Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Batman and Robin #1

There's a lot to like about this comic. Picking up pretty much where the old DC continuity left off, Bruce Wayne is a more experienced, capable, and calmer Batman than we saw in either Justice League #1 or Detective Comics #1 back in Week 1 of the reboot. When the issue opens, he's taken the 5th Robin (name all the previous ones and I'll send you a prize!) directly under his wing/cape. Of course, this is no problem for Batman, it's old hat at this point. Take a polite young man (well, one time it was a girl) and turn him into a crime-fighting force for good. The only hitch? This time Robin is one Damian Wayne, a nigh-psychotic super ninja raised by Ra's Al-Ghul to eventually take over the world.

The character work, essentially boiled down to Damian's imperious and snobby attitude versus Bruce's calm, collected and humane persona, is what really makes this comic work. Writer Peter Tomasi excels at the less-bombastic moments in a comic, though he does slide slightly into sappiness. Where he falls down a bit (and really only a bit), is at creating a compelling villain for our heroes to fight. The result, a dude named "Nobody" who can turn invisible, is a threat that fails to feel threatening.

On the visual side, Patrick Gleason drafts some great Bat-images. Damian looks appropriately youthful, the action is dynamic, and he even manages to make Batman's over-designed new costume look good (though mostly by ignoring some of the more pointless linework on the suit).

Buy it again: I'll be back next month, yeah.

New reader friendly: Really only Damian Wayne would stick out to a new reader, but that's only because Dick Grayson as Robin is so indelibly positioned in the cultural zeitgeist. Jesus, I just said "cultural zeitgesit", you can punch me in the face for that one.

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