Batman’s really out of his element on several levels as he takes on his own son Robin and DC’s supernatural realm!
BATMAN VS. ROBIN #2
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Mahmud Asrar
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Paul Kaminski
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover price: $4.99
Release Date: October 11, 2022
SOLICITATION: HOUSE OF SECRETS…HOUSE OF DEATH. In the wake of Damian Wayne’s devastating attack on the Batcave, Bruce and Alfred are on the run and running out of time! Magic users across the planet are experiencing dangerous and deadly power flares, and Batman must solve this mystery before his friends and allies are turned to ash. To crack this case, the Dark Knight is going to need the help of one of the greatest masters of the magic arts on the planet…Zatanna! What awaits our ragtag group of heroes in the House of Secrets? Can Damian break free of Nezha’s possession spell before he murders his own father? All this and more in the explosive second chapter of Batman vs. Robin!!
TAKING ON THE SUPERNATURAL TO SAVE HIS SON
I’ve long been a fan of Mr. Waid’s writing. He does a great job of challenging characters, putting them in difficult situations I rarely can resolve on my own! I enjoy that a lot given how long I’ve been reading comics!
This mini-series is truly spinning out of the World’s Finest comic, with supernatural foes that the Dark Knight has previously encountered coming back for revenge. It’s only a few pages in that we come across Devil Nesha, and he’s got plans for Robin.
As always, Batman is resolving mysteries we’ve long encountered, such as the origin of the Lazarus Pit. He’s also meeting many of the supernatural stars of the DCU, and that includes Abel and Cain, Felix Faust, Klarion the Witch Boy, and Black Alice, to name a few.
The struggle between Batman and Robin, though seems to take a back seat to all the supernatural shenanigans happening. Robin actually seems to be in the background most of the time in this issue.
The one thing I have enjoyed most is the return of Alfred to DC. I’ve hoped to see him return after his death not long ago. After all, he did this before in the DC mythos, and I still hope we’ll see him back in Wayne Manor soon.
Interestingly, Batman is often lost in thought as he talks with Alfred, who he says keeps him “at his best” when he’s keeping an eye on him. I bet he’s already aware of the revelation we get at the end of this issue!
Batman and Robin in this mini-series are pawns in the supernatural struggle happening around them. It’s less about their conflict than it is about their participation in the larger happenings in the DCU’s supernatural world.
Waid keeps the pace moving rapidly so both Batman nor we don’t get a chance to catch our breath and notice what’s going on. He keeps Batman playing the observer role rather than the father who can resolve his son’s problem. That’s frustrating to the Dark Knight, I’m sure!
The coloring in this mini-series seems to stand out a lot, with strong use of darker tones of reds and greens as well as some blue that is appropriate for the supernatural setting.
I always judge art in a comic book on two levels: facial expressions and action sequences. Asrar does a particularly good job when it comes to using the characters’ faces to tell us what they are thinking and feeling. I also like the battle between Batman and Felix Faust as the Dark Knight uses Faust’s physical being against him.
BOTTOM LINE: HEADING TO THE CONCLUSION!
I have enjoyed seeing Batman interact with many supernatural entities I haven’t seen in a DC comic for a long, long time. It almost feels like Waid is hoping to revive that part of the DCU so he can develop his own title that explores what happens there, a place that has a lot of untapped story potential.
It’s also fascinating to see Batman not able to depend on science as much as he likes to. This tale reminds me of Waid’s previous Marvel story where Doctor Doom, tired of losing to Reed Richards all the time when science was involved, so he switched to magic via his mother’s background in the dark arts. It’s a nice change of pace.
I’m not convinced, though, that this mini-series should actually be called “Batman Vs. Robin” since the story isn’t really focused on that. It might better be named, “Batman and Robin Face the Dark Side of the DCU” or something like that.
This all is leading up to the conclusion in three issues. I’m anxious to see where this story goes. As much as I see the DC creators moving Damien towards working in a different identity than that of Robin, I still like the father/son relationship that’s different for Bruce. We’ll see what they have in mind since they also have a Tim Drake series coming out!
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Batman vs. Robin #2
Look out, Bruce! Danger all around!