Last issue, we discovered the Robin’s “betrayal” and decision to go with the assassin Nobody (aka Morgan Ducard) was really just a ploy to get close to the villain so that he could take him down. Things took a dire turn when Morgan got the drop on Robin. Now it’s a race against time for Batman to rescue his son before Morgan takes out years of pent up anger on young Damien Wayne.

As this issue opens, Batman is hurriedly tracking Robin. As this is happening, he is talking to Morgan over radio communications. Morgan is torturing Damien and having Batman listen. Bad idea, Morgan. Bad idea. The last thing you want is a pissed off Batman gunning for your head. When Batman finally arrives on the scene, he viciously attacks Morgan while an injured Damien watches from the sidelines. I won’t spoil the ending of the battle but it’s one that will change the dynamic of Batman and Robin for years to come.

Writer Peter J. Tomasi brings his first story arc to a wonderful close. Since the beginning of this new ‘Batman and Robin’ series, Tomasi has made Damien the central character of the story. His characterization of a tortured young boy was spot-on brilliant. Damien was raised from birth to be an assassin. When his father, the Batman, takes him in and tries to teach him that there is a better path than the one of murder and arrogance that the League of Assassins has instilled in him, Damien has trouble adjusting. On the flip side, Batman has spent his entire life building himself into a perfect crime fighting machine. But no amount of physical or metal training has prepared him for the role of being a father to Damien. So, when Damien appears to have betrayed his father in exchange for Morgan’s more fatal tactics, Batman finds himself in a situation that he has no clue how to get out of. Now with the final twist in this issue, it’ll be quite interesting to see how the relationship between father and son will play out going forward.

The art from Patrick Gleason is an exquisite match for Tomasi’s action packed story this issue. With Gleason’s tight detail rich lines, you can feel every muscle pulling tight as Batman grapples with Morgan. You can feel the agony in Robin’s tortured body. It’s vicious and brutal but, like so many things in Batman’s world, that brutality is part of what makes it so wonderful to behold.

Be back here in four weeks when Bruce and Damien deal with the fallout of their choices in ‘Atonement’.

Verdict: Buy

Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art and Cover by PATRICK GLEASON