Haunted by his atrocious misdeeds from Year of Blood and now willing to make up for them through Year of Atonement, Damian Wayne is one hero who never had it easy as the latest Robin and most especially as a former al Ghul. With the end of Peter J. Tomasi's Batman and Robin, former artist of said title, Patrick Gleason, takes up writing duties for Robin: Son of Batman, and based from two installments in, this series continues to impress and deliver unexpected thrills. Visually, it's superb and multi-layered. Writing-wise, it's edgy, daring and engrossing. This is the best Damian-centric literature for any hardcore fan who couldn't get enough of this magnetic youth. I know I can't so I continue to remain indebted to Gleason and co.
The issue opens with a flashback between mother and son, taking us back to the not-so-good old days when all that was promised to Damian, and what he has known his entire life, is an empire built on blood and death to which he is an heir. The ultimate test of his worthiness is the Year of Blood. At present, the very same boy has now chosen a different cause to fight for and is slowly yet surely making ammends for the crimes and injustice he brazenly committed back when all he thought he could ever be is a killer. Damian left Gotham City to travel certain spots in the world starting with South America, in a village where he had lain waste once and stole the townsfolk's most sacred treasure. As he restores it back to its rightful place, he awakens the dormant guardian that immediately attacks him. During this commotion, NoBody's daughter finally makes her appearance, aiding Damian not because she cared about him but rather because she'd rather not have innocents get hurt.
NoBody's daughter wishes to take vengeance on Damian who killed her father from the Born to Kill arc but seems to have nobler intentions outside that and I think that adds some dimension to her character. She also finds Damian's road to redemption laughable yet worth the entertainment so she struck a deal to accompany him, most probably with every wish to see him fail and revert back to his old self. This issue has done a great deal telling the story of Damian's fall and return from grace by seamlessly blending past and present in an explosion of colors, enchanted by John Kalisz. Gleason's art has never looked this alive and aggressive, giving everything a sense of urgency, as well as sharpening the dangers ahead. It's an overall superb sophomore issue that gives other Bat-titles a run for their money.
You have no idea how happy it makes me that this title has yet to disappoint me. The directions that it can go are limitless. Damian's characterization is consistent in his bullheadedness, spontaneity and resourcefulness, but he is also most definitely more mature and purposeful as a young man of eleven who had experienced enough anguish and death from the world to make hard choices and stand by them. So far, he's only been interacting with his pet griffin and NoBody's daughter. But I can't wait to see how it plays out when he realizes his mother is back in the future, and that she may have changed herself into something he may not readily recognize. This was simply a splendidly illustrated issue with a solid story to tell. If you're already a Damian Wayne fan yourself then it would feel only natural to fall into the rhythm of Gleason's narrative and visuals in no time. This is the title to pick up and learn more about this ever-strange and magnificent character's past, crises and the hopeful outcomes of his decisions.