Writer & Artist: Patrick Gleason
Collects Robin: Son of Batman Sneak Peek #1, Robin: Son of Batman #1-6
Patrick Gleason is back with Robin: Son of Batman, which is essentially the spiritual successor to Batman and Robin, a title he worked on for several years with writer Peter J. Tomasi. I always have a certain trepidation when reading books by artists who decide to venture into the writing realm, but Gleason pulls it off better than most I’ve seen. He captures Damian Wayne’s cockiness extremely well and, as expected, the artwork is top notch. Textures and shadows are glorious thanks to the invaluable assistance from inker Mick Gray.
Gleason does not fall into the trapping of simply having Damian beat up punks in Gotham. Instead, he delivers a globe spanning adventure with an Indiana Jones/Tomb Raider vibe. It’s actually rather appropriate when you think about it: the worldly feel fits with a tale focusing on the al Ghul family and hearkens back to the yarns spun by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams back in the 1970’s.
This book also delves deeper into Damian’s past. We have taken for granted what it truly means to be raised by the League of Assassins and this volume deals with the severity of that. It’s a bit of a redemption story: we look back on Damian’s crimson quest, “The Year of Blood,” and embark on “The Year of Atonement” with him.
Another nice touch added by Gleason was the addition of Maya, daughter of Nobody, whom you may remember as the antagonist in Batman and Robin: Born to Kill. I’m glad Damian was given a contemporary instead of just throwing an established Batman villain at him. The two gel well and come together at a time in their lives when they couldn’t need a friend more.
Other characters to keep an eye on: Deathstroke, who is characterized much better than in the animated film, Son of Batman; Goliath, Damian’s pet dragon-bat, whom I first saw as pointless but actually played a crucial role in humanizing him; and Talia al Ghul, Damian’s recently resurrected mother. Their reunion doesn’t go exactly how you would expect. In fact, several big twists are to be witnessed near the end of the book.
While the unleashed evil has yet to be dealt with, this book offers satisfying, well-rounded character arcs for Damian, Maya, and Talia. Now we have proof positive that Damian Wayne can carry a solo story much like Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Time Drake.
Including this song felt appropriate for multiple reasons.