Damian: Son of Batman #4

Posted by Undeadpool (532 posts) - - Show Bio

The Good

The art in this book, courtesy of Andy Kubert’s linework and Brad Anderson’s colors, is a feast for the eyes. The character designs for both villains and Batman are creative and bizarre, reflecting a Gotham that's only become stranger as time has gone on. The action, which is most of what this book is, is some of the most hard-hitting absolutely vicious I've seen all week. It's interesting how the various people who wear the cowel are defined by their fighting style. We're, of course, familiar with the precision of Bruce Wayne, we glimpsed the violent grace of Dick Grayson, but Damian is a barely contained maelstrom of blades and strikes. His upbringing by the League of Assassins has clearly not been fully forgotten as we see blood splashing and splattering across every page and panel. There's something almost decadent about this title's willingness to go darker than most other books under the DC banner, and there's a certain shocking catharsis from how the art is presented.

The colors, likewise, compliment this action, painting everything with a dark moodiness that beautifully contrasts the horrific imagery on nearly every page. It certainly doesn't make it more "realistic," but I don't think that's what the book is or should be going for. It gives it a stylized beauty that makes what's happening more palatable, but never allows the viewer to fully turn away from it. The colors commit to the darkness of this universe and give it a kind of stark, grim beauty.

The Bad

The writing, also provided by Kubert, for this series has been on a fairly steady uptick after a so-so offering from the first issue. That, unfortunately, does not hold out for this final issue as we backslide into unnecessarily long exposition (and not plot exposition, inner monologues that explain what's going on in the panel) and far, far too many unanswered questions. We left last issue on a huge cliffhanger of the Jackanapes being commanded by a sort of "imposter" Joker, but this issue gives us absolutely no insight into who this person is. Damian even remarks on "wanting to hear this guy's story some day," but why wait? Who is this person? All they ever say is that as Damian is to Bruce, he is to Joker. This would all be well and good, but we get a reveal halfway through the issue that completely invalidates everything that happened previously and ensures that, even were we to learn his identity at a later time, it would ring completely hollow.

There's also no escaping it: this book should have been five issues rather than four. The first half of this issue feels unnecessarily abrupt, but the second half feels like it takes place in another issue entirely. The denouement is weak, we never get any kind of satisfactory answer on what, exactly, happens to Bruce Wayne and the ending, which should be a moment of incredible, rising triumph, feels bogged down and empty by what comes directly before it. The issue feels like two halves of two issues sandwiched together, creating a feeling of incredible dissonance. While the visuals are stunning and extremely creative, they feel disconnected, like a series of separate panels that had dialog added after the fact. There's also always a level of suspension of disbelief between the amount of violence Batman (in any form) inflicts upon people and the fact that he "doesn't kill," but this book takes that to a ridiculous level, having one villain at a certain point almost literally eviscerated, but not killed.

The Verdict

It's unfortunate that this book had been so steadily improving only to snag on this final issue. The visuals are still stunning and any page would make a worthy addition to any collection, but the dialog and storyline seem to have been a distant second priority because it descends into nonsense and unearned twists with teases that never pay off. It never reaches to total madness of something like Batman: Odyssey, but it comes off very much as a book that should be purchased for visuals over story content. The visuals still make it worth checking out, but that comes with a pretty giant IF.

Staff
#1 Posted by SmashBrawler (5508 posts) - - Show Bio

Oh my God, this book was sooooo bad. Andy Kubert can draw whatever he wishes but please don't let him write anything else ever again.

#2 Edited by ArturoCalaKayVee (11154 posts) - - Show Bio

I didn't MIND this mini series because I enjoy Damien as Batman but after reading this from start to finish, I have to ask…what was the point of this series? Was it to show us how Damien would have become Batman? Maybe I'm missing something, I don't know. But regardless, good review Cory.

#3 Edited by ptigrusmagus (483 posts) - - Show Bio

What a missed opportunity to use Damian for something interesting

#4 Posted by bladewolf (614 posts) - - Show Bio

IMHO it's been getting worse and worse with each issue. I actually stuck with it because the writing is so bad it made me laugh. At least the art has been amazing!

#5 Posted by lifeofvibe (3430 posts) - - Show Bio

This reminds me of red hood lost days just its for Damien instead

#6 Posted by CantDance93 (341 posts) - - Show Bio

I did good by not picking this series up :)

#7 Posted by Caladorcp (67 posts) - - Show Bio

Wow...I'm in the minority here, obviously, but I liked it. I'd like to see another mini expanding upon it.

#8 Posted by ZbvmX (228 posts) - - Show Bio

I haven't read it yet, but is the writing that bad? :P So sad, 'coz Andy is really killing it on the visuals (and I mean really murdering it in cold blood). I'll comment again once I'm done with the 4th book.

(But that costume tho! Hoping for more Damian as Batman books in the future. If they -the future creative team|person- mess up, they should just keep trying and I'll keep buying. lol)

#9 Posted by Onemoreposter (3955 posts) - - Show Bio

This book is beautifully illustrated and horribly written. Sorry Kubert, I love you anyways.

HOWEVER, I don't think this is comparable to Batman: Odyssey. I mean, the story wasn't the greatest, but the writing wasn't THIS bad. Plus, Neal Adams, gets a few more points on the iconic scale than this particular Kubert does ;)

#10 Edited by BatChabi (2 posts) - - Show Bio

This reminds me of red hood lost days just its for Damien instead

Come on ! "Lost Days" wasn't that bad (except for this MILF-thing with Talia... seriously, I'm still waiting for a awkward conversation between Jason and Damian, or even Bruce, about it).

But for this "Damian : Son of Batman", yeah, all my expectations were ruined.

#11 Posted by Caladorcp (67 posts) - - Show Bio

@zbvmx said:

I haven't read it yet, but is the writing that bad? :P So sad, 'coz Andy is really killing it on the visuals (and I mean really murdering it in cold blood). I'll comment again once I'm done with the 4th book.

(But that costume tho! Hoping for more Damian as Batman books in the future. If they -the future creative team|person- mess up, they should just keep trying and I'll keep buying. lol)

I thought it was as good as the last issue honestly (which got 4 stars...). But I'm obviously in the minority here. I usually come to ComicVine because they usually share similar opinions with me, (so if they review something I haven't read, I can usually trust what they say and make a decision to buy or not) but this is one of the few times I get to say "I disagree entirely."

Oh well...everyone's entitled to their own opinion.

#12 Posted by trackstar352 (26 posts) - - Show Bio

I didn't MIND this mini series because I enjoy Damien as Batman but after reading this from start to finish, I have to ask…what was the point of this series? Was it to show us how Damien would have become Batman? Maybe I'm missing something, I don't know. But regardless, good review Cory.

i couldnt agree more, seems so pointless

#13 Edited by detective38 (173 posts) - - Show Bio

One of the worst mini series ive ever read. If anyone was going to have written this it shouldve been morrison

#14 Edited by Guerraa (28 posts) - - Show Bio

They're clearly setting up for something down the road. It's called patience. Wish comic book fans had more of it. Why does EVERY single question you have always have to be answered immediately? I enjoy some of the suspense and don't mind using my own imagination to fill in blanks (ie: what happened with Bruce afterwards). Leaves me wanting more and looking forward to what comes next. I agree this should have been 5 or even 6 issues, but I still overall like it. 4 stars in my opinion.

#15 Posted by mickeymayhew (203 posts) - - Show Bio

they never even explained who the cat was!

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