Comic Vine Review

24 Comments

Batman and Robin #22 - Despair Review

4

The Dark Knight's brooding is interrupted by an unlikely ally and his mourning is disrupted by a mischievous well-wisher.

The Good

Peter J. Tomasi continues to take the Dark Knight through the five stages of grief, now onto stage four: despair or depression. We see Carrie Kelly return to stately Wayne Manor as Bruce wakes up to another day. She’s been hired by Alfred to ensure Titus, the family dog, gets enough TLC while Damian is "away," but she seems just as focused on getting in touch with him about his sudden dropping of her class (she knows nothing of the Wayne’s secrets nor that Damian was killed in action as Robin) and agrees to make a deal with Bruce if he puts his son immediately in touch with her in exchange for both a movie she made about Titus as well as an interview she conducted with Damian. While Bruce mulls this over, Catwoman bursts onto the scene, saying her new JLA contacts need her to rescue an American spy being held in a foreign embassy. I absolutely adore how Tomasi writes these characters, but particularly Catwoman. Geoff Johns might nail epic, large-scale dialog, but Tomasi captures her playful mischievousness within two lines of her being on-panel, and it only continues from there. He makes her charming without resorting to hypersexualization, and it’s cool to see her holding her own, but part of that credit is also due to Patrick Gleason’s fantastic pencils.

Mick Gray and John Kalisz are on inks and colors and everything the three of them draws turns to gold. Which makes for easy coloring. But in all seriousness, the characters look great, the action flows naturally from panel-to-panel and page-to-page and the pacing is never broken. There’s a great economy to every image, everything serves a purpose and I couldn’t be happier with how the art turned out, particularly, again, when it comes to Catwoman. The overall plot of the issue becomes extremely tangential and almost unnecessary to how the characters interact with each other, and the ending treads the line on being pure schmaltz, but never crosses it and comes off as genuinely emotional and sentimental.

The Bad

The whole “spy rescue” part of this issue isn’t entirely unnecessary, it’s a great excuse to get Bats and Cats together and out on a mission, but the length of time spent on it, particularly the supervillain throwdown, feels tacked on because someone, whether it be the creative team, the editors, or whoever, felt like the issue “needed” a fight scene. The characters, wearing state-of-the-art armor have their origins mentioned off-handedly and are dispatched with little-to-no effort, creating no real suspense or thrills. They are literally there to fail and take up a few pages and could have just as easily been non-powered for how little they contribute. For a book focussing so much on emotion and character, this felt completely superfluous and I found myself wishing that more interactions either between Batman and Catwoman or Bruce and Carrie had been used on the pages.

The Verdict

Emotions still run high and are plentiful across the book, don’t get me wrong, and I love a good superhero scrap as much as the next fellow, but the one in this feels like wasted potential. It’s a very small part of the book, which IS part of the problem, but it absolutely doesn’t wreck it or make it difficult to recommend. This is one of my favorite entries into this stages of grief storyline and absolutely worth picking up, if for no other reason than the beginning and the ending. There’s also a very interesting tease on the final page that makes me very, very interested in what’s down the road for Batman and his partners.

26 Comments
Posted by Mbecks14

Glad that even without Damian (RIP) this series remains one of the better books DC is putting out. I really like the creative team, they're doing a great job

Edited by manwithoutshame

3.5/5 for me. I want to see what's going on with Two-Face, probably my favorite Batman Villain.

Posted by Sleepbutnodream15

*Flip..."No"

Posted by Sleepbutnodream15

I love how this book handles Damian's death. Every other book moved on from Bruce mourning pretty quickly (which is kind of understandable). With this series, we really get to see Bruce grieve for more than just one month, which gives it a more realistic emotional experience.

Posted by SlickyMike88

Yeah that's a team I would read about , I never cared about Batman and his kid side kicks:P

Posted by Trodorne

I tell you the only issue im going to get is going to be the final part with Nightwing. its the issue ive been waiting for.

Posted by Arkhamc1tizen

@trodorne said:

I tell you the only issue im going to get is going to be the final part with Nightwing. its the issue ive been waiting for.

this.

Posted by CpTait

DC needs this team on Catwoman. Ann Nocenti's work is all over the shop.

Posted by darknightspideyfanboy
Posted by SmoothJammin

@trodorne said:

I tell you the only issue im going to get is going to be the final part with Nightwing. its the issue ive been waiting for.

this.

