Batman and Robin 23.3
Special “Villains Month” Title: Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins 1
James Tynion IV, Jeremy Haun
Forever Evil Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
The newest Batman and Robin tie-in (more accurately, the Batman Incorporated epilogue and Red Hood and the Outlaws prelude) to Villains Month and Forever Evil was incredible. Even though it has a ridiculously long title, and the cover is pretty generic, writer James Tynion IV and artist Jeremy Haun prove (for the second week in a row) that they have what it takes to be listed among DC’s top creative talents. Last seen in Batman and Robin (The Court of Owls) and Batman (Riddler), these two have certainly risen above “up-and-coming talents” or “rising stars” to A-listers this month. And they deserve all of the praise they have been getting.
The issue is simple, but it’s that very simplicity that makes it such a great piece of art. Ra’s al Ghul is greeted and then threatened by an assassin from the Secret Society (and the Crime Syndicate). Whilst going over his own origin story (which, for some strange reason, never really gets old, no matter how many times it is told), we are treated to the wonderful visuals of a classic battle of wits and testing of physical mettle. And even though the assassin is quite easily defeated, it is still nice to see Ra’s presented in a way that shows he is not without honor. He proves that the Society’s leaders are not only cowards for not approaching him themselves, but also cockroaches, knowing that he would refuse and they wouldn’t want him as an enemy. Hence the offering up of a sacrifice, the formerly-cocky assassin who misjudged and was misguidedly under the impression that he was both important and more than a simple lackey. It is a nice touch that the past is brought up, along with the current (or recent) events of such books as Batman Incorporated, Red Hood and the Outlaws, and even Forever Evil itself. It makes the ending all that more fitting when Ra’s al Ghul announces that they will simply “wait out” the Crime Syndicate. And make their presence known yet again when Batman makes his inevitable return.
I’d say this is a great issue to get you into Red Hood and the Outlaws and a fun way to explain Ra’s al Ghul’s inevitable appearance (or lack thereof) in Forever Evil. Go ahead and just buy the regular cover. Save yourself a buck. But don’t skip this issue just to save money. Tynion and Haun are at their best yet again. And even though it doesn’t really add a whole lot to the character’s mythos (and the new character introduced just to die was a little irritating… we didn’t even get his name!), it’s a nice reminder of just what makes him a great character and a nice preview of things to come.
My Rating: 4.5/5