Batman and his son, the new Robin, have been captured by the mysterious killer calling himself Nobody. Nobody is actually Morgan Ducard, the son of one of the men who trained Batman in his formative years. Nobody believes that Batman has failed in his mission by locking up rather than killing the villains and psychopaths that plague Gotham City. As the story opens, Nobody is attempting to get Batman to see the error of his ways by showing him what his continued tactics have done to Gotham. With every escape, Batman’s rogues gallery have harmed and killed innocent people. Nobody says that everything they do is Batman’s fault.

More importantly, Robin hears Nobody’s murderous opinions. ‘Batman and Robin’ is Robin’s tale moreso than that of his Dark Knight father. Young Damian Wayne was trained by the League of Assassins from the age of three to be a killer so Batman’s anti-murder stance is grating on the boy’s sense of what he believes to be right. But beneath all of his teachings, for good or ill, Damian is a scared 10-year-old boy who is still trying to discover his real place in the world.

After escaping from Nobody, Bruce and Damian retire to the Batcave where Bruce only angers Damian more by keeping secrets about Nobody from the boy. In the final few pages, Damian takes a walk around the Wayne Manor grounds only to be offered a choice that may change his future forever.

Peter Tomasi has crafted a story that should have been the tale of Jason Todd back when that troubled teen was wearing the Robin tights. As a character, Jason came off as so whiny and annoying that Batman readers actually voted to have him killed off. I doubt that the same would happen if Damian were put to a vote. Damian is brash, arrogant, and a bit moody. But Tomasi has such a grasp on Damian’s conflicted nature, that these attributes only endear the boy to readers rather than turning us away.

‘Batman and Robin’ is the story of a father and son, neither of which have any experience on which to draw for their new roles. Bruce had no real father figure other than the ever faithful Alfred who essentially tried to keep Bruce safe from himself, so that’s the tactic that Bruce seems to be trying to with Damian. What Bruce is failing to realize is that Alfred kept Bruce safe… but he also let Bruce be who he was going to be. The question is: Can Bruce afford to let Damian be who he is destined to be?

Verdict: Buy

Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art and cover by PATRICK GLEASON and MICK GRAY