Monday, May 26, 2014

[New 52] Batman and Robin by Peter J. Tomasi issue #1

Picking up from where the zero issue ended, Born to Kill starts with an action sequence that would confuse readers who might not be familiar with Batman Inc. The most important thing to remember if you ever decide to pick up New 52's Batman and Robin line-up is that two writers are working different angles for Batman and the new Robin Damian Wayne in their respective titles: Tomasi with this title and Grant Morrison for the aforementioned series. New 52 relaunched Batman Inc alongside this project but they could be read separately even if there are certain events that tend to overlap.

The beginning sequence for Born to Kill isn't necessarily consequential or have any correlation with the events in New 52's Batman Inc just yet but I believe it will eventually go down that path once the gears have shifted focus. So for now let's talk about this issue. Here Bruce Wayne had just taken Damian from Talia's hands. The boy has been trained for a decade to become the best assassin the world has known so far--and he knows it. Self-efficient, highly intelligent and caustic, Damian does not give a damn every time Bruce tries to connect with him (first by telling about the significance of 10:58 which is the TOD of Bruce's parents; second by explaining to him the importance of honoring how the dead have lived). In both circumstances, Damian outright rejects his father's point of view. There is animosity and discomfort between them that is only natural because of the decade-long separation, but it looks as if Bruce is the only one who's making an effort to change things.

I don't mind Damian being this dismissive about his father because he really has no sort of affection for him at this moment, except perhaps share Bruce's need to punish evil-doers. Damian seems to be more interested in kicking bad-guy ass than hearing his father talk about 'sentimental nonsense'. Damian's heart is cold only because he never learned how to be human. Hopefully the presence of a strong father figure in his life will thaw out the ice. After all, I know Damian does want to have a relationship with his father but isn't consciously seeking it since he's too focused on making sure he stays invulnerable.

So it's not going to be an easy ride. During an altercation, Damian leaves Batman to pursue the criminals who escaped which earned him a much deserved lecture on the importance of restraint and cooperation. Damian didn't think he needed to be told what to do, emphasizing that he is far more gifted than the past Robins. He even pointed out that Dick Grayson (former first Robin and now Nightwing) trusted him, and turned the tables on Batman by asking him why he couldn't trust him in the same manner. Ar this point, Bruce seems both eager and reluctant to open up, wanting to feel some sort of familial connection to his estranged son and yet also determined to keep him in line. I'm liking this conflict so far!

The first issue did well to establish the strained relationship between the two and I have a feeling that Tomasi will continue to explore the progress and development of their partnership in the next issues while putting them in the context of dangerous scenarios and questionable dilemmas. I'm really looking forward to that because I have read ahead in Snyder's Batman stories like Death of the Family and by then Damian's sense of loyalty to his father is heartfelt, and I'm curious to see just how much their relationship strengthened before that.


*Just the right amount of tension, drama and action

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