This review contains spoilers.
Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason have created an emotional masterpiece. Making this a silent issue was a brilliant choice and allows every panel to truly sink in. Tomasi warmed our hearts with the stunning annual issue... now he's tearing it apart. As comic fans, we all know It's far too often a death in the medium lacks true impact. The thought of them potentially coming back so soon hinders the punch, and seeing the aftermath of a death properly handled is a rare thing. It may be tough to believe, but Damian's demise wasn't the peak of his story. No, it's clearly just the beginning of an even more compelling tale that we'll see unfold in this title for the next five months. We're right there with Wayne as the events of BATMAN, INC #8 cut right to his core. It's beyond touching and, truthfully, a tough reading experience.
Naturally, this gripping read would be nothing without the stunning artwork from Gleason, John Kalisz and Mick Gray. Gleason's highly detailed pencils really hit all of the emotions home. The grinding of Wayne's teeth as he's filled with hatred, the look of shock in his eyes when he sees his son... each expression perfectly conveys these drastic feelings. These stunning images are perfectly complimented by strong use of ink and bold coloring which never takes away from the cold and depressing tone of the issue. Every page is nothing short of grand.
I know having Wayne go through the five stages of grief sounds cheesy to some, but it's only logical. If this issue is a sign of things to come, then I'm fully confident that this team will make excellent use of each stage within the limitations of one issue. That letter is really going to tug at your heartstrings and seeing Wayne lash out is -- like I previously said -- difficult to read. You can even see a change in Titus and that alone makes me want to sob like a child.
Nothing. Insanely powerful from start to finish.
Whaaat? No, I'm not tearing up. There's... there's just something in my eye, that's all. Seriously though, BATMAN AND ROBIN #18 is a huge accomplishment. The impact of death in this medium has certainly been reduced, but this issue defies that belief on every single page. You'll feel Batman's excruciating pain, and that is a truly amazing feat from this creative team.
Once you're done with the issue, take a moment or two to gaze at the image from an older issue below. Try not to shed a tear. Go on, I dare you.