Graphic Novel Reviews: Batman and Robin 001-007

This was one of the books I came to later. Initially, when deciding which series to read I put Batman and Robin lower on my list. The main reason for this was Damian, I had bad memories of him as a character, and I saw no reason to subject myself to JTL (Jason Todd Light) when there were other books that demanded my attention. But one issue a month doesn’t last long, so I soon found myself craving more Batman books.

The book picks up after the previous Batman and Robin series, with Damian having served as Robin under Dick Grayson. This of course brings up the issues of what actually still counts from the previous continuity, but if you’re reading a New 52 review, chances are you’re already aware of that particular problem, so I won’t bother going into it any further.

Batman and Robin fight crime, while their relationship as father and son is strained by Bruce’s ineptitude as a parent, and Damian’s abrassive personality. They run into an assassin, named Nobody, who Bruce knows from his training days. After Damian defects and joins Nobody’s fatal crusade against crime, we learn that Bruce trained under Nobody’s father, and that Nobody wants revenge against Bruce for a beating received at his hands. Damian reveals that he was only helping his father find out where Nobody was, and after Batman breaks into Nobody’s base and beats the assassin, Nobody taunts Damian that he will continue to return no matter what. Damian then hits Nobody in the forehead with a move he learned from him, apparently killing him.

While I didn’t originally like Damian, I have to say that his character is a major draw for this book. Seeing Bruce deal with a Robin who will openly challenge his methods and mentality is incredibly entertaining. What makes it better is seeing Bruce struggle at being a father. It may seem suspiciously sitcom in its setup, but the interaction between the two just works.

Damian’s deffection not only makes sense, since he has been set up as the kind of character that just might do that, and his reveal that he was just working to lead his father to Nobody.

What doesn’t work is how issue seven ends. While Damian’s apparent murder of Nobody makes sense, even though he has refused to murder in the past, what ruins it is that stupid last line of the issue. Biblical allusions are tricky as it is, and in this case it just comes across as pretentious. It’s not really a big deal, but it stands out so much from the rest of the excellent writing that I can’t help but be miffed at it.

Overall a good series, one of the best of the new Batman books. The ridiculous line at the end of issue seven is easily forgiven as the rest of the book is a well written character drama between Bruce, Damian, and Alfred. A great series for anyone that thinks that super hero books are just skimpy costumes and soul-less action montages.

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