Friday, July 4, 2014

Batman and Ra's Al Ghul by Peter J. Tomasi issue #32 [The Hunt for Robin]

It has been both a thrilling and frustrating ride for Peter J. Tomasi's Batman and Robin run. We had thirty-two issues so far which were then composed of seven story arcs (Born to Kill, Terminus, zombies, Death of the Family, Stages of Grief, Two-Face and McKinell, The Hunt for Robin). 

Some have lived up to expectations and even became so much more while others were forgettable pieces that were better left not mentioning at all. Still, Tomasi has impressed us with his sheer insight on characterization and character interplay and his strongest stories to date are often those that I call 'emotionally resonant'. He was also responsible for the creation of the villains NoBody and Erin McKinell who truly come to their own; and, of course, the re-imagining of Harvey Dent's origin story as Two-Face which had more to offer than what was presented, and whose incomplete tale will probably be picked up soon enough.

In this final issue for The Hunt for Robin, we get the last confrontation between Batman and Ra's as they fight over Damian's corpse. Batman just wants to bury his son in peace but Ra's still has his eyes set on world domination and he needs Damian and his daughter Talia by his side to accomplish that goal. Frankenstein had accompanied Batman in the last issue and here we saw him being a very efficient and supportive partner (which actually makes me hope that he can appear in other stories after this because I really enjoy the compassion and understanding that he and Batman share in just a short span of pages last time). This was a great issue thought not something I would consider Tomasi's finest. The illustrations were beguiling, showcasing one of the most exciting fight sequence between Batman and Ra's, in my opinion, as they take turns brutally smashing each other on ice while Frankie and the league of assassins (and man-bats) look on, not daring to interrupt this epic battle. 

While I was reading this, I wondered if Ra's is as selfish and calculating as he claims to be. For some reason, I feel like he is grieving in his own twisted way and that there is still that human part of him that misses his daughter and grandson and so reviving them is also his way of perhaps making up for the times he was less than admirable as a father and grandfather. But I could probably be just reading into it; but it would be great if there's that sympathetic aspect to Ra's, not that I mind him simply being just a relentless immortal with a one-track mind for world conquest. Unfortunately enough, the combat gets interrupted in the most timely fashion. Some jackass villain Apokolips (from the Supervillains storyline following the events of Forever Evil, I believe) appeared and it was really annoying because the story is said to be continuing on two separate issues: Red Dawn and Robin Rises Omega, the latter whose release on July 16 is something I look forward to.

This issue had great action and a serviceable conclusion (with a surprise cliffhanger).


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