Home > Comics, Reviews > Comic Review: Batman and Red Robin #19

Comic Review: Batman and Red Robin #19

Batman and Red Robin #19 Carrie Kelley in costume by Pat Gleason

Damian Wayne is dead, but Batman has never been one to roll over and accept the hand he’s dealt. In Batman and Red Robin #19, Batman is hell-bent on plumbing whatever dark depths he must to find a way to resurrect his fallen son.

And, as the WTF Certified foldout cover promises, this comic also marks the New 52 debut of Carrie Kelley, the female Robin from Frank Miller’s landmark Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

Don’t get your hopes up, though. Carrie Kelley is simply a college-aged hipster film student who has been helping Damian with his homework, but Peter J. Tomasi still finds a convenient way to get her into the Robin costume to satisfy the cover image.

Carrie Kelley is the brightly coloured, chipper bookend to Batman’s dark journey, and she brings some much-needed enthusiasm to this necessarily dour book.

She’s not swinging from rooftops with Batman.

At least, not yet.

Remember, this is Batman and Red Robin, meaning it’s Tim Drake’s turn to hang with the Dark Knight – whether he wants the company or not.

Red Robin actually joins the story as a Hail Mary move from Alfred, who is growing increasingly worried about Batman’s erratic behaviour. Batman runs off on his own in this issue and decides to ask – as only Batman can ask – for the secret of resurrection from Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. Batman kidnaps Frankenstein and goes all mad scientist on the undead brute, searching for a way to bring back Damian and ignoring Frankenstein’s protests and warnings.

Frankenstein is an entirely unexpected but entirely welcome addition to this comic, and his sober second thought to Batman’s bullish mission plays well throughout the story. He also proves to be a boon visually, as Pat Gleason’s normally clean lines get rougher and grittier when he’s drawing Frankenstein. Even the panels look good, as Gleason turns a two-page, even-sized panel spread into one completely stitched together a la Frankenstein.

Tim Drake brings out more Death of the Family repercussions, but there are no unique elements to his role that justify his inclusion. Nightwing, Batgirl, or Red Hood could easily have done the same things Red Robin does.

We’ll see if that trend continues, because this title is in for more special guest stars in the future, with Red Hood up next.

7 out of 10

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