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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Batman & Aquaman #29 - May 2014

Comics Weekend "The Hunt For Robin" by Peter J. Tomasi, Pat Gleason, Mick Gray, and more.

I have not been reading Batman and Robin, so I am coming to this storyline cold. I was eager to see how well this outrageous team-up worked to a newcomer like myself!

The issue starts with Batman and his dog(?) Titus in the Bat-Sub, searching for an island that the Dark Knight Detective believes the body of his son is on, stolen by Ra's Al Ghul. During a communication with Alfred, Batman decides to sign off, so he can properly greet a visitor:
The "incoming" are a band of Ra's loyal goons, whom Aquaman tears into with his trident. Ra's, concerned that two members of the Justice League might bring the rest, decides to leave, but not without leaving a "parting gift" for the two heroes.

Aquaman and Batman make it onto the beach, and after dispensing with the last of Ra's henchmen, the Sea King follows the telepathic screams which led him here in the first place. What he sees is simply horrendous:
Arthur and Bruce break into Ra's base, and Batman quickly realizes the whole place is set to self-destruct. Aquaman fends off more goons, while Batman chases after his mortal enemy.

But instead of Ra's, Batman finds himself face-to-face (-to-face-to-face) with a bunch of misshapen creatures, all bearing the face of Damian Wayne! Aquaman arrives and helps out, ready to rip these monsters apart, but Batman warns him off. They then realize that they are half-aquatic, which means Aquaman can telepathically order them into the sea, where they are met by one of the Sea King's more impressive finny friends:
Batman catches up to Ra's just as he's about to take off for Paradise Island, carrying the body of Damian and his mother. Even as the plane rockets through the sky, Batman continues to try and smash his way in, until he is dumped off by a quick maneuver. As he plummets, it seems that Batman is about to go splat, until:
The issue ends with Batman paying a visit to Diana Prince, asking to bum a ride to...Paradise Island! To be continued!
As I mentioned above, I'm a newcomer to this series, but I have to say I was quite satisfied that this is, for the most part, a self-contained story. Sure, it's part of a larger mosaic, but that's the kind of thing Bob Haney did back in the original Brave and the Bold (even using Aquaman!), so there's nothing wrong with using it again. I didn't have any problem following the action, and guest-star Aquaman got a lot of great stuff to do: props to Peter Tomasi for perfectly pacing this story and giving both heroes the chance to shine.

Speaking of shine, everyone knows that the Shrine is a big fan of the work of Pat Gleason, ever since he handled the art on the Aquaman series from a decade ago. His work was great then, and I think he's only gotten better over time: his Aquaman doesn't look quite the same as everyone else, continuing to give him an ever-so-slightly alien look, which at times recalls some of the more fearsome creatures of the sea. This guy just gets how to do Aquaman.

But that's not to say Batman was shut out! In fact, my favorite page from the issue was this wordless, SFX-less page of Bats entering into a room in Ra's chambers and opening a can of whoopass on some armed henchmen:
I guess the best compliment I can pay this issue is that I might keep buying the book, even though Aquaman is only in this issue. Tomasi's got a good story going here, Gleason (and his inkers) are killing it on the art, and Neptune knows I love a good team-up!
Dear DC: Find a way to get Pat Gleason to do more Aquaman! 


Russell said...

Gotta get this! Art looks cool as Patrick Gleason comes back to Aquaman after several years away..!

Phoenix Alvarado said...

I decided I wasn't gonna buy the book again until Robin cameback though this book sounds like it has got very interesting! I'm getting it!

KJ Sampson said...

Wow, it doesn't seem like Gleason's Aqua-run was so long ago! Still great on the character. He was one of the first "not-A-list" artists to regularly make that orange-and-green outfit look good. Indeed, I'd credit him with bringing that look into the new century.

I'm most struck by how similar in tone this story is to the old Aquaman run that Tomasi edited. I wouldn't be surprised if he had as much to do with the script and plot of the Sub Diego story as either of his writers.