As Tomasi hammers home the family matters between Bruce and Damian, it makes me think that someone should re-title this series, “Daddy Issues: the Comic Book”. Regardless, he manages to hit all the right notes, and really brings to light that fact that Batman may be the World’s Greatest Detective, but he’s the world’s crappiest dad.
For those who were fans of the Dick Grayson/Damian Wayne team-up as Batman and Robin, you’ll remember how high of a pedestal Damian had put his father. Though at the time, Batman was busy being stuck in time as a pirate or something, readers never really got a taste of if Damian’s expectations of his father would holdup after his return.
This issue really wasn’t one focused on action, though that was a part of it (it’s still a comic book, after all). It’s satisfying that Tomasi is taking time out to slow down and really show the strenuous relationship between Bruce and Damian and how it reflects their partnership as Batman and Robin.
One scene in particular, where Alfred asked Bruce if he told Damian he was proud of him after he retrained himself from slaughtering some bad guys. Bruce answers that he had told Damian that he found his actions to be “commendable”. The next few panels then show Damian pensively standing in the Batcave, surrounded by bats. The weight of that scene is stupendous, allowing the reader to see both sides of this dysfunctional father-son relationship.
There are a few standout panels thanks to Gleason’s topnotch penciling, and John Kalisz’s amazing coloring job. Together, the two of them are able to bounce between Tomasi’s action sequences, to the pensive dramatic scenes flawlessly. However, while Gleason’s pencilings work well when it comes to characters and action sequences, the art for the environment are bland. Lacking in detail, some panels focus solely on Bruce or Damian’s face when speaking, leaving backgrounds oversimplified or completely blank.
It’s interesting to see a Batman book that’s willing to explore Batman in a deeper way than, “My parents are dead, so now I dress up as a bat and pound criminals.” There’s also a promise of an interesting villain on the horizon, which can put this new Batman and Robin to the test. This series is promising to be the mature Batman title that needs to happen in to raise superhero comics past the cliche of punching and kicking to the mantel serious narratives.
WRITING: 5 / ART: 3.5 / OVERALL: 4.25