Monday, February 9, 2015

Batman and Robin Vol. 1: Born to Kill -- Mini Review

Published:  July 4th, 2012
Batman and Robin, Vol. 1: Born to Kill (Batman and Robin Vol. II #1)
By: Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason (Illustrator), & Mick Gray (Illustrator)
DC Comics
ISBN-13:  9781401234874

Batman begins battling evil with his son, Damian, at his side and now realizes that the hardest part of the job may be trying to work together.  As Batman and Robin try to adjust to their new partnership, a figure emerges from Bruce Wayne's past: his name is NoBody, and he's not happy that Batman Incorporated is shining a light on his own shadowy war against evil...


       For those of you unfamiliar with Damian Wayne's back story, here is the short version: Damian is the product of a drug-induced night of passion between Bruce Wayne (aka Batman) and Talia Al Ghul (daughter of the head of the League of Assassins).  When Talia decides it's time for Damian to learn the bat-legacy from his father (who doesn't know he exists), she drops him off in Gotham.  Unsure in his new relationship with his son, who is a miniature assassin and the exact opposite of Batman, they try to forge a connection despite their differences.  In turn, they clash at every possible crossroads between good and evil, black and white.
       Damian is still struggling with who he wants to be, his mother's son or his father's. As someone who has never read a Batman & Robin title before (including Batman and any of the other four Robins before Damian!), but being aware of Damian's origin story etc., I didn't have much confusion about the contention in his relationship with Bruce. I liked that this shows Bruce attempting to bond with Damian in a fatherly way as well, such as buying him a dog (a Great Dane that Damian eventually names Titus), and playing catch in the backyard. But when they're out in the field as B&R, I felt like I wasn't necessarily convinced that Bruce would even allow Damian to work as Robin. It's kind of like he didn't learn his lesson with Jason Todd. Yes, Damian's a trained assassin, but he's still an angry ten-year-old boy and often refuses to follow orders. In the fight scene in this book we get to see the consequences of Damian's borderline reckless behavior and the ways it brings him closer (and yet further in principle somewhat) from his father. The connection with Bruce's own past to the villain, NoBody, was interesting if somewhat contrived to display the dynamic of good vs. evil between father and son. Overall, a decent read. But definitely NOT my favorite of the New 52's so far.

VERDICT:  3/5  Stars

*No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book is now available in stores, online, or maybe even at your local library.*

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