Wednesday, September 18, 2013

SPOILERS: Batman and Robin #23.3

The year is 1285, and the Crusades are totally in right now, and with rumors of a demon in the east, the Pope sends one of his knights to investigate the claims and possibly do away with this so called demon... Of course, this "demon" is Ra's al Ghul, who has been expecting the Catholic Knight, does away with his men quickly, and lets this terrifying encounter be the first public record of him in the civilized world, thus starting the legend and myth of the Demon's Head.

This bit of history is being told by a messenger from the Secret Society, proving he knows well who he deals with, and offering power that the Secret Society can give him. Ra's sort of laughs the offer off, and has his Man-Bat army kill the man's escort. Ra's throws the man a sword, in an effort to test him, as well as asking once again "who am I?"

The man tells more of Ra's legend, how Ra's moved through the world, leaving death in his wake, and gathering the greatest killers known to man. Ra's' influence spread far more throughout the world via the spread of things like addiction and plague, which help strengthen his secret empire.

The two men continue their duel, but Ra's is clearly in a higher swordsmanship class than the man, but the Society's messanger tries to throw Ra's off his game by recounting his most recent chapter in life, his legacy beyond himself, who he'd leave his empire with, everything form Batman, to Talia, to Damian. This strikes a nerve with Ra's, but he manages to disarm the man, and laughs off the notion that "death" would defeat Batman.

With the duel over, and Ra's clearly not accepting the Society's offer, the messanger decides to play dirty, and get a cheap shot off electricity in when Ra's' back is turned. Luckily for Ra's, Ubu takes the attack for him, as two spears shoot from the walls, and pin the man to the ceiling by the wrists, where his electric implants were located. Leaving the man to bleed out, Ra's tells him that his masters are cowards for sending a messenger, and that they didn't find him, he was the one who drew them to himself in order to make his message clear. He will observe the world this Society builds, and as history has shown, he will do what he's always done, and allow his legend and myth to grow in the shadows.


The Good:

This issue thoroughly reminds you just how awesome Ra's al Ghul is. With Talia taking the big stage recently (well... not anymore) Ra's has really been pushed aside recently, so this was like a big coming out party for Ra's in the New 52. His reaction to the Secret Society is just so perfect, of course he'd basically laugh in his face, and his declaration of letting his legend build within their new world was just so great. Jeremy Haun returns from last week's Riddler issue, to portray Ra's in an even better fashion. I think Haun's work is much better suited for a character like Ra's who just has this sort of mysterious vibe which lends itself well to Haun's illustrations.

The Bad:

A serious lack of Neal Adams era chest hair in the recreation of the Batman vs. Ra's shirtless bro-down.

The Bottom Line: 

Ra's is back, and I've been reminded why he's such a great villain to read. He's arrogant in all the right ways, and knows what's what in the world, and the Secret Society doesn't mean a damn thing to him, as it shouldn't. The way James Tynion wrote him reacting to the Secret Society, as if they were a joke, was just so spot on. I'm ready for Ra's to be a big part of Batman corner in the DCU again. I know he's going to show up in Red Hood eventually, but I hope he doesn't stop there. 



  1. You misspelled "duel". A lot.

    Just thought you might wanna know.

  2. Yeah, this was pretty good. Considering Tynion highlighted how important Batman is to Ra's, I wonder if he'll give a reason as to why he's not pursuing his plot from the end of Incorporated, in RH&tO.