline; even if I think the retcons were dumb, it is still a fun Batman story that gives Damian Wayne his much-needed development because back when the story was written, Damian wasn’t as popular or well-liked as he is now.

I also enjoyed the dynamic of Batman and Robin with Dick Grayson as Batman. They have a unique dynamic as Batman and Robin that Bruce doesn’t have with Tim, Jason, or Dick.

It was also nice to see that Damian wants to help people; he’s learning what it means to be Robin, and he does care about people in Gotham City.

I was entertained by Batman and Robin’s team dynamic, I like that Dick decided that being Batman was something he should do, even if he felt uncomfortable. I enjoyed Alfred’s advice to him to treat it like a performance. The story was enjoyable.

I highly recommend Batman and Robin for anyone looking for a unique take on the Dynamic Duo. If you’re looking for a fun, action-packed story, you’re in for a ride. It’s exciting from beginning to end.

It’s a good idea to borrow this from the library or from your friends to decide if you want to buy it for yourself.

My Rating

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