Batman and Robin #1 is written by Peter Tomasi and illustrated by Patrick Gleason, both familiar to fans of DC from their work on Brightest Day, Green Lantern, and a story-arc on the previous iteration of Batman and Robin. Anyone who read my review of it knows I criticized them heavily for their characterization of Damian Wayne, and unfortunately, it's the same thing this time around.
The issue opens with the Batman of Moscow, The Bat, fighting several terrorists before being taken down by a mysterious villain known only as NoBody.
Meanwhile, back at Wayne Manor, the clock strikes as Bruce contemplates a portrait of his family, telling the picture of his father that tonight is the night. He goes to wake Damian, who it turns out is already awake. He announces they are heading out, despite the early hour. It turns out they have a pit stop to make. Bruce tells him they're going to the beginning of everything. They go through the clock and Bruce asks if he ever told him why it's set to 10:48 to open the entrance to the cave. Damian displays the same attitude by saying he's sure Bruce had every intention of regaling him with that fascinating detail.
Bruce tells him that it's the time on that night in September that his life lost all sense. Damian responds that he's well aware of that, and now understands why all locks are set to that specific combination. Bruce tells him to have some respect, as those are his grandparents. To Damian, however, they're just names on a dusty frame. Alfred rebuts there isn't a speck of dust on the frames.
Bruce tells Damian he realizes there are a lot of things he hasn't shared with him. Damian believes it's because Bruce doesn't trust him. Bruce counters that if he didn't trust him, he wouldn't be sharing his life's most guarded secret. Damian responds that Bruce's secrets probably have secrets.
As they fly out, they discuss this constant tribute to death and Batman says he wanted to put this behind him and he wants his son there with him while he does it. They arrive at Crime Alley and Batman says this is the first and last time they will be marking the anniversary of their death here. When Damian asks why it's the last, Batman says he's tired of marking the night he watched his parents died. He should be remembering how they lived.
Batman continues to wax sentimental as Robin continues to make sassy comments. Batman pulls out a framed playbill for The Mark of Zorro and tells Robin the future is always in the process of interpreting the meaning of the past. When Robin asks what that means, Batman tells him it sounds like he's a ten-year old boy who doesn't care for anything but himself. Robin tells him he was easier to look up to when he wasn't around. Batman folds the playbill into a small boat and sails it away. Robin tells him he can't just expect the darkness to float away with it, and Batman asks why not, it's his boat.
They get a distress call to the university where three thugs have just killed the security guards in an attempt to get irradiated fuel. As they prepare to leave, Robin announces their presence. Batman tells him they are to maintain the element of surprise the next time. In an attempt to divert them, a small explosion is set off. Batman throws a batarang, which Damian uses them as a handhold. Robin, against Batman's orders, follows them to where they're stealing the gyro. Robin tags it and begins to board, in direct conflict with what Batman is telling them to do.
The nuclear reactor ruptures but Batman contains it by blowing a hole in the pool directly overhead, cooling the reactor and preventing the radioactive smoke from entering the atmosphere. The swimmers are caught in a net as Commissioner Gordon hears about the diverted fallout.
Batman and Robin find the remains of the gyro, but no sign of the goons. Batman tells Robin that he should have thought his actions through, and that he needs to be in control of himself. Robin defends himself, saying he's better than any of the previous Robins in skill and training and asks Batman when he's going to trust him. Batman tells him he will when he's earned it.
Back in Moscow, NoBody is tormenting the Bat of Moscow by submerging him into a glowing green pool. Before he completely erases the Bat, he tells him the global circus act has to end, and that it's time to pay Bruce Wayne a visit.
I'll admit, I wasn't expecting Batman Inc. to be featured so early in the Batman and Robin title. I'm curious as to whether this is at all related to the re-launch of the book in January.
So, the writing. As always, I'm not a fan of how to depict Damian, with little regard to his character development. However, having given this a little bit of thought, I'm slowly coming to realize, this is most likely how Damian would react after having Dick yanked out of his life and replaced with a father who is just as good at communicating as he is. I'll accept this version for now, but I'll admit I'm getting awfully tired of it. I'm also confused as to why Bruce suddenly feels the need to monologue at Crime Alley. I've never seen him that chatty in the suit and it did strike me as quite out of character.
The art was decent in the issue, nothing spectacular. I did find it interesting to see that Damian was flipping around the way Dick would be and found that to be a nice homage to his former partnership with Dick. I liked the depiction of NoBody as nothing more than a shadowy figure with a semi-bat symbol on his chest.
Batman and Robin #1:
Reviewed by Melinda Hinman