Review: Robin: Son of Batman #1
“I am Robin… Son of Batman.”
With Eisner Award winning opening dialogue there, I knew this would be a bumpy ride. Yeesh. Comic book reading to me, should be a labor of love. This just felt like labor. Truth be told, you will not find a bigger fan of Damian Wayne (aka Robin), than I. (Something about that smug little brat that just lights up my world, he’s the son of Batman and one of Batman’s greatest enemies for crying out loud!) Unfortunately I did not find this to be the most auspicious outing for him in his first singles title adventure. We open our tale in Bialya (A fictional country in the Middle East) where an overzealous sultan named Abushi has taken Damien’s Giant pet Man-Bat: Goliath, captive. Abushi threatens to destroy Goliath unless Damien agrees to become his adoptive son.
Naturally asking a nigh powerful ten year old, (and son of Batman to boot) to cooperate isn’t going to go over well. Damien basically tells the sultan his counter proposal and..
Pow! down he goes! We then switch to a quick flashback of a time when his dad Batman (Bruce Wayne) gave him an involuntary night off of crime fighting by leaving a towering hot fudge sundae in his room. I’ll admit that was a cool little moment because you never see Batman show much emotion. Little caveats like that tend to humanize the characters more. At that moment Damien receives a panicked call from someone who calls him “Lord Damien”, that Goliath is loose. However, before we can deal with that, the scene switches yet again to Gotham Harbor. In the harbor deep below the surface, there appears to be a helmet with a recording device. The helmet belongs to the deceased villain called Nobody who is really Morgan Ducard. He is the son of Henri Ducard who trained Bruce Wayne many moons ago. There seems to be a recording that is playing of his and Damien’s last encounter with each other (Which took place in the pages of Batman and Robin by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason a few years back, a great story btw). It is then revealed that a women in a high-tech wetsuit was listening to this recording. Our sole clue to who she may be as that as the recording finishes, is she says the word Daddy.
The Gotham Coast Guard comes to investigate and she turns invisible and brutally injures the two officers before taking to the shadows. The guard asks “Who’s there?” as she beats him and says “Nobody, you want to know.” Well that made things a little clearer. Looks like this little lady is taking up the family business. Only time will tell.
The scene then switches to Al Ghul Island, where Damien crash lands a jet (In a world where ten-year old caped badasses fly jets) and he sees his trusted council Ravi for information. Ravi updates Damien that Goliath has flown the coop and Damien demands to know where the whistle is.
Once again the scene switches back to present time in Bialya where Damien (now in possession of the sacred whistle) summons Goliath to break free and they fight their way through a horde of enemy forces. It is here that we see the best splash page in the book (I won’t ruin it here, see it for yourself) of a flying Goliath with Damien mounted firmly on his back making their daring escape. (Although he’s riding a flying Giant Man-Bat, who’s going to stop him?) The rest of the book is rounded out with a dream sequence showcasing a few guest stars stating that Damien needs to atone for the “Year of Blood”. I sure hope whatever that is, it doesn’t take a year to find out. I don’t know if I can stay on this crazy ride that long.
Overall: I wanted to like this book, I truly did. It had one of my favorite characters ever, Damien Wayne and his Giant Pet Man-Bat, this was destined to be awesome! However it felt slapped together too quickly, and it just didn’t grab me the way it should have. This is my opinion but very rarely when an artist tries to wear too many hats (I.E. be the writer and handle the art) most of the time it comes up short. (cough Tony Daniel, cough) I am a sucker for the creative collaboration process. The balance of art and story is a delicate dance and when handled right it becomes a breathtaking, eye popping spectacle. This was not that. I was a very big fan of Mr. Patrick Gleason’s art when he and Peter Tomasi were at the helm for Batman and Robin for a few years. They had a tremendous run too. I just feel that without Tomasi’s careful handling and crafting of the story this one missed quite a bit. When this was first announced I was promised by DC some “Punch you in the face fun with a dash of aww” and this was barely “A love tap on the nose with a small sigh of …really?” Here’s hoping the next installment has me pulling a barrage of Batarangs out of my petard on the way back to the Batcave and proves me wrong. That’s all for now. I think I will go sip on some of Alfred’s special Earl Grey tea to ease my reading woes. Catch you on the flip, folks!
Story: Patrick Gleason Art: Patrick Gleason
Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Pass