Comic Vine Review

23 Comments

Batman and Robin #24 - The Big Burn: First Strike Review

3

It's Two-Face's first big story in the New 52. Has his origin changed?

The Good

After a powerful conclusion to the five stages of grief story, it's time to see where Peter J. Tomasi will send Batman now that he's attempting to move forward (I still miss you, Damian). First and foremost, it's awesome to see he's following-up on Grant Morrison's conclusion over in BATMAN, INCORPORATED, but at the moment, it seems like that's just there to serve as an oh-so-appealing teaser and will lurk in the background as Tomasi gives Two-Face the spotlight. It's about time for the classic villain to get a standout story in the New 52 and, seeing as this is a 5-issue arc, there's a lot of potential for this to turn into a great crime thriller/mystery.

Tomasi uses the opening chapter to introduce a key player in the story and paint us a very vivid picture of how she's connected to Dent's new origin. Purists will likely be unhappy right away, but seeing as this is the New 52, big changes are to be expected. It's worth noting that this is merely the first chapter, so I wouldn't be surprised if the remaining issues dive deeper into the backstory and continue to develop that tale. It definitely feels like the flashback we witnessed is only the beginning of what we'll see from that specific narrative.

Tomasi's script gives Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray and John Kalisz the chance to create some immensely powerful images. They totally sell the atmosphere and depressing vibe in the opening scene, and lightning being used to break up the panels in Batman's opening scene was a very creative and much appreciated touch. They also did an excellent job presenting the excruciating pain when acid finally hits Harvey.

The Bad

Tomasi has only scratched the surface of Harvey's New 52 origins (there are 4 issues left in the arc, after all), but as of right now, I'm left pretty mixed on it. Having his wife appear in the New 52 only to be abruptly killed off just doesn't feel necessary and comes off as formulaic. The attack on him alone is more than enough required to drive him into madness, but then throwing in the murder of his wife just feels not needed. Hopefully the following issues will expand upon Gilda's role in flashbacks, otherwise, she was literally there just to die and serve as an additional motivator for Harvey. Perhaps she was also involved in the bigger picture? We'll just have to wait and see, I suppose. Also, Erin seemed to imply Harvey was once working with her to help reduce crime elsewhere and then turned on her, so I hope we'll see plenty more of that dynamic in the following issues.

Overall, the visuals are solid but they do tend to undergo fairly strong changes in the coloring and attention to detail. And while it's common for backgrounds to be absent in some panels, it seemed particularly noticeable in this issue.

With 4 issues remaining left, I really hope Ra's al Ghul's complete story isn't crammed into the mix as well. It would be great to see it alluded to and teased, but at the moment, there seems to be no organic link between the two narratives. Hopefully Tomasi is just teasing the next big story in the title.

Minor personal gripe: I couldn't help but laugh and think of Christian Bale yelling about the trigger when Batman keeps screaming "When is it?" and "Where is it?" as he beats up various goons. Another minor gripe: it's always disappointing to see someone with zero feats and history get the better of Batman in hand-to-hand combat.

The Verdict

The cliffhanger definitely doesn't pack a punch, but that's most likely because this is an introduction that'll serve as a better read when collected. Tomasi has delivered the basics of the story and revealed a bit of Harvey's new origin, but the burden of justifying why this story deserves 5 issues falls on the next chapter. It's certainly not a bad issue -- there's a lot of potential here -- and Gleason's illustrations are always appreciated, but right now the bigger picture is somewhat lacking.

24 Comments
Posted by War Killer

Still not sure how I feel about the changes to Two-Face's origin, I'll have to see how the rest of this arc goes before making a final judgment. But I did feel that the scenes showing Harvey getting his face burned with acid was shown very well and you can just feel the pain he was feeling in that moment.

I did like the tease about Bruce dealing with Ra's al Ghul for what he did in Batman, Inc. #13. I'm glad that they're acknowledging what happened and hopefully we'll see that explored in future storylines. (Maybe the possible return of Damian Wayne?! :D)

Posted by Shallbecomeabattoo

I seem to be the only one who really loved the Christian Bale Batvoice.

"SWEAR TO ME!!!"

Awesome.

Edited by TheMantisShrimp

Overall I liked Bale's voice, there were just a few scenes that are easy to make fun of or laugh at.

I'm a big batman fan and am wondering if I should pick up this arc. I liked the early issues of Batman and Robin in the n52 but have not read it since issue 8 or so. Anyone think it's worth the risk of picking up the whole arc? I'm not too keen on reading about Carrie Kelley, how is her character in the n52 and is she gonna be a player in this arc?

