'let the punishment fit the crime'
'Batman and Robin' #4
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Philip Tan
Who knew comic books could read like poetry? If you have been reading Grant Morrison's run on 'Batman and Robin,' then you probably know what I am talking about. I will be the first to admit that when it comes to Morrison's books, I often find myself re-reading them to ensure that I've managed to capture all of the facets and intricacies of his plot-line and characters. With Morrison, there is usually an incredible story that lies beneath the surface, and this book is a perfect example of that. While issue four has a lot of plot development, there is an evident focus on 'Scarlett's' character and an array of emotions that the character is obviously subjecting herself to. It was evident that she had become psychologically tormented and may perhaps be going insane. I don't blame her, I would probably be a bit messed up myself if someone replaced my face with a mask! Her motivation for being a side-kick to a psychotic vigilante likens to penance for the death of her father. Scarlett has his blood on her hands, and in order to right her wrongs, she resolves to vigilantism; fighting against the bad guys and often subjecting them to her own style of justice- death. Morrison captures the essence of this lost, psychologically deteriorating young girl in his language. The literary eloquence coupled by Philp Tan's dark expressions and scenery is nothing short of phenomenal. Quickly, the reader might recognize that Scarlett is a mere victim of her circumstances and surroundings, and her motivation to fight crime differs greatly from that of the 'Red Hood.'
There is a tremendous amount of balance in this story. So much so that it seems cyclical; in that it comes completely full circle based on the events in the beginning and in the end. There are three elements which the story begins and ends with. First is the element of death. The first scene shows Scarlett and Red Hood killing a masked criminal. The final scene ends in the same way. The 'Red Hood's' "motto" 'let the punishment fit the crime' surfaces on more than one occasion and is also a staple in the language at both the beginning and the end of the book.
I have my theories on the identity of the 'Red Hood,' and I feel as though now would be the perfect time to delve into that; however, If you have not read the issue, do not read further.
This is by far one of the best comics I have read these last few weeks, and I highly recommend this series.