In what effectively resumes Grant Morrison's run on the Batman title, Batman and Robin launches with some of the same themes intact Interviewed, Morrison promises a simpler set-up than in his long wind-up to Bruce Wayne's departure.
This first arc, as Morrison has already told us in interviews, is about the Circus of the Strange, and if you read his comments, you already know that the man on fire is a circus freak named Phosphorus Rex. The twisted circus calls to mind The Killing Joke as well as Dick Grayson's past, and if you spend some time looking up Toad's vocabulary, you'll find circus lingo is his dialect, which Dick tells us anyway. Clearly, his first mission as Batman is going to be a homecoming of sorts. The Ghost Train image has come up before in Morrison's work, and obviously Morrison and Frank Quitely (whose work in this issue is phenomenal in creating a mood) are putting us on a ghost train for this story. Of course, if there's a ghost story being told, Bruce Wayne is the unspoken subject (a spectral Batman appears in a preview panel as well). Damian and Dick both speak of carrying on his work for the first and surely not last time. It's refreshing that the theme of living up to Bruce's impossible standards has not burdened this issue. We know that exceeding the one, true Batman is impossible. And yet, look -- this Batmobile flies!