Batman and Robin #16
This issue comprises of a fight between Damian and a drug induced Batman. In order for Damian to escape this encounter with his life, he must do the thing he fears most – kill Batman. It is a battle of skill, morals and capability as the Death of the Family tie-ins continue.
What I liked
· Damian: Damian Wayne is one of my favourite comic book characters of all time. He is an anti-Batman trying to find his place within his father’s philosophy. Damian is not the typical son, and Bruce is not a typical father figure – these two characters slowly getting to the same page is, for me, what this series all about. Just like the previous Batman and Robin series, the hard work which Dick and Damian put into making the dynamic duo work made it a partnership worth investing in. This issue was a very nice marker of just how far Damian has come as a character, in this way I appreciated this month’s instalment a great deal.
· Care and attention, for a tie-in: Considering how uninteresting and irrelevant the Night of the Owls tie-ins were, it was nice to see that this Death of the Family tie-in wasn’t just a cash-in.
· Manages to carry the series narrative: The over-arching Death of the Family storyline didn’t seem to derail the overall narrative being told. Instead, the previous issues naturally progressed to a point where it would be suitable to introduce the Joker into the story. It did seem a little bit forced that some of the previous issues’ events were orchestrated by the Joker – but in some ways, it gave this encounter between Joker and Damian more weight.
What I didn’t like
· Obvious twists: The whole premise of this issue is based around a fact that is very obviously not true. It doesn’t detract too much from the issue but when the reveal of the issue happened, I met it with a sigh more than any degree of genuine surprise.
· Went on a bit: This issue was one extended fight scene. Some people get-off on comic book fights, and if that’s you – then go pick up this issue, because there are lots of pictures of people punching each other. If this is not you – you may find the significant lack of plot unsatisfactory. That is not to say there isn’t character development – but not much in terms of narrative. Collected in trade, this won’t be much of a problem.
· Some degree of plot convenience: As I mentioned before, the issue is based on a false pretence which is startlingly obvious to the reader. It isn’t much of a problem, until you realise that Damian would realise that something was amiss too.
This issue was essentially one drawn out fight scene. The twists and turns that the narrative took were obvious but not too detrimental to the story. The one thing this series has been doing well is developing Damian as a character as well as attempting to build a relationship between Batman and Robin. Although a semi-unimportant issue, this month’s instalment still stays true to its characterisation and ends with a nice pay-off for fans of Damian Wayne.