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Batman and Robin #33 - Robin Rises: Cold Justice Review

4

Batman’s wants clash with the Justice League’s needs. Can a compromise be reached?

The Good

Superheroes fight one another. It’s to the point, now, that it’s been commented on almost to death by both characters and creators, yet it STILL seems to happen rather frequently in the pages of comics. Whether it be over a misunderstanding or a disagreement, even accidents every now and again, superpowered people throw down quite frequently. Another one is implied in this issue, that’s what I went in expecting, and that’s why I’m actually fairly amused and a little bit grateful that Peter J. Tomasi decided to throw us a curveball. This issue’s got a lot of characters crammed into almost every single panel, but somehow it never feels overcrowded (more on that below), and each character gets to say their piece and get their moment. Everyone who’s shown up is there for a reason, even if it’s just to further develop their character and better yet: when things do escalate, they’re brought down logically and with internal consistency rather than simply devolving into a ridiculous brawl. There’s even a scene between Batman and Superman that’s some of the most heartfelt character moments since Damian first died.

Patrick Gleason is on pencils and, as per usual, does outstanding work. I don’t know how someone who draws as much fine, minute detail as this guy does puts out his work as quickly and consistently, but there it is: the characters are all incredibly distinct and nobody will be confusing them for one another anytime soon, but the real wonder is in the even smaller details. Most specifically: the tension. Tension’s a hard thing to express visually in a static medium, but almost every page of the first half of this issue shows perfectly how everyone is just coiled, waiting to see what happens next. Mick Gray’s inks capture and express this feeling of tightness perfectly, bringing out a sharp, vibrant edge to the meetings, giving each character their own striking visual language. The colors, by John Kalisz, highlight the darkness inherent in this entire tale as well as the shadowy nature of the events transpiring. Even though a great deal of it is bright, or at least takes place somewhere bright, there’s a pervasive darkness both externally and internally that both the writing and visuals communicate.

The Bad

There’s some wheel spinning that goes on here. I’m ultimately happy that things resolved the way they did, but it made the first half of the book seem overlong for what wound up happening as a result of everything that was discussed. While we do get some incredible visuals out of it, a lot of this issue felt like further recapping and characters remaining static. We know, or should know, who these people are and that they’re not likely to be deeply involved in the rest of the storyline, so focusing so much on them feels unnecessary.

The Verdict

Between the amazing visuals and somewhat novel presentation of a well-worn trope, as well as the continuation of a genuinely interesting story, this is still an issue worth reading, whether you’re following Robin Rises closely, or just a fan of the Bat-family. If you haven’t picked up the previous issue in the storyline, I’d actually say it’s not entirely necessary as this book does well standing on its own, or at least as a continuation of ISSUE #32. Either way, it’s well worth picking up.

41 Comments
Posted by asjmooney

Great issue. I've bought all the available trades of this after picking up Robin Rises Omega and can't wait to get through the whole run. Love how everyone keeps telling Shazam to shut up

Posted by Saren

You have to wonder why the League would build a suit designed by a man who seems to enjoy punching them so often.

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Posted by dondave

That Hellbat armour looked freaking awesome

Edited by JoshuaDBr

I'm curious, isn't one of Captain Marvel/Shazam's powers supposed to be wisdom? Why doesn't the writer ever use that? I mean, why doesn't any writer ever use that?

Posted by redwingx

I'm curious, isn't one of Captain Marvel/Shazam's powers supposed to be wisdom? Why doesn't the writer ever use that? I mean, why doesn't any writer ever use that?

Why does Superman need JLA when he can stop most threats by himself.

Posted by Superguy1591

@joshuadbr: Billy's too immature to get a mastery of all his powers. That's wh Superman still beats him in a fight.

Edited by micah

@joshuadbr: Billy's too immature to get a mastery of all his powers. That's why Superman still beats him in a fight.

Exactly, during Trinity War he briefly overpowered Superman and instead of capitalizing on that, he decided to have a fanboy moment LOL.

