Batman 713, the last edition of the Batman series in this volume, the last time we’ll see Dick Grayson as Batman and the final issue in one of the longest comic book runs of all time, doesn’t so much end as it does peter out. There’s no folderol here, no sense of celebration or of anything truly final. Instead, you’ll be thrilled and delighted with an issue that does absolutely nothing. I don’t mean that as an insult, I mean it as a statement of fact. Batman issue #713 does absolutely nothing except recount the start of Dick Grayson, his time as the boy wonder as well as the emergence of the other Robins. It’s a quick capsule tale I’m assuming meant to drive home how important all three Robins are, since their presence in the reboot Universe makes no sense according to the given timetable.
Fabian Nicieza’s loose plot has Damien Wayne telling three orphaned boys the story of Robin, though we’re never really told why he’s doing this. I also found it odd that Bruce or Dick would allow Damien to tell the story with such specific details, the kinds of details that might alert three bright children who they’re really talking to. I guess that’s not really the point. Batman 713 is about Damien coming to grips with what being Robin is all about, so the whole possibly-could-expose-the-secret-identity thing is overlooked.
I’m not a huge fan of ending the Batman series with a story about Robin. It feels a bit disrespectful. I can only assume that with the powerful story arc climax in Detective Comics, another dramatic end might have seemed like overkill. I will give Nicieza this – he takes a nice little jab at the Batman TV series from the 60s and he does a great job of combining seventy years of history into twenty pages.
As far as pencilers go, Batman 713 has three of them without any indication of who contributed what. With that in mind I’ve decided to just give you what I feel were the best panels of the issue. I’m not sure if Steve Scott, Daniel Sampere or Andrei Bressan were responsible for the panels I’m pointing out – this was just the work that appealed to me.
The first panel of the first page, a portrait of Bruce Wayne reacting to his parents being shot, is wonderful. It’s a simple close up of Bruce’s face, with minute traces of blood on it, staring at spent shell. It captures the terror and rage of the event quite perfectly. On page five, the fourth panel down is a nice old school rendition of Batman and Robin standing triumphant. It brings back an era when everything in the Batman Universe wasn’t so serious all the time.
All of page eight is solid. The layout of the three panels is simple but effective in showing the first appearance of Nightwing in his original high-collar uniform. The splash art on page twelve is my favorite of the issue. It encompasses all the main characters on the hero and family side of Batman with great dramatic effect. The work surrounding these images are all well done, these just happened to be my favorites. Batman #713 isn’t a bad issue, it’s just a useless one. I don’t blame those involved, this is clearly a rush to get to the reboots, I still find it disappointing such a great run was capped off with such a lame-duck issue.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING 5/10