Comic Vine Review

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Batman and Robin #26 - The Big Burn: Ignition

4

More light is shed on Erin McKillen's story and Two-Face sets a plan in motion.

The Good

Yes, this still feels like it should be called BATMAN AND MCKILLEN, but writer Peter J. Tomasi does a superb job revealing more of McKillen's past and, in turn, gives the character much more depth. The opening scene in Wayne Manor is dialogue heavy yet remains absorbing. To top it off, Two-Face finally plays a bigger role in the end, yet a dip into McKillen's past also gives his New 52 history a little more intrigue. Everything from the dialogue to the narrative to the pacing has definitely stepped up compared to the previous chapters in the story.

There's a pleasing sense of uniqueness to artist Patrick Gleason and colorist Mick Gray's pages. The intensity with the characters is always there, making their feelings crystal clear to us and further cementing the illusion that this is playing out in motion instead of just witnessing static bits and pieces. Tomasi relies on Gleason and Gray for a couple of reveals/satisfying nods and this gives the course of events even more of a cinematic feeling. You can almost feel the straws hit the floor or Dent give a sinister smile behind cracked glass. Gray's coloring understandably changes to reflect the unique atmosphere for each scene, but my personal favorite is when Batman gets on his bike and goes for a ride at night. I just dug the way the lights trailed and the powerful contrast of the shaded characters and scenery to the clear sky.

The Bad

The combination of the page layouts and the decision to make many of them close-ups unfortunately made the final sequence of events less exciting than it could have been. Minor gripe, but the cliffhanger isn't that strong of an attention-grabber, either. I'd be far more interested to be teased with the next set of moments between McKillen and Two-Face rather than just Batman being in danger, something which he's always in, anyway.

The Verdict

Alight, things just got VERY interesting. Prior to this issue, I've been down the middle with BATMAN AND TWO-FACE. Two-Face's new origin story felt uninspired compared to the original and, despite being tough and knowing Bruce when he was a kid, Erin McKillen just hasn't been that interesting, especially compared to all of the elaborate characters in Batman's rogues gallery. This issue, however, changes all of that and adds some very needed emotional connection to the story and finally gives Two-Face more time to shine.