Though there is the obligatory villain to defeat a guy with a robot spider mask called NoBody , the book s focus on Bruce and Damien s relationship is what makes this book the success it is Bruce is learning with the patient hand of Alfred to be supportive and encouraging to his son while doing what he can to protect him from a hostile world of villains who would exploit Damien s closeness to Bruce to destroy Batman Peter Tomasi writes some excellent scenes that subtly show the dark depths to which Damien s mind has been taken that really underlines the horror of his reality I m thinking especially of what Damien s been up to in his room when Bruce hasn t been paying attention The scenes between Bruce, Alfred and Damien and a new addition to the Wayne family out of costume were the best though Ever since Grant Morrison included Damien into continuity there s been a distinct lack of ordinary family moments between Bruce and Damien which is addressed here and we see a father and son doing something mundane but necessary like playing in a back yard If Bruce is ever going to undo the damage of Talia s training he needs to ground Damien, strengthen their relationship, and show him why they fight for Gotham and its citizens Plus throwing in some everyday scenes heightens the drama when the cowl comes on Born to Kill is an excellent start to this new series that has enormous potential to bring heart and soul to Batman that s been lacking amidst all the upheavals of the last couple of years It s well written, well drawn, and an all round brilliant book Batman fans won t be disappointed.
I spent the last two weeks reading and individually reviewing the eight issues that composed this magnificent first volume It had been an amazing journey for me to examine and discuss the character arc progress between Bruce Wayne Batman and his son Damian Robin which is the most important thing that writer Peter J Tomasi himself emphasized throughout the issues As for the villain NoBody, he explained in an afterword his very own story proposal that he submitted to the company that it was just the B story that adds a dimension to what he wanted to achieve in the story, and that the emotional spine and theme of the first volume relies heavily on nature versus nurture, particularly on how Batman and Robin must learn to build a relationship based on trust, love and respect even if external forces would get in the way every once in a while, especially with a vocation like crime fighting.
Damian is born and raised a killer His mother Talia al Ghul and the rest of the League of Assassins had tempered his steel into something sharp and deadly Bruce knew that his absence in the most formative years of his son s life has already been detrimental, and in the span of these issues, he tries everything to ensure that Damian walks the right path and not give in to the darkness that his natural instincts are much attuned with I really enjoyed reading Tomasi s proposal for the Batman and Robin line up because it showed that he understands the direction he s heading and how to get there the best way possible This collected edition also included an excerpt of the issue 7 script, and a gallery filled with artist Patrick Gleason s character sketches of Damian and some panel layouts.
Going back to the proposal, I would like to quote some of its insightful passages that I believe captured the very essence of the first arc Born to KillBruce sees Damian as a broken boy and is on a mission to fix him Damian, on the other hand, only wants to be accepted by his father for who and what he is he doesn t want to be looked at as some science project that needs to be modified As Bruce wrestles with what it means to be a father in uniform and out, Damian is wrestling with himself too, using all his willpower to keep his natural instincts and inclinations at bay, trying his best to be the son his father wants him to be, but finding himself failing and not knowing who to turn to, especially when he starts to see Bruce as less of a fantasy father figure and of a fallible human being For Damian, it was easy to look up to Bruce when he was gone, but now that his father s back, Damian s finding it was simpler to love and respect the legend than the man himselfI think it s worth mentioning that there is an old continuity reference in Tomasi s writing though it was only implied There was a time before when Bruce Wayne died and so Dick Grayson former first Robin and now Nightwing had to take over so he became the new Batman while he assigned Damian as his Robin I wanted to point that out since there was a scene in one of the issues here where Damian first issue and some other one talked about the fact that Dick trusted him but Bruce can t do the same thing In case you feel like that was a baffling thing to say, then that s the short backstory that should sufficiently cover it.
I can honestly say that this is my most favorite volume from the New 52 Batman titles yet, even surpassing the riveting plot and suspense created in Scott Snyder s The Court of Owls I m a sucker for character driven stories and exploration of character dynamics than anything else in fiction so Tomasi s work for the first volume of Batman and Robin truly spoke to me I ll be reading the next issues individually again very soon as well as the collected second volume Pearl , but for now I m picking up the Batman issues for Death of the Family and reviewing them separately I ve already read and reviewed the crossover tie ins edition of this story arc before, but I think Snyder s collected third volume edition is compact and a better anthology than that one.
