Batman and Robin #4
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray

Damian Wayne is not necessarily a well liked Robin. For many he is a rather annoying and unnecessary addition to the Batman family.  I, however, love Damian and here are a couple reasons why. First, the relationship of father and son is one that no matter how extreme the circumstances, like being a vigilante and having an assassin trained ten year old, some things are always relatable. A father will always try to protect their child even if it means holding things back from them. You expect respect but are not always quick to show it. And sometimes no matter how much you love each other, you just cannot find that middle ground. As a dad I know I am an imperfect creature, and we can see that in what Bruce is experiencing in this book. But just because the relationship is imperfect, does not mean you do not love each other immensely.

The second thing that Damian represents is the one truly odd thing about Bruce’s behavior. Look Bruce Wayne is supposed to be a playboy. Someone who sleeps around and has beautiful women at his mercy. I am OK with that feeding into his Batman persona a little bit, I mean Batman is kinda the bad boy hero that women would be attracted to right? But what I do not understand is why he has to actually indulge every sexual whim of his. I mean if you stop and think about it Bruce Wayne, either as the playboy millionaire or the Dark Knight vigilante, sleeps with more women than Captain Kirk. I am not surprised there are not a half dozen Damian’s running around.

At the core of both these arguments is that Damian humanizes Batman in a way that does not ruin Batman. In fact I would argue that the father/son relationship will only go to strengthen Batman’s resolve and commitment to his mission. For Bruce Wayne, being a hero has always been about protecting what’s his. Be it his memory of his parents, his city, or his responsibility. Bruce Wayne feels the weight of the world on his shoulder’s believing he is the only one who can balance fighting the bad guys, keeping an eye on the good guys, and protecting those who cannot protect themselves. Being a father will only add to that weight and in turn to his resolve.

As far as the actual book is going I am going to give it an OK. Through the first three issues Tomasi established that this was going to be a rocky relationship, and I like that. Introducing a villain that has ties to Bruce’s past did not immediately makes sense, but that comes clear in this new issue. Morgan Ducard not only serves as a way to question Bruce’s methods of non lethal justice, but to also draw a comparison to the father/son, teacher/student dynamic. While I like the plotting of the story and the plan Tomasi has for the book, I think his dialogue can get a little agitating. I think the entire conversation between Morgan and Bruce, while presenting a lot of great information, came off as over the top. I would liken it to reading something on line where for no reason the other person typed in all caps. Also some of the screaming matches through the first several issues have been like that. I do not deny that they are useful, but their execution is just off.

The art on the book continues to be on point. It is hard to convey that Damian is only 10 years old in drawing, because well he is also supposed to be a hero. What Gleason and Gray are able to accomplish is make Damian look more kid like through his surroundings. Having Bruce tower over him, or having him in a field of fire flies. It all just works. And unlike so many of the other books I have been reading since the reboot, B&R really shines outside of the action sequences. You can just tell that the artists understand this book going forward has to be about the moments between Bruce and Damian. Batman and Robin is now the tale of a father and son in a very real way, and I love seeing that in the details.

Overall Batman and Robin is not my favorite book out right now, but it certainly is one I am drawn to. While we all have seen Bruce as the mentor and father with previous Robins, Damian introduces us to the true father in Bruce. The writing has purpose and the art is hitting all the right notes. Is this a must buy, no, but if you have the extra money you won’t be disappointed.

By JP 
For more great comic book news, reviews and commentary, be sure to visit Comic Booked today!