Review: Batman and Robin #1

Written by Peter J. Tomasi with art by Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray

For all the things the DC Relaunch is getting right, there is one thing about it that still bothers me a little. That of course is DC’s stubborn determination to keep the Batman and Green Lantern books consistent with the stories that were told pre-Flashpoint. This week, both Green Lantern #1 and Batman and Robin #1 picked up relatively where their respective characters were when their previous series ended, except in the case of Batman and Robin, Bruce is apparently no longer traveling the globe recruiting other Batmen and Dick has supposedly returned to being Nightwing. Just like with Green Lantern #1, I had no real problem with this first issue because I have been following the Bat titles fairly closely, but its adherence to pre-relaunch continuity could potentially alienate the new readers who are the target audience for the “New 52”. That said, it’s still a solid issue, if not quite underwhelming as a jumping-on point.

The issue centers on Bruce Wayne trying to work with his newest Robin, his son Damien, despite their clashing philosophies and attitudes toward crimefighting. On the anniversary of the night his parents were murdered, Bruce visits the site of their death for what he claims to be the last time. Perhaps because of what happened in the final pages of Flashpoint #5, he seems willing to let go of his grief over what happened, yet he’s still determined to remain Batman, because there’s still a lot of evil to fight in Gotham. Damien reacts to his father’s epiphany with his usual mix of disdain and boredom, and soon they are off foiling a villainous plot to hijack some sort of superfuel. Their confrontation with the assailants leads to a horrible accident and another ideological showdown between father and son. Meanwhile, a mysterious figure is hunting down the Batmen that Bruce recruited in the pages of Batman, Incorporated, making a future crossover with Batwing a distinct possibility.

This issue was enjoyable from beginning to end. Peter Tomasi’s writing is great as always, while Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray join the ranks of Frank Quitely as artists who know how to accurately draw Damien so that he actually looks like a ten-year old. I liked how Bruce awkwardly tried to reach out to his estranged son and how Damien treats him with nothing but disdain. Still, after Tony Daniel’s fresh take on Batman in Detective Comics #1, it puzzles me that this book is content to carry on with what’s been done before instead of trying to blaze a new trail. Regardless, as a longtime Bat reader, I personally had a good time reading Batman and Robin #1 and award it 4 out of 5 Paper Sailboats.

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Ben Gilbert is an avid comic and movie fan, father of two amazing kids, and husband to one awesome chick. He resides in the hills of East Tennessee and still doesn't quite know what he wants to be when he grows up.

Comments (4)

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  1. Jose Guzman says:

    It is kind of bull that DC is picking what they are keeping in certain titles but I did love this book. I wasn’t going to get it but the end of Gates of Gotham where Damien had a smirk when he hear that he would be running with Bruce sold me on wanting to see Bruce and his son take on Gotham. My favorite line was when Damien told Bruce that he was easier to look up to when he was gone. I’m going to stick with this book and see where it goes.

    • D-Rock says:

      “It is kind of bull that DC is picking what they are keeping in certain titles”

      I don’t really understand this comment. If you owned the business and had a chance to remodel, why wouldn’t you pick the best aspects of the character over the years? Who in their right mind would say, “Yeah that was a cool story, but we’re not going to use it”?

      Use what worked and drop what didn’t, makes sense to me.

  2. John-Michael (Batman25JM) says:

    I loved this, and I mean LOVED it. So far it’s my favorite of the new 52. I think Tomasi really nails the characters. I love the relationship between Bruce and Damian. It’s something that we haven’t really gotten the chance to see as of yet. All the stuff with Crime Alley and Bruce not wanting to mark the anniversary the death of his parents, but honor their wedding anniversary instead was just great.

    The art was phenomenal. I love Gleason’s work so much. He draws one of the best Damians.

    I for one have grown to love Damian. I hated him when he first appeared (I’m sure a great deal of that had to do with Morrison), but he’s continued to grow and develop and (thanks to other writers) I now love him.

    I think this issue was about a billion times better than Tony Daniel’s Detective Comics #1.

    I can’t wait to see where this book goes from here. I hope Tomasi and Gleason are on it for a good long time.

    I will admit that this may not have been the best jumping on point issue. However, I don’t think there was too much in this that would really confuse a new reader. Then again, I say that as someone who has been reading pretty much all the Batman books for years.

    • D-Rock says:

      I wonder if the change in how he views his parent’s anniversary will bring a lighter Batman that people seemed to be expecting after One Year Later.

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