Batman and Robin (vol.2) #22 (2013)

Batman and Robin (vol.2) #22 (September, 2013)
Writer – Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller – Patrick Gleason
Inker – Mick Gray
Colorist – John Kalisz
Letterer – Carlos M. Mangual
Assistant Editor – Darren Shan
Editor – Rachel Gluckstern
Group Editor – Mike Marts
Cover Price: $2.99

Well, today’s the day… the day we end our affair with (the mainstream) Carrie Kelley.  Just as mysteriously as she entered all of our lives… she was gone.

Maybe one day she’ll darken our doorways again… I suppose only time will tell.

Now, let’s get to it.

We open with Catwoman receiving a mission from Steve Trevor… this was during the time she was the “black ops” member of that odd government-run Justice League of America… funny to think, this was volume three of that title… and just a half-decade later we’re already up to volume five.  Anyhoo, she’s got some saving to do.  At the same time, Carrie Kelley is filming Bruce Wayne on her cellphone… which is something that feels innocuous, but also something I don’t think Bruce would be all that keen on.

Bruce does, however, wonder just what this weird girl is doing in his house… and is greatly displeased to learn that she now works there taking care of Titus.  He even gives a Dave Seville-esque “Alfred!” (ya know, instead of “Alvin!”).

Carrie’s still a bit peeved that she hasn’t gotten to talk to Damian since he left… and makes Bruce an offer he can’t refuse.  She has a couple of thumbdrives he might be interested in having… one of which features Damian’s interview when he started going to her for acting lesson (the other is Titus-related).  Bruce takes the drives and promises that she’ll hear from Damian soon.

She then takes her leave… she has a weekend job as an usher she needs to get to.  We shift ahead to Bruce in the Batcave putting together a Damian audio file for Carrie.  He then delivers the Titus thumbdrive to Damian’s gravesite.

Later on, back at the Batcave… Bruce notices that a Cat-Signal has been illuminated.  And so, with a “*tt*“, he decides to see what Selina’s up to.  I love this reaction… it’s like when you get a call from someone you’d really rather not speak to… but, you know you’ve gotta answer anyway.  He finds her on a rooftop… and she comes clean about her affiliation with Trevor’s JLA… and her mission to save a high-asset spy.

They soon arrive at the Chinese Embassy… and bore their way up from below.  Then… a fight scene!  Batman and Catwoman beat the hell out of everybody… in a couple of pages of beautiful silhouettes.  Really dynamic stuff here!  Finally, the pair arrive to find their quarry… a five-year old girl?!  Well, yeah… this is the daughter of a Chinese bio-weapons designer… so, likely a person of interest.

After some banter (and sighing) Batman and Catwoman kayo the baddies and rescue the tot.  Batman really ups the scariness factor here too… which is really cool.  He threatens one of the bad guys causing him to lower his gun.

Batman, Selina, and the little girl (Jia-Li… which I kept reading as “JLA”) then leave the scene.

Selina returns home to find a gift in the form of a new cat-themed motorcycle helmet… of which, I think I’m missing the significance.

We then head across town, where we see Carrie Kelley arrive home with a bag full of groceries.  You ever notice how anytime anyone on TV comes home with a bag of groceries, there’s always a loaf of french bread and celery sticking out the top?  I’ve been shopping for groceries for like a quarter-century at this point, and have never brought home a bag that looks like this.  Anyhoo… she gets home and listens to a voicemail from Damian… annnnd, that’s all they wrote on Ms. Kelley.

The issue closes out similarly to how yesterday’s did… somebody flips a coin.  Hmm…

Well… out with a bang, right?

I’m really left scratching my head as to why they even bothered introducing Carrie Kelley.  I gotta assume there were some behind the scenes shenanigans afoot… I suppose I could Google it, but that would very likely lead me to a comics “journalism” site… and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

It really feels like (and this is me talking out my backside) that she was introduced in order to become Oracle.  I hope I’m not “profiling” her based on her red hair or anything… but it seems a good fit.  She’s smart… and has a background in acting.  She could potentially “become” anybody and hide in plain sight.  Hell, for all we know… that’s exactly what she’s been doing since the Summer of 2013!  Or, ya know… not.

The Batman/Catwoman team-up was pretty cool… and, as if I haven’t said it enough already… the art here is sensational.  I mean, we’ve got a few pages of just Bat/Cat silhouettes… and it’s great.  The art is great all the way through.  Bruce Wayne looks… tired.  It’s really so well done.  My only note is that Carrie sometimes looks a bit… er, demented?  Scary smile… bent neck.  It doesn’t really bother me, because I look at her as pretty animated and dramatic… but, might be off-putting to some.

Overall… I’m still loving this book… and this era of Batman that I feel like I never got to experience the first time around.  The Requiem issues were among those that I always wanted to “get around to”, but they never quite found their way to the top of my “to read” pile(s).  I’m glad I finally decided to give ’em a go.  The Carrie Kelley “trilogy” is… maybe not “must reading”, but I’d give it a pretty high recommendation nonetheless.


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