RECOMMENDED 10 10Meaningful and emotionally resonant, the first volume humanizes Batman as a father and elevates Damian as a formidable Robin DO read MORE ABOUT MY BATMAN REVIEWS IN As A Part Of The Acclaimed DC Comics The New Event Of September , Batman Begins Battling Evil With His Son, Damian, At His Side, Batman Now Realizes That The Hardest Part Of The Job May Be Trying To Work TogetherAs Batman And Robin Try To Adjust To Their New Partnership, A Figure Emerges From Bruce Wayne S Past His Name Is NoBody, And He S Not Happy That Batman Incorporated Is Shining A Light On His Own Shadowy War Against EvilCollecting Batman And Robin This is interesting as we get to see Batman as a real father Damian is his DNA child and Damian get up under one of Batman s enemies Damian is much like his father He is angry and restless for a fight and he is only 10 years old He doesn t have the impulse control that his dad does Damian does kill someone The whole book is this debate about the use of killing someone to stop them verses not crossing that line It works pretty well that way This is the Damian who goes on to lead Teen Titans in Rebirth.
This was a Batman family story for sure and it certainly was dark enough I like all the bat characters they are adding to the story I hope the movies will follow suit and start adding them It s fun Spider Verse did it and it worked really well.
Duuuuude One of the best gn s I ve read in a while Tomasi is quickly becoming one of my favorite creators.
On my second read, I think what people overlook about this book and this series is the fact that Bruce and Damian s relationship is the main plot, as Peter J Tomasi himself tells us in the afterword Nobody, a brilliant new villain from Bruce s training days, is the subplot which serves as a background upon which the two Waynes and Alfred play out their complex emotions And their emotions, their fears and dreams, are as dark as the night in which they fight and bloody themselves.
Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray make this a gorgeous book to look at And this Batman and Robin series, if my understanding is correct, takes place parallel to Morrison s Batman run while Damian is obviously still alive, after Bruce s temporal travels, and before the culmination of Batman Incorporated Or at least that s how I think of it to make sense of continuity While lacking the comedy, wackiness, and ethereality of Morrison s superb Batman run, Tomasi dedicates this to the Dark Knight side of Batman fear, death, murder and revenge This book stars Damian, a Robin who has grown on me over the course of Morrison s books, and who, although different in this book, is beyond an angsty pre teen like some readers unfairly criticize Damian was literally bathed in blood from the beginning, taught to break, maim, and kill, instructed to be a perfect machine and unity of body and mind, and told he would conquer the world at a young age After being shipped off and introduced to his father, Bruce basically tries to fix Damian a theme and temper his murderous tendencies, molding him from killer to vigilante And Damian has mixed feelings He s stubborn and prideful, rooted in his belief of extreme measures and permanent solutions This has been his entire life But as Bruce has always maintained, killing is the line that separates men from monsters And Damian sees that he s right and wishes to please his father, to earn his respect, admiration, and love But he won t bow down, he can t So he s conflicted And he is loaded with hormones and disrespect, it can t be helped, it s biology But he is so much than that He s ripe with complexity, dark yet willing to see the light.
I can start by stating that there is no way this story was created for a rebooted DC Universe The characters are Batman, Robin Damian Wayne, Bruce Wayne s 10 year old son who has been raised as a trained assassin and is now in his father s custody , and a new villain from Bruce Wayne s distant past who makes his first appearance murdering a version of Batman in Moscow Because it dilutes the brand I have a vague idea of what Batman Incorporated is all about, and I still don t get it, especially in the context of a new reader friendly DC Universe None of it makes any sense against the backdrop of what DC Comics was doing at the time So we can look at this story on its own It s a father and son story, where the father sees some of his dark side in his son and doesn t know how to handle it, so he makes some mistakes, and they both pay the price and learn some life lessons That can be a fine basis for a story if it s done well, but the result in this collection is just mediocre It s spaced out for eight issues when it really would have been fine in six, and Batman takes an exasperatingly long time to get to his story about his villain s motivations Tomasi also can t seem to make up his mind whether or not Damian Wayne has killed anyone before, so the moral dilemma is hard to track Speaking of the moral dilemma, the philosophical argument which is potentially going to determine Robin s destiny is whether or not it s OK to kill bad guys, but in the book that gets expressed in the following way NoBody the bad guy I think killing bad guys is just fine Some people are beyond rehabilitation, and ending their threat with some finality is the only way to protect people.
Batman Batman Batman Grrrrarrr Shut up punches and stabs, in brutal but non lethal ways This is not how a writer should structure an actual philosophical discourse if he wants us to take it seriously Instead of choosing a moral side here, Robin is presented with the choice of 1 Killing as a way to maintain safety for his loved ones and as an expression of his true self, or 2 Not killing, as a way to be a good son and make Daddy love him Which can actually be a compelling decision, if it s done correctly, with family loyalty requiring someone to make a clearly intellectually emotionally dishonest choice, but each issue here sees Tomasi struggling with whether or not Robin will choose non lethal tactics because they are clearly morally superior, and he hasn t earned that perspective personally, as a public defender who believes in rehabilitation and second chances for my clients, I agree that it s the right one, but I m trying to describe the story I ve been given in this book, not the arguments I bring in from my own life just wanted to make it clear that I don t actually think anyone should go around killing the bad guys.
