Issue 5 continues the run of Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason on Batman and Robin. This issue opens on the grounds at Wayne Manor, as Bruce Wayne looks around and notices a piece of paper on the ground. It reads: I had to leave. The lie is over. Just then, Alfred sends a message to Bruce on his earpiece, he found something in Damian's room.
In Damian's room, Alfred is reluctant to hand over Damian's sketchbook, but Bruce takes it and it's revealed what he's been drawing since he arrived. Bruce throws them into the fire and we see there are pictures of various villains he's encountered, and gruesome ways in which he could kill them. Bruce says he let his son slip away, but that he won't let him down again.
Meanwhile, Damian dressed as Robin sits perched atop a stone creature, shadowed by Morgan dressed as Nobody. Nobody tells Robin that he made the right choice. He warns Robin that by leaving, he has declared both independence and war, and he needs to be prepared to have his father as an enemy. Damian points out that Alfred has been more of a father. When Nobody says he'll have to prove himself, Damian counters that it's Nobody who is going to have to prove himself because so far, he's only hearing words.
Back in the cave, Batman is monitoring every camera in Gotham, running a Human Kinetic Program to try to find a location on Damian. Restless and worried, Batman goes to patrol because the streets have eyes, but sometimes even bigger mouths. As Batman searches, Bruce records a message for Damian. He says he wanted to say these things face-to-face but the moment keeps evading them. His job is to love and protect Damian, and though it's supposed to be simple, it's somehow harder. He's aware they're never going to throw a baseball after a tough day, but he admits a small part of him would relish the mundane existence, even for just a moment.
He arrives at an emergency uniform site, but Damian's uniform is gone. When asking Damian how he could step into the darkness so quickly, even with the upbringing his mother gave him. That's when Bruce decides to tell him the whole story behind the Ducards. Henri was an assassin, who met and fell in love with a woman named Felicity Strode. Though a family was a liability, he settled down with her and she followed him around the world. It turned out that she had worked with a terrorist cell who had lost high-ranking members to the end of his gun. She had been hired to kill him. They eventually caught up with her and gave her an ultimatum, kill Henri or watch her son be tortured and killed.
Henri was barely around, but Morgan idolized him. When he overheard his mother agreeing to kill his father, so he killed her. Morgan convinced his father that he was the only one he could trust. He took Morgan under his wing and trained him in everything he knew. And that was where the stories intersected. Around that time, Bruce sought Henri to continue his own training for his personal war on crime. He followed dead-end leads to stir Ducard's interest, hoping to draw him in. He fought Morgan, noting his skill, but also allowing that he was better. Henri appeared from the shadows and berated Morgan for allowing himself to be bested by an American.
After some conversation, Bruce is taken on as an apprentice, but he cautions, be careful what you wish for.
Back with Robin and Nobody, they arrive at an embassy, preparing to take out a slave trader. The ambassador Nobody has his eye on is a human trafficker. Robin seeks assurance that the innocent people inside will not be hurt. Nobody says crippling or knocking out is up to him, but that he expects precision. He cuts off the cape and tells him they aren't there to put on a show, and his days of being a decoy for Wayne are over. Inside, they evade or take out the staff before finally making it to the ambassador.
Nobody hands Robin a gun and tells him this is the moment where he demonstrates his new found will is genuine. He orders Damian to shoot him in the head.
I didn't love this issue as much as I loved the last issue, because I felt like the twist of Henri's wife actually having been hired to kill him was a little contrived for my tastes. I absolutely loved the revelatory moment for Bruce in Damian's bedroom, realizing how much he'd actually let him down, and the carry over into his mind as Batman. For the first time during this series, Bruce has begun thinking of him as his son and partner at the same time.
The art was enjoyable, particularly the scene within Damian's room. I enjoyed the slight change in style for the flashback sequence, but there was nothing that was really standout within the issue.
Reviewed by Melinda Hinman