REVIEW: Batman & Robin #1

BATMANANDROBIN1

Written by PETER J. TOMASI/ Art by PATRICK GLEASON
Colors by JOHN KALISZ / Letters by PAT BROSSEAU

Finally a comic that explores the dynamic between superhero father and superhero son like never before! Well, at least that’s what this book hoped to be. Instead, it comes off as a kind of Flashpoint epilogue that uses the beginnings of the Bat family to force poignancy into an issue that should have been a lot more fun.

Peter J. Tomasi has a lot to live up to considering the quality of the last volume of Batman & Robin. He made a strong showing at the end of Grant Morrison’s run but the book has changed drastically since then. This isn’t a book about two brothers learning about each other and themselves through their unique relationship with their father against a backdrop of mystery and insanity. This is a book about a father and son who barely know each other trying to get along. Unfortunately, there’s a whole part of this book that really doesn’t belong.

Bruce deals with some of his own personal fallout from Flashpoint by attempting to let go of the pain that caused him to become Batman by sharing it with Damian. This had incredible potential but Tomasi doesn’t treat it with the respect it deserves. Damian has always been a brat but Tomasi has him in rare form. He belittles Bruce and his own fmaily to no end and Bruce’s reaction (or relative lack thereof) comes off weak. Damian is almost too Damian and the script suffers for it.

Thankfully, the wishy-washy family drama takes a backseat to some punching and explosions and we begin to see a lot of where this book is headed: Bruce says one thing, Damian does another, Bruce gets mad, Damian doesn’t care. This could get stale pretty quickly and one can only hope that, while Dick Grayson was content to just deal with Damian’s attitude, Bruce might try actually parenting him.

For his part, Patrick Gleason handles all aspects of the script skillfully even if he doesn’t do enough to punch up the slower parts. This guy draws a really great Damian Wayne though. Wow! The scene when Bruce wakes Damian up characterizes him in one perfect scowl. His pacing in the action scenes are solid as well but I think that if Tomasi rights the ship as far as the father-son relationship without the cowl, we could see some really powerful scenes that can’t happen in any other book. Overall, his clean lines are perfectly suited to that type of stuff and despite all the art changes that have been happening on the new 52 titles, hopefully this is one creator that sticks.

This might be the closest we get to seeing a Damian Wayne solo book. But I don’t know if that’ll keep this book going for long. Batman & Robin might actually benefit from a little less Robin and a little more goddamn Batman.

 WRITING: 2 / ART: 4 / OVERALL: 3.5

About Pierce Lydon

Co-Founder & Staff Writer of Kabooooom. Writer. Journo. Freelancer. Lead singer of Cutters. Comics for life. Yankees 'til death.

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