If you can t get enough Batman, then this is, indeed, a Batman book With pretty standard superhero art and corny but acceptable dialogue It has a lot of Damian Wayne a character I actually like a lot, based on my very limited exposure to him , and there s plenty of action and violence It s just not a story that s special in any way, and not worth your time if you re not already a hardcore Batman fan.
I feel like I ll never like a Batman comic again After the shitshow that was Batman v Superman, I could never look at the character the same way Now, instead of a cool hero, I only see an ugly, Ben Affleck shaped grown up idiot in a stupid suit whose whole personality is based around the fact that his parents are dead After that damn movie I slowly started to lose interest in DC in general, and Batman in particular I sold all of my Batman comics and never really had the urge to pick up another one since This, coupled with how terrible Peter Tomasi s Rebirthed Superman was, really put me against Batman and Robin even before I started reading it Surprisingly, I didn t hate it as much as I expected, but it still wasn t a good book.
Hands down, the best part about this comic is Batman s son, Damian Wayne, and his relationship with his father Grant Morrison did a really good job introducing the character in his Batman run, and I m glad to see that Damian stays true to himself in Born to Kill He s still an annoying little shit who is somehow charming and likeable, and kicks some serious ass when he gets the chance.
Unfortunately, other parts of the story aren t that good Batman is still annoying as ever, crying about his parents, remembering his mother s goddamn pearls in the sewer admittedly, he really wants to stop moping about that Yeah, right The story about a villain from Batman s past was also a trite, cliched snoozefest.
Tomasi s writing style is full of nasty traits His dialogue is filled with cringey, unnatural exposition pushing phrases He s overly wordy, to the point where text bubbles sometimes take up most of the space on the page, concealing the artwork behind them He also likes to tell instead of show, constantly plays the pronoun game and overuses flashbacks, which are usually set to some extremely dull narration from Batman His talents would be better suited writing for Arrow, or some other crappy superhero TV show.
Saying all that, I still admit that I had some fun reading this comic I like Damian, and he s really good in this one Surprisingly, I also liked Patrick Gleason s artwork much here than in Superman Rebirth, where his characters often look ugly and misshapen Alas, I still can t get over how much I hate Batman, he ruins everything for me That, and Tomasi s writing style is a big turn off I probably won t continue with this series, although maybe someday, when the Batfleck catastrophe will be mostly forgotten who knows.
It s a good story, but Damien takes about 20 steps backward in the personal growth department He had matured so much while working with Grayson, that it was a bit of a let down Instead of having his trademark cool under pressure read scariest ten year old alive persona, he s back to stomping his foot like a bratty little boy when he doesn t get his way sigh Oh well.
So right off the bat this Nobody character targets Batman through his Russian counterpart or at least I assumed he was from Russia It s time to rid the world of Batman Inc Mwahahahaha Turns out that Nobody and Bruce go waaaay back, and their story is something that Bruce doesn t want Damien to know aboutat least not yet Why he was ashamed of what happened back in the day is beyond me Didn t seem like he really did anything wrong when the secret is finally revealed.
The main point of the plot line, however, is not about Batman vs Nobody It s about Bruce trying to learn how to be Damien s dad, and not just his father.
One of Bruce s attempts at normalcy brings Ace the Bat Hound into the family Damien finally names him Titus but we all know he s really Ace If you re a fan of Alfred, you re gonna love him in Born to Kill Alfred doesn t just sit back a Wayne Manor dusting the Batcave and handing out Band aids Tomasi has him acting as the third member of the team Alfred even saves Batman and Robin s butts by remotely flying a Batplane and shooting at the bad guy Relax, it s rubber bullets being fired Stillvery cool.
So, while some of the story rubbed me the wrong wasy, it had than enough good stuff to make up for it And visually, the book looks awesome.
Recommended for fans of the Dynamic Duo Well, it was okay, I guess There is a consistency to the book that I appreciated no fill in artwork, no crossovers, no overambitious storytelling techniques Patrick Gleason s clean, heavily inked high contrast artwork looked pretty solid to me a bit like Mike Mignola s, even I also appreciated the attempt to tell a superhero story that does not just move from one action scene to the next, though I can t say I found the story s reflections on fatherhood and crime fighting methods all that fascinating.
Like so many mainstream comics these days, Batman and Robin Vol.
1 Born to Kill revolves around the question Should superheroes step up their crime fighting methods Or specifically in this case Should superheroes kill The Batman says no as he has since the early 1940s , a new character from Batman s past who calls himself Nobody says yes, and Batman s son Damian aka Robin, who has been trained to kill by the so called League of Assassins while still a child, finds himself on the fence Unfortunately, it s pretty clear from the start where the story is going, and the whole Should we just kill the bad guys discussion does not exactly break new ground.
Bottom line Batman and Robin Vol.
1 Born to Kill delivers a perfectly serviceable story for DC fans who are interested in Damian s inner struggles or get a kick out of discovering Alfred s hidden talents, but readers looking for stories that have new things to say or advance the genre should probably look elsewhere.