Saturday, September 26, 2015

Robin: Son of Batman by Patrick Gleason issue #4

DC's Green Latern officially turned seventy-five years old this year, and my heartfelt kudos goes to him and the beautiful and dignified men who put on that hallowed ring and stood up for the principles and ideals it represented. I don't know why I've decided to squeeze in those words of congrats here in my review for Patrick Gleason's ongoing epic Robin: Son of Batman, but I did anyway because it felt right in the moment. I have no regrets.

The same thing cannot be said for Damian Wayne, however. Still marred by the misdeeds and atrocities he committed during his last Year of Blood, Damian is still on a spiritual and brutal journey to rectify his mistakes. Accompanying him in this mission is Goliath, a so-not-a-Man-Bat pet and sidekick, and Nobody's daughter Maya who started out seeking vengeance on her late father's behalf by trying to kill his murderer (read: Damian himself) but unexpectedly chose to let go of the grudge and help out said father-murderer. The situation is odd enough but Maya has shown loyalty and stubbornness, two qualities that binds her to Damian because he possesses the very same traits. 

Theirs is proving to be the start of a bizarre camaraderie that may yield more positive results than anticipated. I certainly enjoyed the way these three characters (yes, I'm including Goliath) seem to care about each other while trying to accomplish the mission they were set out to complete. Said mission was mostly about returning artifacts to their rightful places as a peace offering to atone for Damian's mindlessly and ferociously ransacking sacred places he left in ruins back when he was just a boy engineered to become a bloodthirsty ruler of an empire soaked in deaths and destruction. Not anymore, of course, because Damian demonstrates in this series that he wants to grow up differently from what his grandfather and mother wanted him to be back then; a far-cry from the sadistic and cold-blooded assassin he was trained to be. So, for this issue, we see Damian, Maya and Goliath taking a trip to Alexandria, one of the many places Damian originally had his Year of Blood trials. He stole three canopic jars after raiding tombs within the eerie underground halls and cellars of what used to be the intellectual central of the old world.

Damian actually takes the time to explain the significance of the place which made me wonder if there is more to Alexandria's secret corners than Damian is leading us on. He was surprisingly chatty about it and originally I thought Gleason was simply making a metaphorical comparison between Damian and Alexander the Great which wouldn't be an unlikely theory, seeing as both can be considered as bright and passionate pioneers who are on a quest to overcome the limitations imposed on their respective persons, but I feel like there's more to that comparison as well. I'm not completely sure but I did enjoy Damian opening up more to Maya even if the conversation mostly consisted of his insights regarding Alexandria. It felt like this was his way of attempting to communicate his private thoughts towards someone he wants to trust, so I appreciated the light banter in between as well because it reinforces the idea that perhaps Damian and Maya could be great partners as long as they're open and honest with each other's shortcomings and darkest inclinations. Goliath tagging along, being a supportive badass, is another treat.

The crowning moment of awesome for this issue arrived when Deathstroke (Slade Wilson) arrives to the party, incapacitating Maya and attacking Goliath quite unfairly just to hurt Maya's feelings because she has obviously learned to care for the adorable creature. In what can only be described as a phenomenal sequence, we get a really intense action-oriented pages featuring the fight between Damian and Slade. Here are my favorite panels. At this point I don't need to convince you that Gleason is amazing:

In a rather humorously anticlimactic moment, Damian deduced that Slade is not here to kill Maya or Damian himself. but rather to acquire financial assets to rebuild his murder enterprise, I guess, and to which Damian offered a hefty amount of contribution if Slade vows to stay away from Maya from this day forward. And, what do you know, Deathstroke took him up on that offer and he turned out to be such a fucking sellout! He got five million out of it while he offered some helpful advice to Maya, claiming that "A job is a job but blood is blood" in regards to her father's murder. Apparently, Slade doesn't know Damian killed Ducard which was...odd? I wonder how Maya will take Slade's words to heart though...would she later come to a realization that she shouldn't be helping Damian at all and once again revisit the idea of making him pay for her father's death? It's highly likely and it would be a tad heartbreaking for me, seeing as I'm enjoying the trinity of Damian, Maya and Goliath at last and I'd hate to see put an end to their wacky adventures. This issue ends with the three amigos stumbling upon a Lazarus pit during their escape, and the promise of a mother-son reunion which will make things more awkward indeed. And I can hardly wait to see how Damian will react upon discovering that mommy dearest is still alive and kicking.


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