Title: Batman & Robin Volume 1 (New 52)
Author: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Publisher: DC Comics
Verdict: Better than Expected!
When DC relaunched its entire mainline comic book universe, I was pretty let down. I’d been religiously following both the Green Lantern books and the Batman books. Both were experiencing creative highs that neither had seen in a long time. So when DC announced the New 52, I didn’t get it. Why would you try and fix something that was most assuredly not broken?
Grant Morrison had just wrapped up his run on Batman & Robin, and it was announced that Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason would take over the book after a three issue interlude by other creators. When Tomasi & Gleason showed up, they only produced one issue, and then it was another new team. It turns out that they were proceeding right into their New 52 storyline and it would be some time before we saw the fruits of their labor. This hardcover collection gives us those fruits.
This collection features the first eight issues of the series, and every page is brought to us by Mr. Tomasi and Mr. Gleason. These days, a creative team is lucky to get more than three issues out in a row, let alone eight. I’ve actually been collecting the monthly issues since issue #9, and both of these fellows have been there for every page of the first eleven! Very impressive.
This series is different from the other Bat-books, wherein this series focuses on the relationship between Bruce and Damian Wayne. We’ve seen Bruce over the years with his surrogate sons Dick, Jason and Tim; but we’ve never seen Bruce deal with his own flesh and blood. It’s not that he loves his other sons any less, it’s just different with Damian. This is a child who was raised by the league of assassins. When he wasn’t with them, he was with his mother and was treated differently than most boys would have been. He was raised to be the true heir of Ra’s al Ghul, and would have been a warrior king. He’s dangerous and deadly, and needs his father to temper him like a Japanese master tempers his samurai sword. The boys is filled with rage and violence, and only a man like Bruce, filled with the same stuff, can teach the boy to be the man Bruce knows that he can be. Tempering that arrogance wouldn’t hurt either.
The story of the first eight issues, at its core, is really about Bruce and Damian becoming a team, but the B-story was also quite interesting. We get to see that Henri Ducard, the alter ego of Ra’s al Ghul in the Christopher Nolan Batman movies, existed in this DCU as his own character, and he was one of four main trainers that Bruce used to become Batman. We get to see Ducard’s son, and the strained relationship he shares with Bruce Wayne, and the differences in their life missions. It made for a great read, and I can’t wait to keep reading this series, as well as most of DC’s Batman books.
What did you all think? Are you enjoying the batman books as much as I am? What do you think of the dynamic between Bruce and Damian? Do you want Damian hanging with Dick Grayson again? Let us know! Sound off in our handy comments section below J .