Robin is an important aspect of the Batman mythos. For many, the idea of Batman being without a Robin is unthinkable. The death of Damian Wayne in March of 2013 was controversial to say the least. I have repeatedly stated I am not a fan of Damian’s demise, and I felt he should come back. Well, someone at DC Comics must feel the same because the latest arc in Batman and Robin begins with a one shot written by Peter J. Tomasi and with art by Andy Kubert, Damian’s first artist. In the time since Damian’s demise, Batman has gone through an intense grieving process and tracked down Ra’s Al Ghul to take back Damian’s pilfered corpse. So, is it truly the return of Robin? Is Damian Wayne back among the living?
After a recap, we continue from where Batman and Ra’s Al Ghul left off: with Batman and Ra’s facing off Glorious Godfrey and his Apokoliptian forces. Godfrey explains he is there to collect a shard the Chaos Shard (the MacGuffin from the first arc in Batman/Superman). As we found out in the issue preceding this, that shard was part of Ra’s’ plans, and it’s currently hidden in Damian’s casket. Soon, Batman and Ra’s team up against Godfrey to protect their loved ones. When Batman manages to wrangle away Damian’s coffin, he touches the shard and remembers something that was wiped from his mind, and is given a sort of prophecy…that is interrupted by Godfrey and furthermore by the Justice League…. To find out what happens next, you need to buy the issue.
Tomasi gives us an exciting tale, and gives us hope that Damian might indeed come back to life once this tale plays out in Batman and Robin and concludes in Robin Rises: Alpha. The interactions between the various characters is well done, especially with Shazam playing the unwitting comic relief. Batman and Ra’s show that when it comes down to it, both men would risk their lives to save their loved ones from Darkseid’s minions. Every character gets their moment to shine, including Titus, Damian’s loyal Great Dane. However, there isn’t much development outside of this major battle. Seven of the book’s 37 pages is basically a giant recap of what happened up to now, and brings in story concepts that further muddles the timeline issue. There isn’t as much plot development as I would have liked; this prologue to the new Batman and Robin arc could have been trimmed down a bit for pacing. But overall, it’s good writing, if not the most deep I have seen from Tomasi.
Kubert’s art is on point, with plenty of energy and excitement behind it. He does a good job with the immense action as well as the flashbacks. There are a few wonky faces and overly gritted teeth, but those are minor quibbles. I think it’s excellent to bring back the art team that brought Damian into the comics to be there for the beginning of his possible return. His work is immensely detailed, and the inks and colors by Glapion and Anderson makes every detail stand out. Kubert’s art is a huge reason for you to get this book.
While the overall plot of this issue boils down to mainly flashback, a brawl, and set up; it’s still an exciting read and makes you want to know what happens next. While Morrison may have created Damian, it is Tomasi who truly brought out the best in the character and I hope he will be bringing back Damian in some way, preferably as Robin. Kubert’s art is masterful and is a perfect introduction for this new arc. Batman is coming for his son, alive, and woe on any New God who DARES stand in his way.
FINAL SCORE: 7.5 out of 10