Batman and Robin #26 (DC Comics)
by David Hine, Greg Tocchini & Andrei Bressan
This series ends on a strong note (it’s being relaunched next month as part of DC’s New 52 initiative) with a story of French super-villains and art as a motive for brutal, grisly crimes. The plot revolves around a breakout at the Black Garden, Paris’ version of Arkham Asylum. I not only love the name of the French institution for the criminally insane, but the new villain concepts here are fantastic. These new French villains are so interesting and novel that it’s a shame that they’re treated as essentially fleeting, throwaway concepts. Their abilities and the ideas behind the character concepts are chilling. I hope I’m wrong about them being seen as disposable notions meant only for this self-contained story. The script is a bit awkward in the final scene, but the final reveal more than makes up for it. The much-maligned parkour hero Nightrunner appears in this story, but mainly as a narrator, as the title characters’ guide to France’s villain scene. There’s never an explanation as to why the Dick Grayson Batman and his sidekick are in France (international travel has been the original Batman’s domain as of late), but it’s really not important.