Another one of DC Comics new post-Convergence titles hit the proverbial stands this week, Robin: Son of Batman #1. Written and penciled by Pat Gleason, the series quasi-picks up where the New52 Batman and Robin title left off. That title, written by Peter Tomasi and penciled by Pat Gleason, recounted the exploits of Bruce Wayne and his son, Damian Wayne, as Batman and Robin. This new title, though sees Damian on his own, with no one to answer to for his actions.
FYI…spoilers to follow:
The story opens up with Damian, as Robin, causing trouble on his own. That trouble coming in the guise of Goliath (a man-bat creature, but…whatever you do, don’t call him Man-Bat) who got himself caught eating the sacred cows of Abush, tryant of the kingdom of Bialya.
Damian comes across as a petulant pre-teen (because, well…he is) to Abush, who was more than willing to take Damian in and train him in the ways of “manhood and true freedom”. But, in true fashion, Damian has a counter-offer. “Return my property now and stay out of our way. Refuse and I’ll see to it you find freedom…from your teeth.”
After that, all sorts of hi-jinks ensue.
Goliath and Damian manage to break free and Damian directs Goliath to take him “home”. But, home is a relative term and Goliath ends up taking Damian back to Al Ghul island. Which, is curious enough, because as it turns out, Damian is still haunted. From what? That’s a good question. From his assassin training days with his mother Talia and grandfather, Ra’s; from whatever visions he had in the afterlife, as well.
Descending into the bowels of Ah Ghul island, Damian realizes his path through his hauntings is what he’s avoided since being claimed by his father, Bruce. Atonement for his “Year of Blood”. A series of trials that he went through courtesy of said Al Ghul training. He begins this path by opening a long since locked vault containing “trophies” from that Year of Blood.
Overall, the story wasn’t bad. I like Damian as Robin. And this book (so far) is what Damian is like unleashed. But, I think he’s a better character when he’s working off of someone. Case in point, the dream sequence with Dick Grayson. In that sequence, Dick chastises Damian about his choices. And Damian is quick with the retorts toward Grayson.
Likewise, with Bruce. While with Dick, Damian barely willingly accepted Grayson’s tutelage during his pre-New52 stint under the cowl in Bruce’s absence, Damian dutifully accepts his father’s commands. Whether it’s with Bruce or Dick, Damian was in check. But, with no mentor reigning him in, making Damian control himself…it’s just not the same. That tension between father/son mentor/student is the key for Damian. Otherwise, he’s just that annoying kid you knew growing up that always got what he wanted (if you’re that kid, then please accept my apologies).
All that being said, I’m definitely going to see this series out, at least for foreseeable future. Mostly because of Gleason’s art. I’m not exactly sure how to describe Pat Gleason’s style, but it’s unique and I dig it. How he handles the writing chores, on top of the art…that remains to be seen.