EDITOR’S NOTE: Vowing upon their parents’ death to rid Gotham City of the forewarning element, Crisis On Infinite Midlives has, over the years, fought spoilers in their many macabre forms. This time they lost. You are warned.
As I said in my review of Batman & Robin #4, I am enjoying this book one hell of a lot more than I thought I was going to when I finished the first issue. A book that started out looking like the worst of the Batman TV show was starting to look more like the Christopher Nolan movies. And #6 continues that trend, but there’s a funny thing about movies: I’ve always said (Because I lifted it from Stephen King in Danse Macabre) that I can tell if a movie’s any good, or if it’s too long, if I start wishing for a cigarette in the middle of it. At six issues into this battle against new villain Nobody? Yeah, I could use a smoke.
It’s not that this is a bad story by any stretch of the imagination. This issue gives us Robin under the clandestine tutelage of Nobody, who is actually Morgan Ducard, son of Henri Ducard, who trained Bruce Wayne before he put on the Batman suit. You remember, Liam Neeson from Batman Begins? You know, that Batman movie just before The Dark Knight? The one with the chick who’s banging Tom Cruise? Just go to any Best Buy dollar DVD bin and you’ll find it. But I digress.
Nobody is slowly massaging Robin into becoming a killer, starting to ease Robin toward a willingness to kill by doing the old “give him an empty gun and tell him to shoot a guy to get him used to pulling the trigger” trick, followed a couple of pages later with the subtle mindfuckery of the “Now dump the guy into a vat of acid while he’s awake and screaming like a pig in a chute” ruse. In the meantime, we flash back to Bruce’s first mission with Nobody’s father, where he tried a similar method of attenuating Bruce toward lethal means with the time-tested classic, “Shoot a dude in the face in front of the guy who has repeatedly stated that he will never kill, then say, ‘U mad bro?'” The two stories are interesting and effective in drawing parallels between Batman’s early training and Robin’s current work, but the abrupt nature of each Ducard suddenly chucking in lethal force is jarring, and forced me to say, “Oh well; he only had about about 20 pages to get it done,” and just like when you realize you’ve started looking for the wires in a space opera movie, boom! Just like that, you’re out of the story and wishing for a cigarette.