Friday, July 3, 2015

Robin: Son of Batman by Patrick Gleason issue #1

My most favorite title for New 52 Batman isn't the marvelous run of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo but rather Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason's Batman and Robin which was just awesome, dammit! It stars Bruce and his son Damian as the Dynamic Duo and this series in particular examines with careful depth and understanding just how the father and son's relationship must grow and evolve if they hope to become more effective crime-fighting partners. And it has not been an easy journey. 

Hell, Damian Wayne even died and this title had to adjust filling the missing role of its secondary protagonist. But instead of suffering, Tomasi as a writer continued to flourish, producing quality and intimate tales that make this series unlike most average superhero comic books. It's emotionally resonant and it ended its last hurrah with a final arc that brought back Damian and restored his rightful position as Robin.

With B&R coming to an end, I am so glad that DC approached artist Pat Gleason to write and illustrate a new line-up solely starring Damian Wayne which is already a magnetic premise for me because I am a huge AND I MEAN HUGE DAMIAN WAYNE FAN GODDAMMIT so of course I'm bound to pick up this new title, Robin: Son of Batman. This wouldn't be the first time Damian was a central figure in a story. One may recall Andy Kubert's Damian: Son of Batman which was sadly ultimately forgettable. But I have high hopes for Gleason's project and the first issue did not disappoint. In fact, it got me so excited. There were a lot of things in this issue alone to speculate the direction and possible future storylines which would only deepen my investment on this title.  

We get several callbacks from the essentials: the Damian clones, the Year of Blood and NoBody are the most prime examples.And each were re-introduced from the get-go, further enhancing the intrigue surrounding these subplots that may play out in the course of this series.

There was also the matter of Talia al Ghul making an appearance because she's also somewhat back from the dead, with no recollection of who she is (as seen in one of the final issues of Tomasi's B&R) which should be interesting enough. It's worth noting that we're not exactly sure about Bruce's status here. We all know that he's currently dead and that Gordon is the new Batman. I hope this gets resolved soon but I certainly wouldn't mind this series being a standalone with a flexible timeline for the sake of narrative flow. I just want to make sure any continuity issues should be clarified.

Some noteworthy things about this issue: I want to know more about the Year of Blood. I think this is some sort of al Ghul-related practice that happened before Damian met his father and moved to Gotham. NoBody's daughter looks like she's going to avenge her daddy and I'd like to see what kind of villain she will make. I think this first issue, as well-received it might be for conscientious, long-time Damian fans like me who has followed his growth and career throughout Tomasi's run, may not be newbie-friendly for a casual reader. You need to know more about the previous arcs of B&R to really be comfortable moving forward for this title, I think. It's only forty issues so you can catch up!

Oh, and John Kalisz and Mick Gray return as the colorist and letterer respectively and I love these guys alongside Gleason's illustrations and his visual style has improved a lot. He adds more dimensions and details in his panels. Also, Damian has finally aged! He's now eleven. He's been ten a long time since his debut. So glad this is getting fixed. After all, it would be less creepy for a twenty-five year old woman like me to have a crush on a goddamn kid. I can't wait until he matures into an adult and continues his awesome streak! I am looking forward to this title more than Snyder's and Mana-Buc's own series which have also just been picked up and renewed last month. I've posted my reviews about them so feel free to check them out.


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