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Batman and Robin Annual #1 - Batman Impossible Review

5

Damian sends his father on a scavenger hunt to reflect on his earlier days. In turn, this gives Robin the freedom to patrol Gotham by himself.

The Good  

There's still a good chunk of today's new issues I haven't read yet, but I'm confident right now with saying this is my favorite issue this week.  Writer Peter J. Tomasi has crafted a brilliant, emotional and deep look at the father/son relationship between Bruce and Damian while still incorporating plenty of fun action and big laughs.  
 
If you're a fan of Damian Wayne, it's safe to say you'll probably love this issue as much as I did. His superb intellect is on display here as he tricks his father and his arrogant personality is downright adorable at times ("Stupid sun. Go down already."). The small changes in his "Batman" costume reflect him so well -- it's a darker and more brutal look (sharp cleats and spiked knuckles), yet it's still so cute. The rough lettering as he tries to duplicate his father's voice makes me laugh every time and made the scenes really come to life. I'm sure we'll all have a different impression of how he sounds while doing "the voice," but one thing's for sure, it's so entertaining to think about. Virtually every scene with the Boy Wonder is engrossing and it makes me really want an ongoing called "BAT BOY."   
 
The comedic timing here is top-notch. This issue had me laughing out loud frequently and there are so many hysterical moments that'll keep you chuckling (the moment with the driver's seat, for example). Alfred's closing line is almost guaranteed to crack you up as well. 
 
No matter how cold you are, this is an issue that'll warm your heart. Damian's desire to payback his father for everything he's given him is executed in an incredibly moving fashion. The little bits of history might not set off the waterworks, but they sure are touching and will pull at your heartstrings. It was particularly sweet when we're hit with a heavy "like father, like son" moment.  
 
Patrick Gleason has created a signature look for the title, and while I would have loved to see him illustrate this one, I was very satisfied with Ardian Syaf's work. Combined with John Kalisz's coloring, some of the scenes looked fantastic. One moment that really impressed me was a huge collage of Damian taking out assorted thugs during his patrol. That one is sure to keep your eyes glued to it for awhile.

The Bad 

A few of Damian's facial expressions were a little awkward and even creepy, but it's easily overlooked by the fact that the art team overall did a solid job.

The Verdict  

'Death of the Family' has placed such a dark and dreary mood over all of the Bat books. Alfred and Damian's future are definitely uncertain in that event. While this is by no means a bad thing, seeing them at a happier time and the amazingly warming tone of this issue is a very welcome change of pace. BATMAN & ROBIN ANNUAL #1 looks good, is packed with great comedic and action scenes and is by far one of the most heartwarming comics I've read in a long time. I dare to say it's Peter J. Tomasi's best issue in the series. Damian, you're now my favorite DC character.
32 Comments
Posted by Cavemold

agreed. 5/5 hope he keeps the suit

Posted by Mucklefluga

Hmm, may have to pick this one up sounds really really good, especially for Damian fans like me!

Posted by velvetmeds

For someone who doesn't follow Batman and robin, is this still a good purchase? Thinking about getting it since it's a one time thing/full story and sounds so good.

Posted by spinningbirdcake

@velvetmeds: Yeah it is. All you need to know is Damian is Bruce's son. That's really it. I highly recommend it.

Posted by dondave

This is one of best series in the New 52

Posted by k4tzm4n
@Mucklefluga said:

Hmm, may have to pick this one up sounds really really good, especially for Damian fans like me!

It's a must read for Damian fans. 
 
@velvetmeds said:

For someone who doesn't follow Batman and robin, is this still a good purchase? Thinking about getting it since it's a one time thing/full story and sounds so good.

Absolutely! It's a wonderful self-contained story.
Posted by BatWatch

I'm with you 100%. This is by far the funniest issue of any comic I have read in many months, and while delivering this, it managed to be serious, action packed, and heart warming at the same time. You can't ask for more than that.

The BatWatch Review is up.

Posted by Dark_Vengeance_

If you are not a Damian fan, you will become one after this issue.

Posted by jsphsmth

I have a love/hate relationship with Tomasi's work on B&R. I loved Nobody and Night of Owls but hated Devoured and Terminus.

Regardless, it is a huge improvement over Moronison's work on the previous volume.

Edited by VaizD

I could not read this issue without thinking about this constantly;

Re-read the issue with this video in your head, and enjoy.

Also, this is an absolutely wonderful issue. This is one of the first books I've read where Bruce and Damian really appear to be father and son in their parallels. Seeing Bruce be Bruce with Alfred and his playful reactions to Alfred's comments is a welcome break from the normal brooding batsy routine, and the exuberance with which Damian throws himself in to the Batman mantle is fun as hell to watch. In a way, this issue puts that much more weight on the end of Death of the Family, because if either Alfred or Damian gets their ticket punched, they'll be sorely missed as characters.

Posted by Onemoreposter

This was indeed fantastic. Tomasi continues to impress.

Posted by ThatGuyWithHeadPhones

Everytime I saw rough lettering I just Imagine a 10 year old doing Bale's voice.

Posted by longbowhunter

Easily the best New 52 annual. Worth every penny of the $5 it cost me. I usually dread annuals. Steep price and very little substance. This was a great stand alone story unlike any other Bat book you'll read this week. It was pretty to look at too.

