The Easy Way Out?
Very little needs to be said about this issue, and therein lies the crux of my feelings. I'm torn on how I feel about this issue. The whole 'silent issue' thing for Damian's death was intense and moving and all; but is it REALLY because of the talents of Tomasi and Gleason, or is it just because I care so much about Damian? The entire issue revolves around Batman either reminiscing about Damian as he goes through his routine and sees reminders of him, or Batman being extra violent and angry at the world. Damian's death was powerful, but is this issue really so strong on it's own, or is it just riding the coattails of intensity from the mere fact of the character's death? I honestly can't tell, but you have to admit, I'm betting nearly every single reader went into this issue expecting exactly what they got. And sure, that's not always a bad thing, but there's a nagging sense of hollowness in my head. The entire issue and it's silent tone feels almost mandatory. This is the kind of issue you need after a death like that. And sure, while you read it, you feel things. I cried, pretty hard actually, but was I crying because of what I was reading, or was it because I was simply, like Batman, recalling all the moments they shared, all the character development and everything? Other Requiem issues used more unique methods to show the remorse, most notably was Nightwing and the video game, but this one plays things purely by the book, not straying a single step from the basic displays of superhero mourning.
In Conclusion: ...
Critical Analysis Score: 3/5
Pure Reactionary Score: 5/5
Don't get me wrong, you NEED to get this issue if you care at all about Damian. It is THE most emotionally visceral and raw of the Requiem issues, but something deep in the core of my critic's soul gnaws inexorably at me, compelling me to explore this question. This issue begs a question of it's own quality, and almost strives to point out it's own possible flaws. Fundamentally, the point is this, Is a silent issue the easy way out in writing superhero grief? It can be hard to properly pull of such intense emotion like this, but I think it's finding the right words and the right balance that trips people up. A silent issue IS a good idea, but it exudes just the slightest whiff of desperation. Is it possible that Tomasi just couldn't find the words to sum up such intensity? I can't say for sure, which is why I can't give this issue a definitive score. But, as much as I question whether or not the writing was truly quality, I cannot deny that a big factor in the emotional impact was Gleason's artwork. That REALLY drove the point home, there's no doubt in my mind whether or not the quality of the artwork was a factor in my experience.