Posted by dondave

I'm curious, isn't one of Captain Marvel/Shazam's powers supposed to be wisdom? Why doesn't the writer ever use that? I mean, why doesn't any writer ever use that?

He's still Billy even when he becomes Shazam. Pre-52 he seemed to grow up mentally when he became Captain Marvel, in the New 52 he retains his normal personality while he's Shazam.

Edited by ShadowHuntR

@micah: Overpowered Superman with a sucker punch...

Posted by micah

@micah: Overpowered Superman with a sucker punch...

True, but it was still effective LOL.

Posted by Jyger85

I love how at the end, Jason, Barbara, and Tim are all waiting and all ready to help out. You get the feeling like, no matter what they've been through the past year, be it their own issues or with each other, all Bruce has to do is call them up and say "Damian's on Apokolips. We're getting him back" and they all came without question.

Posted by BruceWayne19

Loved it so much, and the hell bat!!! Awesome, and the whole bat family might be going to apokolypse, yea this is going to be awesome

Posted by HushoftheWind

My body is ready for he Hell Bat to raise Hell.

Posted by SmashBrawler

Sigh.

Posted by noj

@joshuadbr: The S.H.A.Z.A.M powers and traits arent part of Shazams power set anymore. In the New 52 he simply got his powers from the Wizard, the things like the wisdom of Solomon werent specified. He's still Billy when hes Shazam he doesnt have a different personality.

Posted by Tikbaz

Hmmmm. I wonder what the capabilities and stats are for the Hell Bat Armor. Is it lesser than, equal to, or greater than the armor he wore in Court Of The Owls? Is it more or less advanced than Batwings armor, or the Beyond Batsuit? Can it contend with the Insider Suit; or is this more akin to the Kingdom Come bat suit?

Surely it's not Batman One Million level, but maybe Ironman Bleeding Edge level, minus the whole suit resides inside the user thing. I don't know, I'm just spitballing ideas...

Pretty good issue. The Clark/Bruce scene was well done, and I appreciated the Aquaman comment to Shazam that Batman might teach him a thing or two. Also, Batfamily hijinks ensue!

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Posted by comedy_brosUSA

this issue was awesome. omega was amazing. so I'm pumped. this is gonna be great!

Edited by JoshuaDBr

@redwingx: Good point. Especially since with his super speed, Superman can read all the medical textbooks in a matter of seconds. And since he can do that and he can bench press the weight of the Earth for days on end, he should be able beat any of the villains that he fights normally, easily

Edited by JoshuaDBr

@dondave: oh, that makes a lot of sense. Thanks.

and @noj: So that power set isn't necessarily in the New 52? I haven't read any old Captain Marvel books, so that change doesn't bother me. Actually I'm curious, since I think I saw him appear a pool table in one of the new books, and I don't think that's included in that power set.

Posted by Justthatkid

Wonder what they're saving the Hell Bat armour for and what it's capable for so much interest.

Love the dialogue in this and character interactions.

Love that Aquaman points out to Billy that he isn't a founding member quite ironic given current stuff.

Posted by Benk111

The justice league where a bunch of douches to batman in this issue.

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Posted by Jayc1324

I cannot wait to see all these guys on Apokolips!!

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Posted by Mrfuzzynutz

I have not read this yet, but if there is more batman punching JLA members in the face in a fit of rage again...I am in! Cyborg next...cyborg next haha

Edited by feedonatreefrog

Great issue.

Gleason is such a great visual storyteller.

And am I the only one who wants to see these guys tackle the main Justice League book after Johns?

Posted by entropy_aegis

Hellbat here we come.

Great issue.

Gleason is such a great visual storyteller.

And am I the only one who wants to see these guys tackle the main Justice League book after Johns?

Yeah I hope they replace Johns ASAP.

Posted by feedonatreefrog

@entropy_aegis: I'm really digging Johns' post Forever Evil Justice League so far. Shazam's Ping-Pong table = 5/5 stars.

