After the shocking (sort of, since it was spoiled) events of Batman, Incorporated, Batman has lost another Robin. Damian Wayne, the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, died at the hands of his brother, the horrible monstrosity known as The Heretic.
With that event fresh, the various Bat-titles are all having their characters reflect on the loss of Damian in “Requiem” stories. The results varied with each struggling to be unique and some feeling like this event was shoehorned in.
How has each issue held up so far? Find out below.
In the wake of unspeakable tragedy, Batman is in danger of losing his humanity! And in the backup story, fan-favorite character Harper Row returns—but will she be able to pull Batman back from the brink?
While it’s the “main” Batman title this Batman series isn’t where the death took place. Luckily, the issue is fresh off the “Death of the Family” arc, so it can start fresh. Batman throws himself into his work battling bad guys and getting out his frustration. The other two titles featuring Batman take a similar approach.
This issue stands out for the fact Harper Row is in it. Many have speculated that she will be the next Robin, but judging by this issue, she more feels like a way for Bruce/Batman to discuss getting a kid killed without actually saying it. She’s a plot point to make it easier for that to be discussed. Seriously how else is he to discuss it and to whom?
The issue is pretty good, especially with the Harper Row stuff, but overall, the emotion isn’t quite as solid as I’d hope. You get a sense of Batman’s anger, but only in so much he’s punching a lot of people. The focus is more on his being sloppy due to that anger. To me that deflects from the fact he’s in mourning.
It’s a decent issue, but not the strongest, especially from writer Scott Snyder. I think in this case, what he has shown in the past works against him setting a high bar. Still a decent read and with the Harper Row stuff, possibly a pivotal issue.
Story: Scott Snyder and James T. Tynion IV Art: Andy Kubert and Sandra Hope
Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Buy
Batman and Robin #18
The one issue that just focuses on Batman, it’s mostly silent with only 70 words appearing in a letter at the end of the issue. Due to the fact it’s so silent, that means it relies heavily on the artwork to convey the message.
In a very interesting way it does. I flipped through each page, lingering on each panel, picking up what was being said through image. For the most part I though “this is it?”, but that was until I got to the end.
Much like Batman #18, Batman mostly punches a bunch of people, diving into his work to work through his mourning and anger. But, it’s those 70 words towards the end and what follows the makes the issue.
From there, we see the catharsis I felt was missed in the rest of these comics. There’s a real feel of anguish and anger. You really feel the loss from Bruce.
It might be the one issue that has the least amount of words, but it does the best job of getting through the emotion that missed in many others.
Story: Peter J. Tomasi Art: Pat Gleason and Mick Gray
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy
The first of two issues by guest writer Ray Fawkes! Batgirl is on a path to face down her brother, James Gordon Jr., who sold her out to the Joker.
The issue focuses on what it is to be a hero. How do you inspire people? James Jr. talks about that a lot throughout the issue, watching his sister go about her duties.
Then the news comes… Batman tells Jim Gordon who then tells Barbara and asks her to be safe. Barbara is fairly shocked by it, calling Dick Grayson, but it’s odd for her character. She deals with the news in about a page and then goes about her mission.
I’d say that like Batman she focuses on work to get rid of the emotion, but there’s no mention of Damian’s death at all. It’s like she completely takes in the news and processes it in a matter of minutes.
For someone who came close to dying due to the Joker, you’d think she’d have more of a reaction, maybe some reaction from that trauma?
And because of this, the news feels shoehorned in. It’s an ok issue, definitely suffering from now having regular writer Gail Simone, who I can’t help but think would of given the issue the humanity it misses.
Story: Ray Fawkes Art: Daniel Sampere
Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Detective Comics #18
Batman vs. The Penguin! Yeah, this issue picks up where it’s been building with the Penguin dealing with the fact he’s not the big bird now and Batman hellbent on sending him to jail, sort of.
See, in the beginning of the issue Batman is focused on Penguin. Then he goes to the gravestone of Damian, sheds a tear and then says he needs to go after Zsasz who is on the loose instead of the Penguin. Then Batman focuses on beating people up, gets a report of something going on at the Zoo, then casino and he’s back with dealing with the Penguin.
The story is a bit choppy and while moving the story forward, it’s very off. The pseudo emotion we see in the other Batman titles, is missing from most of this issue, it’s too focused on the story that’s been going for a while. It suffers for that.
And that’s the issue with so many series featuring the same character. With such a big event, it has to either focus on that event, or ignore it. Here it sort of acknowledges it and with that doesn’t give it the focus it deserves, which is sort of half-ass.
This issue falls into that pit of not being sure if it wants to be part of the bigger story, and for that, it falls short.
Story: John Layman Art: Jason Fabok
Story: 6.75 Art: 7.25 Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Pass
World’s Finest #10
After being attacked by a group connected to the missing Mr. Terrific, Power Girl and Huntress take the fight to Holt Industries, where they make a shocking discovery!
Are you reading this series? I stopped. So, I can’t really comment on the story. Instead this issue dedicates 5 pages to the loss of Damian. That’s more than Batgirl, which is a bit odd to me.
The emotion is ok, but as much as it’s a bit odd for these world displaced characters, there’s also the awkwardness of Hel and this world’s Batman. The emotion in this case almost seems too much, where Batgirl didn’t give enough. It’s strange comparing the two.
Maybe if I was still reading the series, I’d have appreciated it more, but judging by just this issue, it didn’t do it for me.
Story: Paul Levitz Art: Kevin Maguire
Story: 6.75 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Pass
DC Comics provided some comics to Graphic Policy for FREE to review