Dreams or Nightmares?
Now that Death of the Family is finished all the Bat titles will go their separate ways, and I hope that this is the perfect timing for this series to finally turn things around, and become the series the initial issues showed it can be.
This has to be one of the best Batman and Robin issues I've read in ages apart from the recent Annual. Following in the same fashion as the annual this is a nice one-shot issue, which is very unique and interesting, whilst being entertaining throughout. Peter J. Tomasi has done a splendid job of giving a story which is very light heartened, whilst still having a hint of darkness to it, which is a nice touch considering what Batman and Robin have went through recently at the hands of the Joker. I do hope that Tomasi can keep this up, as it's very well doing a brilliant job on one-shot issues, but it's not much of a consolation if he continues to produce poor ongoing stories, but I have ever faith that he will continue this form throughout the series.
I've had mixed feelings of Patrick Gleason artwork on this series as of late, but I'm finally happy with it again. I've always felt that Gleason's artwork suits this series brilliantly, but during the Death of the Family crossover it was far from perfect. Although it's still not quite perfect this time, it is much better, and reminds me what I liked about it in the first place. I love the way he draws all the characters, and especially Damian, and Titus (Damian's dog). The detail in his artwork has also improved in this issue, as most of it is very detailed. There is however a few parts that aren't quite as detailed as possible, and also the odd awkward facial expression, but overall the artwork is fabulous. I also loved the layout as it was brilliantly done, adding drama, and a hint of suspense.
Now onto the dreams. I'll talk about all the dreams whilst also trying to avoid spoilers, but I will warn you now in case there are any. I'll start with Damian's dreams since his were the first shown. He's the only character to have had multiple dreams in this issue, or from a certain perspective he could have been the sole dreamer. Anyway his first dream sees him with a brother talking about their father, and the Bat-Family as if they were only tools to learn from, overstaying their use. It then showed Damian waking up to finding a robin. I thought this was a nice touch as in Batman, Incorporated Batman and Robin are dealing with Damian's mother Talia al Ghul. It also shows the way he was brought up by her, as she used people to teach Damian new skills, with Damian seeing them as nothing more than tools to learn from. The main thing I liked about Damian's sequence was that the dream he woke up from was a dream in itself. This reminded me of the Christopher Nolan film Inception which had a story that involved characters that would go into a dream, within a dream, within a dream, and so on, similar to the case with Damian waking up into a dream.
Although Damian's dream had more fun in it, Alfred's was the one that I felt showed more emotion. It shows Alfred getting revenge on the Joker, who's attacking the rest of the Bat-Family with a hammer. This gives Alfred a chance to get rid of his frustrations, as he was easily the most affected by Death of the Family, being Joker's captive for most of the story, going through all kinds of hell, so I liked that although he couldn't get back at Joker in real life he could in his dreams.
Bruce's dream was probably the most unique. It shows him creating a paper boat in the sewer for the darkness sail of in, whilst his parents question this. The series showed Batman doing this earlier in the series, so I liked the reference, and it was interesting to see the difference of opinion his parents have. Overall this was the most disappointing dream, as it doesn't really add much to Batman's character, as everyone knows that he still thinks about his parents, and their death constantly. All the same it was nice to see it mentioned, as it gives newer readers a insight (all be it slightly confusing) to Batman's emotions towards his parents.
This was a very different issue, and won't necessarily be to everyone's tastes. I personally loved it and would recommend it to anyone, as due to it's uniqueness it will at least keep you interested, and has a 50% chance of having you also liking it. I hope that the series continues to be as good as this issue, as I know it can be.