Batman and Robin #1
Written by Peter J. Tomasi; Art and cover by Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray
Sep 16, 2011 Web Exclusive
One of the most-anticipated New 52 titles this week is the new Batman and Robin, which continues the excellent series launched by Grant Morrison. Lapsed Batman fans hoping to jump into this title with a quick introductory story or narration bubble might be left in the dust. Longtime fans will get what they paid for: a dark-yet-garish story starring Batman (Bruce Wayne takes back the mantle from Dick Grayson) and his bratty son, Damian Wayne, as Robin.
Oh man. Damian is still a pain in the ass and I love it. His temperament always reads like a Molotov cocktail of previous Robins. He claims to be "light-years ahead of all the past Robins in skills and training," but his actions are often selfish and brash. When Grayson was Batman, Damian had no respect for him, and told him that he needs to earn it if he wants his respect. Now we see the roles are reversed when Bruce is back. Writer Peter Tomasi (Green Lantern Corps, Nightwing) writes some great actions and dialogue for this father-and-son duo. For example, when Bruce goes to wake up Damian for their nightly patrol of Gotham, he shoots up his fist from the bed sheets as if he's fighting off an attacker. It's a nice character detail for a kid that was raised by Talia Al-Ghul and the League of Assassins.
This debut issue opens with Bruce finding out that Crime Alley, where his parents were murdered, is being bulldozed for condos. He decides to stop grieving their death and start celebrating their life, more specifically their wedding day. It's a good change of pace for a character that seems rejuvenated since his return from the timestream. He's not fooling around, especially when it comes to his unruly son. Their arguments have the potential to grow old very fast. Thankfully, they remain pleasing to read in this issue.
Paul Gleason's (Green Lantern Corps) pencils are a moody mix of realism and cartoony styles. Colorist John Kalisz (Detective Comics, JSA, Hawkman) is a little monochromatic at times. The pivotal scenes really jump off the page, though. The inking from Mick Gray (Hawkman, Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes) is spot-on, especially in scenes involving a new villain called The Nobody. He seems like a baddie that would fit into Morrison's Bat-universe, but he's Tomasi and Gleason's creation. The Nobody is hunting down the Batmen of the world (see: Batman, Inc.). In this issue, an unnamed Russian representative meets a grisly death. Everything seems status quo in Gotham City and yet it's not.
Author rating: 7/10
Average reader rating: 6/10