Edited by timelord

The whole issue felt rather meh for me they should have kept it in villains month.

Online
Posted by k4tzm4n

The review isn't implying I hated Bale's voice -- it just reminded me of the "WHERE'S THE TRIGGER? WHERE IS IT?!" scene and that gave me a good chuckle (especially since that scene has been remixed and such).

Staff
Edited by manwithoutshame

I dislike the changes to Two-Face's origin. It's anticlimactic and lazy compared to the original.

Posted by RaggedScarecrow

Minor gripe: This really should have been called "Batman and Erin McKillen" because she definitely had more panel time then Two-Face did. Overall, I did like the issue though.

Posted by DickDastardly

I get that mckillen is a tough chick, But i really have to agree that it was disheartening to see someone such as her getting the best of bats, even if for just a few panels.. I liked this issue though and the pages with harvery were amazingly done.

Posted by munkieKONG

I hate how Batman & Robin has just devolved into Batman Random Team-up.

Posted by RUKM

Seeing Harvey tied up and so powerless... you know what's coming and it's saddening. A Righteous Man being tipped further and further over the edge by every panel.

Edited by LordoftheNorth

This book isnt what i expected i was hopeing for an awsome team up between batman and two-face. got a lame new origin for two-face instead. when it comes to origins for two-face my favorite is the animated series one. Harvey already have issues but trying his best even with those problems made his fall all the more tragic. This story thou just comes off as cliche. They also brought in a new character who even thou was the lead of the book the only character trait she has is that she is the leader of the Irish mob and she goes on and on worrying about batman during the whole book but some how has the balls stand up to him and act like she isnt scared when he finally shows up. Thou i think that last sence wouldnt have been so werid if it had ended with batman punching the chick in the face and knocking her out.

Posted by Lvenger

@k4tzm4n: Aw man I was looking forward to what Tomasi had planned for this arc but it sounds like he's made a few pitfalls in writing this. Changing Two Face's origin, adding in another character just for a new face sake and leaving the Ra'as Al Ghul stuff to the side isn't what I was expecting. And to think I rate this as the consistently best written Batman series.

Posted by feedonatreefrog
Posted by k4tzm4n

@lvenger: To be completely fair, this is only part one of five.

Staff
Posted by Lvenger

@k4tzm4n: Yeah but a bad start doesn't fill you with confidence about the rest of the story does it?

Posted by k4tzm4n

@lvenger said:

@k4tzm4n: Yeah but a bad start doesn't fill you with confidence about the rest of the story does it?

Sure, but I wasn't exactly thrilled with "Born to Kill's" opening and that tuned out to be one of my favorite stories in the New 52. In short, an okay start to something much bigger is absolutely a bit of a letdown, but seeing as they actually have room to flesh out the story (unlike some of the ones in the middle of the series), I'm still optimistic to see where Tomasi and Gleason will go with this.

Staff
Edited by Lvenger

@k4tzm4n: I suppose your points are right Gregg. Superman Unchained went through a bad patch in the last issue but I'm still looking forward to the series so I suppose I can't differ in condeming Batman and too soon.

Posted by k4tzm4n

@lvenger said:

@k4tzm4n: I suppose your points are right Gregg. Superman Unchained went through a bad patch in the last issue but I'm still looking forward to the series so I suppose I can't differ in condeming Batman and too soon.

Now, it's of course not saying the arc is guaranteed to become gripping and brilliant or anything, but I'd say this creative team has earned my support. Here's to hoping for the best!

Staff
Posted by detective38

I guess I can be considered one of the purists mentioned because this new origin made me cringe. I sure hope this arc improves because Ive really liked this series so far

Edited by bennyq

Did anyone else notice that in one panel Erin's hair went behind her eyebrow?

Posted by dangermart

@k4tzm4n Top review, sir. The new origin pretty much defines the 'change for the sake of change' mantra of the New 52 - or does anyone really think this improves on the original? It's distinct only in being gorier.

Posted by mickeymayhew

@k4tzm4n Top review, sir. The new origin pretty much defines the 'change for the sake of change' mantra of the New 52 - or does anyone really think this improves on the original? It's distinct only in being gorier.

hear hear - it's far less dramatic than the whole acid in the face in the courtroom TRUE origin of Two-Face.

Posted by Skyhawk1

So is Batman x'ed out Robin the new 52 Brave and the Bold?