I’ve said it in my reviews for this title in the past but, with this issue, it bears repeating. ‘Batman and Robin’ is centered on young Damian Wayne and his relationship with his father. Sure… they go on adventures and fight villains but, at its heart, this is a story of a two people with traumatic pasts striving to make themselves into a family. This issue only serves to hammer that point home.
In another ‘before New 52’ story, this issue gives us a flashback to the origin of Damien Wayne. It opens on action with Damien slaying some ninja soldiers and a giant man-bat creature. Then it flashes back to Damien’s birth. In an interesting twist, Damien is grown in a sort of test tube, so it’s unclear as to whether Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul ever really hooked up in the New 52 Universe. I still expect that this is the case and that Talia removed Damien so that he might be monitored more closely during his incubation. And in true Ah Ghul style, Damien is coated in a murdered woman’s blood mere moments after his “birth”.
The rest of the issue revolves around Damien’s training. At a very early age, he begins to question the identity of his father. Talia tells Damien that, on each of his birthdays, they will do battle. When Damien is able to defeat his mother in combat, then she will tell him his father’s identity. While, we all know the end result of this story before it begins since Damien is living with Bruce in regular continuity, it’s still fun to see the lad’s journey.
Damien Wayne is one of the most interesting characters created in the DC universe (New 52 or otherwise) in many years and is definitely my favorite Robin since Dick left the role. His backstory of being trained as by assassins with the intent that he will one day rule the world makes him much more than the Robins that have come before. He combines the troubled issues of Jason with the mental prowess of Tim and tosses in a bit of the Al Ghul arrogance for a wonderful mixture of character. Honestly, if Bruce ever steps down, I’d like to see Damien take over the Bat mantle. But, before that happens, I’m going to enjoy seeing his evolution into the hero that I feel that he can be.
BATMAN AND ROBIN #0
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray
Cover by Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray