Father and Son once again suit up to patrol Gotham together, but what happens when Damian's ideal image of his father doesn't line up with the reality of the man?
As a longtime reader of Batman and Robin (Batman period) I felt like this issue was a complete follow up of what came before. The broad strokes of the Batverse remain more or less as they were. And considering that overall I was highly enjoying the goings on that's fine by me.
I'm a big fan of Gleason's artwork and he and Tomasi work and play off one another very well. There are moments where he absolutely nails Damian which made me smirk in silent approval.
Opening the issue with NoBody taking down an Inc. representative was a good move. Starting off issues with action is almost always a good thing in my opinion. It establishes the villain as a threat, show's his m.o., and Gleason's design for this new villain looks great. I've always been fond of combining abilities like super speed or invisibility with practical martial skill so right off the bat NoBody clicked with me.
One of the key things I look for in any Batman writer is how they write Alfred, If I can hear the voice actor from Batman: TAS then I KNOW that the writer gets it. Tomasi Gets it. The little exchange between Damian/Alfred was pitch perfect.
Bruce wanting to move past his parents death was something I really like. I'm sure others will outright hate it, but growth and change are good and necessary. Let's be honest, does anybody really want to hear another "My parents are dead!" speech from Bruce? And I found Damian's reaction to the pomp and circumstance to be rather fitting.
And since we're on the topic of Damian I must say that overall I liked how Tomasi wrote him. There were some misses but he hit the big things I needed. Some will say that he's undone his character development from Morrison's run but I totally disagree. In fact, in Batman: The Return Morrison wrote Damian pretty much exactly as he is now. That being said, I think many of his fans have grossly over-exaggerated his growth. When Morrison ended Batman and Robin he was still a little entitled, arrogant prick. If you're expecting him to behave with Bruce as he did with Dick then you're going to be quite disappointed. This is a totally different relationship and I completely get his motivations for how he interacts with Bruce. Bruce hasn't earned what Damian gave Dick. And in his eyes Damian hasn't earned what he gave Dick/Tim. The moment where he and Bruce bump heads at the end of the issue perfectly encapsulates the nature of their conflict. I for one look forward to seeing how Tomasi develops their relationship
The ending of this issue does a good job of seeding some interesting future developments.
This cover is just plane bland.
This comic basically picks up where Batman and Robin/Inc./Gates of Gotham left off. This may cause a problem for new readers. Jumping into this as a new reader you'll definitely get a sense that you've missed some back story. Choosing not to make a clean reboot on the money makers like Batman and Green Lantern was not a good move considering they wanted to draw in new/lapsed readers with this whole stunt. It's a no win situation they've put them self into with books like this. Either old readers will feel bored by the rehashing or new readers will be overwhelmed by that mean ol' continuity.
On his last arc I genuinely enjoyed the way Tomasi wrote Damian, but here he's a bit spotty on the characterization. I don't agree with some who say he's setback all his character growth under Dick, at all. I do however feel that he's failing to nail the fine details in this issue.
Criminals jacking the Bat Gyro? Ummm sorry but that don't fly, nobody jacks the Batman's ride...at least not that easily. This was one of the silliest things I've seen since Jason chopping the Batmobile, folk. Also, NoBody being a villain with "ties to Bruce's past" doesn't quite move me. I think that that horse has been ridden (and not very well mind you) since Loeb's Hush.
The panel with Gordon made me feel like the new status quo is, "Urban Legend" Batman. As this story is set in the present, where Bats is a member of the frakin' League, I just can't go for that. That time in Bruce's life has loooong passed.
This issue hit and missed in many places, but despite that it hit the right notes it needed to keep me coming back. Longtime readers will definitely feel at home here. Newbies? Hmmm maybe not so much, but I recommend giving this one a full arc before you quit. I'm ruling this one a buy.