Batman & Robin #36
w. Peter Tomasi
a. Patrick Gleason
5 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Because it’s Batman versus Apokolips ( and we all know how Batman vs. anything/one turns out…. See Batman #36 for proof ), with Damian Wayne’s body the target of Batman’s rage. Batman wants his son’s body back, and no man…nor God will stop him. Plus he’s got some back-up coming his way. Red Hood, Batgirl and Red Robin along with Cyborg ( who was kinda tricked into this for his Boom Tube tech ) and Titus ( Damian’s pet Doberman, who hitched a ride through said Boom Tube ) have defied Batman’s orders to stay behind and guard Gotham if he didn’t make it back. But we all know how the Bat-family rolls, right? Including Alfred who set the whole thing up, even giving the trio their new signature Robin badges ( as seen on the cover ).
Landing among Darkseid’s slave-caste of citizens, the Hunger Dogs, slows them down a bit, especially landing among hungry, armed cannibal Hunger Dogs, but they eventually get to Batman, who surprisingly didn’t really need their help in the first place! He already tortured the info he needed out of one Apokoliptan New God , and on his way to Kalibak’s Chaos Cannon ( a worldkilling super-gun powered by Chaos-infused items, laced with energy from the Chaos Shard…like Damian’s sarcophagus ), Batman has battled his way through a mountain of Parademons. No seriously, that’s where they find Batman in his armored Hellsuit, atop a literal MOUNTAIN of fallen Parademons. Fearing their mentor has gone mad with grief at the sight of him, The Robin Revenge Squad is quickly corrected, when Batman points out this was part of his plan, to make enough of a scene to get Darkeid’s attention, thus expediting his way to Damians body. Batman and company head to the Chaos Cannon to take out Kalibak, when Batman’s plan comes to fruition. He definitely got Someone’s attention!
Tomasi and Gleason continue the roller coaster thrill ride that the Robin Rises arc has become. The quest for Damian’s body has led to Batman interacting with so many of DC’s distinct character list, and each time Tomasi has written that interaction smartly and succinctly, allowing parts of Bruce Wayne we rarely see shine through with the dynamics of the guest star’s relationship to Batman varying from issue to issue, but still managing to connect to the over arching story: a father’s love for his son. Gleason adds more to this then you notice at first, with his emotional facial expressions and body language, and definitely kicking the actions scenes over the top with the slickness of his shadowy style. This issue he gets to play with lots of Kirby Krackle, and riffs on the original New Gods character and locale designs, keeping them New 52 fresh an funky!
This book has been great from the beginning, and I look forward to seeing Tomasi and Mahnke ( Gleason’s studio-mate )’s take on Superman and Wonder Woman’s relationship. Forward to it so much I might just review it…