Posted by SmoothJammin

I wish I could hug Damian in this issue. If anything happens to him after this I actually think I'll get emotional. Damn. Never felt this way about a character to be honest. It's no wonder Tomasi is one of my favorite writers

Edited by benette_rivera

Damian is slowly becoming one of the best characters out there. From being the most hated robin to now. Man, Gleason really did well in developing Damian's character. Also, that costume is his own bat costume during batman 666 right? :)

Posted by entropy_aegis

For those looking for similar Damian stories I'd also recommend Superman/Batman #77 and Batgirl #17(Stephanie Brown),Streets of Gotham #10 and 11 are pretty cool too.

Posted by Reignmaker

Agh...this is making it hard for me. For a while there I was considering picking up Johns' new JLA series, but Tomasi appears to be killing it on this title - and I've always loved my Batman with some Robin.

Posted by Booster_Bronze

I actually prefer the way Damian is drawn here to the regular style: Usually, he looks so pouty and petulant. Here, he looks like an actual human being with emotions. Plus, it's nice to have a Bat title that isn't all doom and gloom and yet isn't too "Kiddy-ish" at the same time.

P.S. More Titus plz. He isn't Ace, but he'll do.

Posted by cobra88king8

I'm getting really nervous for Damien's future. They keep having these wonderful Father/Son moments between him and Bruce and I can't help but feel something tragic could be just around the corner

Posted by Kangaxx_54

This is just such a wonderful comic. Worth every cent and more. I haven't read the latest B&R (waiting for trades) but that wasn't a problem at all. It can stand on its own perfectly.

Now I'm just crossing my fingers very, very hard that Damian (and Alfred) survives Death of the Family.

Posted by JakeN7

@BatWatch said:

I'm with you 100%. This is by far the funniest issue of any comic I have read in many months, and while delivering this, it managed to be serious, action packed, and heart warming at the same time. You can't ask for more than that.

The BatWatch Review is up.

Perfectly stated. I couldn't stop smiling throughout the entire issue. One thing I did not expect was the hilarious banter between Alfred and Bruce (especially on that last page.) I could write forever about how much I loved this book. Even though we are so early into the year, I'm pretty confident that I will look back on this issue as one of my favorites in 2013. The New 52 Batgirl art team knocked it out of the park and fit the tone perfectly. I did not expect the dystopian future Damian as Batman's suit to be adopted in any sort of way in the present, but I love the suit and hope it sticks around in at least some capacity.

Loved this book so much! 6/5 stars!

Online
Posted by mbembet

Damian is the greatest robin

Posted by Dark_Vengeance_

@mbembet said:

Damian is the greatest robin

agreed

Posted by KnightofSteel

This was wonderful. This shows how great of a writer Peter Tomasi is, he has a knack for really "getting" characters. I've really noticed this in some other past books/series he's written -- one solid DC superhero writer.

Posted by SmashBrawler

I stopped reading B&R sometime ago, but I bought this anyway. It definitely didn't disappoint.

Posted by BatWatch

@JakeN7 said:

@BatWatch said:

I'm with you 100%. This is by far the funniest issue of any comic I have read in many months, and while delivering this, it managed to be serious, action packed, and heart warming at the same time. You can't ask for more than that.

The BatWatch Review is up.

Perfectly stated. I couldn't stop smiling throughout the entire issue. One thing I did not expect was the hilarious banter between Alfred and Bruce (especially on that last page.) I could write forever about how much I loved this book. Even though we are so early into the year, I'm pretty confident that I will look back on this issue as one of my favorites in 2013. The New 52 Batgirl art team knocked it out of the park and fit the tone perfectly. I did not expect the dystopian future Damian as Batman's suit to be adopted in any sort of way in the present, but I love the suit and hope it sticks around in at least some capacity.

Loved this book so much! 6/5 stars!

I'm with you. I'll have to add a new ranking system just for this issue. 11/10. (grins)@SmashBrawler said:

I stopped reading B&R sometime ago, but I bought this anyway. It definitely didn't disappoint.

The Death of the Family crossover, though not nearly as good as this issue, is also worth reading if you want to give Batman and Robin another try.

Posted by Xorion

I hope this isn't one of those stories that makes you love a character before they kill the character

Posted by KnightRise

@cobra88king8 said:

I'm getting really nervous for Damien's future. They keep having these wonderful Father/Son moments between him and Bruce and I can't help but feel something tragic could be just around the corner

DON'T SAY THAT!!!!! EVERYTHING IS PERFECT AND DAMIAN IS ADORABLE!!!!

Posted by SmashBrawler

@BatWatch said:

@SmashBrawler said:

I stopped reading B&R sometime ago, but I bought this anyway. It definitely didn't disappoint.

The Death of the Family crossover, though not nearly as good as this issue, is also worth reading if you want to give Batman and Robin another try.

Hrmm... I've considered going back to B&R a few times now, but I'm buying too much stuff at the moment and I'm going to need more than two good tie-in issues before being fully convinced.

Posted by BatWatch

@SmashBrawler: I don't blame you. I'm spending more on comics that I really want to right now anyway.

Posted by DocFishstick

i loved this story. what a great read.

Posted by AquaJustice

This has too be one of the best annuals i have read in a while. The connection that Bruce and Damian have in this is fun and shows a side if Damian that I haven't seen. Damian in his Batman costume is pretty cool and has some style too it. He was so eager too go out and do his own thing. You could see the excitement and fun in this issue. Anyone that has read any of the Batman books should check this one out.