From what I can tell, Batman’s journey to letting Damian go is FAR from over. How does one cope with the loss of a son? As I said in my review of Batman #20, I have no son, so I can’t even dream of what it feels like to loose one. I just hope the duration of the coping doesn’t weigh any of the future Bat-stories down.
Ethiopia is marked with a terrible history for Former Robin, Jason Todd – it’s where the Joker tied him down and beat him to death. This is where he died. How he survived the Joker-planted explosion is a mystery to us all, but it’s not something Jason wishes to revisit as it brings back terrible memories.
Batman doesn’t care though. His son is dead. Jason survived death and Batman hopes that returning his former student to the heart of his terror will jog Jason’s memory, possibly revealing a clue as to how to resurrect Batman’s only son. It’s hard enough for Jason to live with an almost unbearable past, as well as dealing with the fact that the Joker got away with it, but now Batman is asking Jason to reveal the secrets of his resurrection to save his son despite never showing Jason that same courtesy. There’s a lot of tension in this 30 paged book, and intense the whole way through!
Batman vs. Red Hood. One acts a bit selfishly while the other makes a bold, and unmerited request. But to be fair, both are faced with terrible trials, working through events which have caused them great pain. Batman never tried to saved Jason, and it’s something Jason has only recently been able to forgive Batman for. Likewise, Batman has lost his son and isn’t in the right frame of mind to deal with it properly, unfairly asking Jason to do something he shouldn’t have to. It’s the sign of a good writer who can address two very hefty storylines and make them work so eloquently in only 30 pages.
This B&R installment also addresses issues involving the mistreatment and killing of children. Batman lures Jason to Ethiopia by framing it as a mission to put an end to the deeds of a gang of international bounty hunters – They collected the bounty put on Damian Wayne’s head. But Jason quickly learned Batman didn’t need him to stop this pathetic band of thugs, thus leading into the heart of the story, and the reason why Batman and Jason were there to begin with.
To be honest, this isn’t an easy comic to read – it deals with death and loss almost on every page. Even newly introduced character Carrie Kelly is having trouble understanding why Damian suddenly stopped showing to his private acting classes with her without notice. But it seems Carrie will be sticking around as the Wayne’s dog watcher thanks to Alfred’s progressively friendly demeanor.
Gleason Always amazes me month after month on any title he’s sketching. But Cliff Richard’s work is even more impressive that I couldn’t tell when Gleason’s drawings ended, and Richard’s began. But it’s within Gleason’s imperfect style that makes his art so very perfectly incredible. He’s as good with his action as he is with his angst when the story requires it, and it’s an artistry I can only hope to achieve.
All in all, a very, VERY good read. Every once in a while Batman and Robin is a let down, but it’s one of the more consistently well written titles coming from DC’s arsenal.
9 out of 10 stars