The Boy Who Would Become King
Batman had plenty of Zero Issues to himself, so this one is highlighting Robin in its entirety. Longtime readers don't get a lot of new information, but for those new readers jumping into the New 52, this gives a plethora of context to young Damian's backstory.
Like Batman Incorporated #2, I'm not completely buying into this callous world domination obsessed Talia. She rebelled against her father, then basically turned into him. Her raising of Damian was just as harsh and unforgiving as her own, if not more; while at the same time weirdly spoiling him. Constantly showering him with promises that he'll rule the world one day, while lording over him the knowledge of who his father is being an unknown factor to him until he can beat her on one of his birthdays. Thats right, every year Damian's birthday is celebrated by an elaborate attempt to kill his mother. And Damien is fully aware that waves of devotees and assassins are at their disposal, completely disposable to be used as any kind of obstacle his mother wishes. He was raised with such a deep disregard for the value of human life it's no wonder he has trouble breaking his killing edge.
As a relatively longtime reader, I can still find a lot to appreciate about this issue despite it not really giving me much that's new. We've long since known the basics of Damian's childhood, but we've never really seen it so in depth as an actual story; just snippets of the basics. This is still a fairly broad stroke of a full ten years of life, but it's still a lot more than we've fully seen before.
Also, Patrick Gleason's artwork continues to be atmospheric and excellent. We get to see Damian growing and learning such a wide variety of skills, most but not all of them combat related. And all of them are awesome in their own ways, Gleason depicts all the fighting and slashing and shooting and everything with such flow and dynamism that even an old fan can appreciate how downright awesome this issue is.
In Conclusion: 4/5
In my attempts to retain my sense of professionalism, despite not doing reviews professionally, I have to take into account the fact that this issue is excellent for new readers unfamiliar with Damian's backstory. Most people know Dick Grayson's, Jason Todd and Tim Drake's are easy enough to explain, Stephanie Brown's is complicated but she's not Robin now and hasn't been around for a while; but Damian's backstory is a bit complicated. He had a radically different childhood, and this is exactly the kind of issue that some people might need to endear them to this troubled kid. Yes, he's an asshole, but there's a deep, intense, psychological reason for it that earns him some pity, and lets us cheer for him as he begins to develop as a character and learn to respect others in the world around him. Slowly. And let's face it, who can hate this little kid here?