Most definitely

Posted by Purgatory

I have a really strong feeling that Damian is coming back after Trinity War. All of these "partner" issues in B&R have kept going, but the last one comes out when Trinity War ends.

Plus, there was a piece of promo art that had Pandora in front of a collage of heroes, and one of them was Damian. Why? He's dead.

I don't know. I just think he'll come back to life somehow after TRinity War.

Posted by Denn979

@purgatory: after trinity war, it is called batman and two face

Posted by The Average Bear

I was hoping for a little more affection between Bats and Cat but it seems like she really invited him on her mission to get him out of the cave and to cheer him up

Posted by MasterDetective

jesus, can't she die already??!

Posted by XSpectreGreyX

I liked this issue a whole lot better than the last one. The last one didn't have any progression for Bruce's character, and was centered on Babs, with the story feeling like it belonged in the Batgirl series. This issue was pretty good. The characters played off each other pretty well and Catwoman had a distinctive voice.

Although I do agree about the fight scenes. They're messy, and a waste of pages. Did we really need two pages of silhouettes? They didn't add anything to the story. The main fight I didn't mind, because as you said, it's there to bring the two characters together.

Overall, a good issue, and it's nice to see Bruce starting to move pass raging, because this story was starting to drag. I don't know how this is going to work, but I really hope they do something special for the Nightwing issue. I dunno how they'll get Nightwing out of Chicago for a short term trip without it seeming rushed or weird (hopefully they have Bats visit him), and hopefully he stays there, since I like his current supporting cast and hopefully he gets to, you know, keep them. But Tomasi writes good, quite and heartwarming dialogue, and it'll be nice to see how he writes these two characters.

Edited by Jacobin_Wisdom

@sleepbutnodream15: It's cause everyone else thought the kid was a douche. Only Nightwing, and Batman had close ties to Damian. Nightwing lost the circus to Joker, trust in Batman, and a dear friend/little brother in Damian. So, it's understandable that he would try to move on in life and all.

Batwoman disliked Damian greatly, and made sense she'd feel for Batman but would get over his death quickly. Jason Todd lost his entire memory, which basically nullifies his mourning. Red Robin (Last I checked) has Joker toxin in his body which means he may not be in the frame of mind to even mourn.

So, all the other books have VALID reasons for them to drop the storyline in their own books. In the "Batman and series" Batman has to mourn since it's his son.

Posted by Sleepbutnodream15

@jacobin_wisdom: when I said that, I actually meant that the other books made it seem like Bruce moved on quickly. We didn't get to see him mourn that much, aside from a few panels. In Detective Comics, he seems to move on quickly. And I remember Bruce not being sad in some Batwing (right after David retires and now while Luke Fox is taking over), there were a lot of panels of him smirking and smiling and being smart, even though one of the underlying plot lines of the book is that Bruce is allowing Lucius Fox's son, Luke, right after he lost his own son. It's really not a big deal, I just felt like the death of a son deserved lots of attention, and that's exactly what this series does.

You're absolutely right about why all the other characters aren't mourning though. But did you mean Batgirl when you said Batwoman? And if you did, I can't remember too many scenes of Damian and Batgirl interacting. Stephanie Brown definitely hated him though.

Posted by Jacobin_Wisdom

@sleepbutnodream15: Yea, Barbara is called Batwoman nowadays since she no longer a girl.

Posted by Sleepbutnodream15
Posted by Jacobin_Wisdom

@sleepbutnodream15: Obviously she a girl, like in terms of gender. When I said she no longer a girl, I'm referring to her age not her gender status.

Posted by Sleepbutnodream15

@jacobin_wisdom: haha, I got that. But has anyone OFFICIALLY been calling her Batwoman? I mean we already have another Batwoman in the DCU.

Posted by Jacobin_Wisdom

@sleepbutnodream15: I know we have Kate Kane as Batwoman, and Barbara Gordon as Batgirl but from my understanding Batgirl because at the time she was too young to be called Batwoman. Just been a peeve I had for years.

Posted by coolconnorb

I'm ready for the new Robin.

Posted by dreamfall31

I liked the idea of these issues, but it seems like there's just too much to fit in a normal 2.99 size comic. Each issue has the story part with Carrie, then the action of the mission with the sidekick, then the ending talk with the sidekick. This one especially it seemed like the mission was just action and goes by super fast.