Batman and Robin #36 has Batman tearing apart Apokalips in search of Damian and three other Robins are also present to help their patriarch out.
BATMAN AND ROBIN #36
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Inker: Mick Gray
Colourist: John Kalisz
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price $3.99
Previously in Batman and Robin #35: “Robin Rises” continues! Batman begins his trek on Apokolips to recover his son’s body. But will he walk alone?
AN ARMY OF ROBINS
There’s a trope in contemporary Batman stories of having Bruce get worked up to the point where suddenly Batman is the man and Bruce Wayne is the mask. Peter J. Tomasi carefully skirts that in Batman and Robin #36 while at the same time managing to display believable emotion on the page.
Batman and Robin #36 opens with Batman on Apokalips refusing to suffer the foolishness of Glorious Godfrey and his violence toward Godfrey sets the tone of his actions for the rest of the issue. Tomasi hits Bruce’s paternal grief right on the nose in a way that feels honest, even set against the backdrop of Darkseid and Apokalips.
The best thing Tomasi does as far as keeping the narrative focused on the Batfamily element by having Batgirl, Red Hood and Red Robin all appear wearing classic Robin inspired armour. The one thing really missing from their Robin-team is the presence of original sidekick Dick Grayson, but since he’s busy being a secret agent that was obviously out of the question. Tomasi even manages to throw in some surprising humour in regards to the characters of Robin and the pivotal role that he plays in relation to Batman by having Batman compliment Barbara, Jason and Tim’s armour design and Jason tries to take credit for the choice.
Even Titus appears in Batman and Robin #36 and, while it does feel a bit out of place when you pause to think about it, having the Bathound present in the search for Damian is actually pretty cool. Titus gives warning of an attack heading for the Robins and later on in the issue is the one to discover where Damian – or whatever is left of him – is located. Yes, it’s a truism that dog is man’s best friend and Titus proves himself more than up to the task.
Further to Tomasi’s use of the Jason, Barbara and Tim: by the time Batman meets up with the Robin in Batman and Robin #36 he is in full berserker rage. While it is epic to behold in his battle against the minions of Kalibak (and, by association, the minions of Darkseid), as he makes his way ever closer to the heart of Apokalips seeing three of his other children tempers Bruce. Tomasi allows the man to take a brief – brief – step back in order to re-evaluate and ensure that he is taking advantage of the situation and not the other way around.
While a Batman and Robin story set in Apokalips is not necessarily what I am looking for, Peter J. Tomasi proves himself as one of the most adept Batman writers we have. He keeps the story focused on the emotional current and plays on the relationships between Bruce Wayne, Jason Todd, Barbara Gordon and Tim Drake. Batman and Robin #36 is a solid issue with a few jokes that is heralding an explosive upcoming issue.
GOOD LOOKING ROBINS
As far as I’m concerned Patrick Gleason can and should draw every Robin storyline for the rest of time. Batman and Robin #36 is awesome in a way that only superhero comic books can be and Gleason excels in this world.
In particular, the Robins. Red Hood, Batgirl and Red Robin all have costumes indicative of their current ranks within the Batfamily. They all wear the icon R on their chest and are garbed in red and green, but that is where the similarities end. Babs sports of Batgirl cowl and yellow-lined cape, Jason sports the Red Hood helmet and wields guns while Tim has his iconic bow staff and the long green leggings the identified his time in the Robin mantle; and they all look stunning. I would read a Robins title starring these three – with appearances by Dick Grayson – as long as Gleason drew it.
The other half of the Batman and Robin #36 title takes a lot of design inspiration from Batman Beyond. Bruce appears in something that is half space suit and half battle armour, all black and red with a very similar Batsymbol emblazoned across his chest.
Batman and Robin #36 looks outstanding and the art is one of the only elements not necessarily beholden to the rules of the New 52.
THE BOTTOM LINE: FOR BATFANS
If you have been following the Batman and Robin series or are familiar with the events in its titles than Batman and Robin #36 is definitely for you. It’s smack in the middle of the Robin Rises storyline and would be difficult to dip a toe into if you’re unfamiliar with the stakes tied up in the return of Damian Wayne.