Posted by MuyJingo

@redwingx said:

@joshuadbr said:

I'm curious, isn't one of Captain Marvel/Shazam's powers supposed to be wisdom? Why doesn't the writer ever use that? I mean, why doesn't any writer ever use that?

Why does Superman need JLA when he can stop most threats by himself.

He can't. Or, shouldn't be able to, not when the threats are well written.

Posted by ShadowHuntR

@justthatkid: It looks like New 52 version of the Insider suit.

Looks like every members of the JL gave part of their powers to it. Flash used the speed force, Hal his willpower, Superman the sun, Wonder Woman got help from Hephaestus, etc...

Posted by Justthatkid

@shadowhuntr: Im aware of the durability aspect of the suit I'm abit confused on the willpower aspect and speedforce use into it, maybe it's so it could survive the intense amount of speed in the speedforce. Curious to the tech aspect that Cyborg put in to it or if it has a magical side thanks to Hephaestus @benk111: Hardly they knew there friend was hurt and the fact that they created the Hell bat armour shows that they don't have confidence in his survival. They also don't want Batman bringing Darkseid to earth, which Batman is threatening for one person.

Edited by ShadowHuntR

@benk111: I'm pretty sure most of them don't even know Damian is his son. Wonder Woman and Superman know because they are close friends. But for the rest? I doubt so.

Posted by Koays

I liked the fact that they didnt just shrug and move on from the Justice League plot. These are people he's been friends with for years and yet he can't turn to them in this moment of crisis because their friendship was built on a responsibility to the world and they won't let him go alone because he'll even in danger himself. And the ending sort of solidify's the idea that since he can't turn to his friends he'll have to look to his family.

Also can't wait for the Hellbat vs Outsider Suit wars to begin.

Edited by Justthatkid

@benk111: I'm pretty sure most of them don't even know Damian is his son. Wonder Woman and Superman know because they are close friends. But for the rest? I doubt so.

Lex Luther knows Batman's identity meaning he did his homework so he knows who Damian is

Cyborg is connected and has information on everyone whose on the database so I'm sure he knows who Damian is whether he wants to or not.

Its shown here that both Arthur and Diana know

Sidenotes:

Note 1: Aquaman is a ahole in this issue since he knows and practically admitted he would do the same thing if it was Mera

Note 2: Wonder Woman did the same hing when Graves took Trevor..

Note 3: Thats a disgusting looking amazonian..

The only person on the team who probably doesn't know who Damian is, is Shazam.

Posted by ShadowHuntR

@justthatkid: I agree. But remember that Batman was able to hide things from Cyborg. Even if Lex knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne, it doesn't mean that he knew Robin's real identity.

Posted by Benk111

I also thought they where to quick to resort to violence and where belittling him because he doesn't have powers

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Posted by justice teen

@tikbaz: I know nothing about batman one million, but it was made with the assistance of every single league member, so it must be on its own level.

Posted by Primebonnick

shocked supes didn't say ok lets go to Apocalypse and get your boy back. Then i remembered oh yea batman title he has to shine more lol i like it though.

Posted by Brione

Great issue.

Gleason is such a great visual storyteller.

And am I the only one who wants to see these guys tackle the main Justice League book after Johns?

I was going to say almost the same thing. I don't want to see Johns off of JL but when he does leave it'd be cool if Tomasi takes over. Tomasi should definitely take over Batman/Superman from Pak. That one scene between Bruce and Clark is better than anything that's been in B/S yet.

Posted by Brione

shocked supes didn't say ok lets go to Apocalypse and get your boy back. Then i remembered oh yea batman title he has to shine more lol i like it though.

Yeah I thought Supes was going with him to Apokolips and we were going to get a good old fashion Batman Superman team up. But I'm cool with the Bat-Family going instead I just wish Dick was there.

Edited by Primebonnick

@brione: truth but we can all understand why Dick couldn't be there.

Edited by Brione

@brione: truth but we can all understand why Dick couldn't be there.

Yeah definitely. I like the direction change with Grayson but I would have liked for the Bat-Family to know that he's alive or at least let Alfred know but I know they'll find out eventually.