‘Batman and Robin’ #2 ended on a note that left fans wondering if Damien Wayne, the new Robin, was unsalvageable and that maybe he is destined to follow in the footsteps of Jason Todd, the ex-Robin who was killed by the Joker during some risky escapades. This issue begins with Damien having been sequestered in the Batcave for the third night in a row. Damien has been taking care of the new, as-of-yet unnamed, Bat-dog, training, and playing games with Alfred. The boy is nearly stir-crazy and quite angry at Bruce for keeping him under wraps. Bruce explains that his actions are for Damien’s protection but the boy doesn’t agree. After all… he was raised from birth to be an assassin and killer. He doesn’t need to be locked away for his own safety! Before the issue’s end, Robin let’s his arrogance and irritation get the best of him. This leads to some dire consequences for the boy, as well as his father.

Peter Tomasi’s family with a troubled child take on the Batman and Robin dynamic has been great so far and the writer continues to deliver with this issue. At it’s heart, ‘Batman and Robin’ is a series that focuses on three generations of the Wayne family. Alfred, the Wayne family butler, watched Bruce grow up a tormented young boy and into the Batman. Now, Alfred is watching again as Bruce’s son is becoming an even more disturbed young lad. The question is, can Alfred and his surrogate son guide the boy back into the light before it is too late?

Patrick Gleason’s grim pencils lend another layer of dread to Tomasi’s tale. Gleason is great at facial features and you can see the anguish and confusion on Robin’s face as he works through his issues. The color-scheme to this book is mostly greys, blacks, and blues with only the yellow moon and Robin’s colorful costume offsetting the somber tone. It makes for an interesting contrast since Robin is a bright spot amidst the darkness, but emotionally, he is exactly the opposite.

When the New 52 began and DC announced that Bruce would be returning to the cowl, I was curious as to how the father/son dynamic would playout. Damien had such great chemistry with Dick Greyson (Nightwing), the stand-in Batman while Bruce was away, that I thought Bruce’s return might make for less interesting stories. Thankfully, ‘Batman and Robin’ has proven me wrong.

Verdict: Buy

Written by PETER J. TOMASI