Here’s the third installment in what I like to call Father’s Day Favorites! Bob picked Batman and Robin, but not just any Robin, Damian Wayne. Let’s see why Bob thinks Bruce and Damian make a great father/son dynamic. – Chuck (Editor Monkey Extraordinaire)
Batman & Robin Vol.1 Born to Kill & Vol 2. The Pearl
All father and son relationships have a little bit of strain between them, but when your unknown son, is artificially aged, trained by the League of Assassins to be an accomplished ninja assassin, treated like royalty by those around him as the son of Talia and the grandson of Ra’s al Ghul, and brainwashed to hate and possibly kill you. Then dropped in your lap, there really is nothing in your utility belt that’s gonna help.
Grant Morrison may have created (and killed off) Damian Wayne in his inaugural Batman run in the pre-New 52 DCU, and established him as a Robin, (teamed with Dick Grayson as Batman) but it was the amazing creative talent of Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason that took relationship between Bruce Wayne and his wayward son to the next level.
When the killer vigilante Nobody comes to Gotham, on a personal vendetta against Bruce Wayne, it’s up to the Dynamic Duo to take him down. Batman, laden with guilt for not being there for Damian’s childhood, is trying to establish a relationship with Damian, and at the same time undo all the dangerous psychological damage done to him by his mother. By taking him under his wing, allowing him to vent his anger, while reigning in his murderous instincts Bruce hopes to break through to Damian and change his warped view of the world. But happens when Damian starts to agree with Nobody’s murderous methods, will his maternal traits kick in and send him on an even darker path?
Tomasi weaves all these poignant father/son moments within bouts of good ‘ol non stop Bat-Action, beautifully rendered in shadowy tones by Gleason, whose style and detail in facial expressions are a key element in the storytelling process that makes this book so good. Besides bonding over knife-fights and knocking heads with stone cold killers, Bruce tries his best to become a normal dad as well, like getting Damian a dog, making sure he does his homework and even enjoying a good game of catch.
And Alfred. Poor, poor Alfred. He now has to spend his time being a father figure to both Bruce and Damian, emotionally interpreting their actions to each other, since one has no idea how to be a father, and the other no idea how to be a son. The cliffhanger ending of volume one is one of the most startling scenes in a comic book, and leads to one of the most heart-rending, tear jerking father-son moments ever.
Volume two continues to show us the growth Damian makes as a person, but Tomasi constantly reminds us that he’s got light years to go. While he comes across as a snotty teenage Dexter Morgan, Damian quickly develops his own distinct personality, due to the tough love and moral guiding of both Bruce and Alfred, but still has an unpredictable wild side that makes him the best ( IMHO ) Robin ever. From leading an Army battalion against a Talon during the Night of Owls, to taking on Redd Hood, Nightwing and Red Robin (his brothers, essentially…there’s a family portrait shot! ) to prove he’s the best Robin, to heading out on his own to confront the Joker, Damian might not be your favorite Robin, but he is is the coolest. This volume is also filled with heart felt scenes between Bruce and Damian, as their relationship grows closer. Plus you get a sneak peek into Damian’s childhood, and get to watch the twisted upbringing he received from Talia al Ghul.
I cannot stress enough what a wonderful job Tomasi and Gleason have done with this title, and after reading these two trades,I promise you’ll continue with the next two, and like myself, you’ll be clamoring for the little bastard’s resurrection!!!