Batman and Robin have a brief father-son bonding moment before hurricane Joker hits in upcoming issues. Also, zombies.
A nice bonding moment
Tomasi gives us a much more likeable Damian Wayne
Two artists, two styles
BATMAN AND ROBIN #13
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason & Tomas Giorello
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Colorist: John Kalisz
Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Publisher: DC Comics Inc.
Cover Price: $2.99
Previously in Batman and Robin: From his birth to his time as Robin, it was revealed that his life was filled with nothing but training and combating Talia al-Ghul every time he had a birthday. Needless to say, Damian’s relationship with his mother was complicated.
D’AWWW, FATHER-SON TIME!
In this particular book, Batman and Robin have a bonding moment while viewing a solar eclipse in preparation for the inevitable loonies that will be stalking Gotham city. Shortly after, Damian goes and investigates a number of abductions taking place within the city while Batman goes to investigate some grave robberies. Bruce tells him to come back to base due to the bounty placed on Robin’s head, but of course he disobeys.
Damian has been a generally unlikeable little snot up to this point. He’s rude and feels he’s entitled. He’s always tried to assert his dominance over all the other Robins and isn’t afraid to verbally cut where it hurts. Here, though, Tomasi gives us a much more likeable Damian Wayne. In the first seven pages we see Damian as a very human little boy, having fallen asleep while studying what he can about the Joker. There also seems to be some genuine fear in the dialogue between Bruce and his son when, startled awake, he asks if the Joker has come. Then, he shares a moment with his father where he asks if Bruce ever really loved his mother. Bruce also lets him take the reins on fixing the satellites at their command, metaphorically passing the torch, even going so far as to say Damian needs to know how to operate the equipment “in case something ever happens to me.”
What is really appreciated from Tomasi is that he did show a glimpse of a Damian as exactly what he is: a little boy, prone to moments of fear and love for both his mother and his father. A homicidal and disturbed little boy, but a little boy nonetheless.
THE AMAZING AGING ROBIN!
The artists don’t seem to jive together very well. There is a very visible change in artist between page 15 and 16. Normally, artists do fairly well together and when they change up to tackle the latter half of a book, it’s not terribly noticeable, but Gleason’s art is very different than Giorello’s. We see a very cleanly illustrated and youthful looking Damian Wayne during Gleason’s penciling, them a much older looking and sketched Damian when Giorello’s picks up. The artists don’t work we’ll together in this particular book just because their styles are very different from each other. While, on a personal level, Gleason’s work is a little more suitable for this series, neither one is really better than the other, just very different, too different to goes halvsies on a comic.
Perhaps it’s just because the inker is different, but the dark and heavy coloring of Gleason’s portion of the book suits the story much better. It’s maybe be just because Gleason has taken point for much of the series but the sudden change is a little jarring and left the book feeling visually a bit odd.
BOTTOM LINE: FOR ONCE, I DON’T HATE DAMIAN WAYNE
This is a really nice book that presents Damian Wayne from a different point of view. It’s refreshing to see him vulnerable, a kid, instead of the cocky brat he’s usually presented as. The art is visually mismatched. Whether that’s because of a miscommunication between the artists or just a bad pairing between the two is hard to tell, but it doesn’t gel like it should. The art styles aren’t bad, just too different from each other to be in the same book. Pick it up if you like the Bruce and Damian Wayne dynamic.