Batman and Robin #18
Everybody get your tissue boxes ready because Peter J. Tomasi (former editor of Hitman and current writer for Batman and Robin and Green Lantern Corps) and Patrick Gleason (former artist for Robin and cover artist for Arkham City: End Game and current penciler for Batman and Robin) are about to unleash some serious emotional devastation on us. The team that has manged to put more heart into their issues than most other Batman series combined will now have the mother of all potential heart breakers, the death of Damian Wayne, the Bat Brat who went from budding psychopath to a hero with a heart. In the wake of Damian being sliced and diced by his own quasi-brother, Tomasi and Gleason have promised a completely silent issue dealing with the loss of Damian and I expect great things. Does this issue deliver a gripping memorial for Damian, or is this just another Batman story with a cheap gimmick?
To see this review with images, Click Here.
In this issue, Batman lives in a haze of pain and motion as he strives to accept the death of his son.
Is It Awesome?
Yeah, it's awesome. This is one of those issues where I feel like a lot will be lost if I analyze it too deeply because I do not want to limit the emotional impact of scenes by giving them away early. Also, the story speaks for itself and there is no dialogue to unpack, so this might be a brief review, but I will go ahead an share some thoughts.
The story starts off by digging at your heart, and it does not really let up except for a brief period in the middle where it seems to devolve into a more typical Batman story, yet after finishing the story, I now realize that the brief typical moment was a necessary middle point to reach the emotional impact of the climax. I cannot describe more than that without giving things away.
Also, let me say that the art in this issue is excellent. Even if the images did not go together to tell a story, the individual panels would make it worth buying the comic just for the superb and moody art.
Spoilers until Conclusion I don't feel right ruining anything in this issue, so you should really just read it before reading my review.
1. I am not crazy about the cover to this issue. At first, I thought it was completely generic until I realized that it was the fact that it was missing Robin that made it significant. The darkness of Batman's cape covering most of the cover serves to heighten the lack of his son, but still, it feels pretty basic.
2. Gleason gives us a nice first panel with Bruce staring into the fire. Who hasn't stared at a roaring fire at some point and pondered life's woes?
3. The title for this issue is Undone. Perhaps it is just my Bible belt roots showing, but I think this is a Biblical reference from Isaiah 6:5 which seems fitting for the story. (at least out of context) “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;”
4. Bruce looks through Damian's sketch book in this issue, and if I am not mistaken, Damian had, earlier in the series, made some rather violent drawings in his sketch book. In this scene, the sketches are all peaceful. Were those just not the ones Bruce looked at, or is this a sign of Damian finally finding peace towards the end of his life and exorcising that violent imagery from his mind?
5. C.K. Stands for Clark Kent, I would assume. Did we ever see Damian and Superman meet?
6. I do not know if this was intentional, but the panel where Bruce pulls the white sheet over Damian's picture reminded me of Damian's first appearance in Batman and Son with that all white outfit. Regardless of whether it was intentional or not, it was a nice little bookend for Damian's time with Bruce.
7. Seeing Alfred cry is more powerful than seeing Bruce's mourning.
8. I am a bit confused by the blood on the fireman's pole. Was this just supposed to be a reminder that Damian is dead because I find this sort of delusion or vision to be a bit blunt as opposed to all the striking images found in the rest of the issue. My only other thought it that Bruce injured himself on the way down, but Bruce does not appear to be injured, and the blood disappears implying it was a vision.
9. Okay, so there is huge news towards the bottom of page seven, and I am curious if anyone else has caught it. In the second to last panel, there is a Robin costume cut for a girl (tapered waste and larger bust) which does not match any of the previous DCNU or pre-Flashpoint Robin outfits. I checked all the DCNU Robin costumes and this does not jive with them unless one of them had multiple costumes. I even checked Helena's Robin costume, and no match, so whose costume is this? I do not believe for a second that the costume was cut for a boy.
10. I was wondering what happened to the comic cover that was in the earlier March solicits. We find it stuck in the middle of this issue, and it does feel very weird having a cover image in the middle of the story, but that actually works to the issue's advantage since it is conveys Bruce's unstable state of mind.
11. I get that Bruce zoned out and ran over a lighting pole, but this scene really felt like it needed some sort of resolution like Bruce at least getting out of the car or snapping out of his reverie.
12. The three pages following the crash are where I felt like the story began to lag, but again, I now see that this is Bruce trying to get back into the flow of things. He is going through the motions trying to make things okay which sets up for him breaking back at the cave.
13. Everything until the end is simply amazing. I didn't cry, but I did have chills.
Is it perfect? Not quite, but its pretty darn close. Everybody should pick up this issue.
For more news, reviews, and commentary for the entire Bat Family, check out BatWatch.net.