Reviewed By: Eden Zacarias
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Colorist: John Kalisz
Inker: Mick Gray
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $3.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
Grumpy, cocky and undeniably talented, Damian Wayne was a lot of things but the role that helped shape him into something other than a failed instrument of destruction that Talia al Ghul meant him to be was as Robin. So it was fitting that the Bruce Wayne’s offspring met his fate by the hand of the terror group led by his mother as the Boy Wonder in the pages of Batman Incorporated.
The loss of not one but two Robins (see the “Death in the Family” story arc) is painful, indeed, but this is different. This is the loss of a child that Bruce Wayne had taken under his wing to become a better man that would inherit the Wayne name and do it justice. Together, both men began to change as Batman’s family expanded for the better.
What would have become of Bruce Wayne with more time spent with Damian? Well, we’ll never know now but it becomes clear in Batman and Robin #18 that the impact of the loss of Damian Wayne suddenly hits Bruce hard enough that it is felt by anyone who picks up this unforgettable and touching issue.
Before I begin to describe the story, I must mention that there is not one caption or word balloon to be found in this issue. The only real words found throughout the pages of this issue come in the end in the form of a letter that Damian left behind for his father to find. However, words aren’t really needed to convey the emotional impact and this is thanks to artist Patrick Gleason who – along with Mick Gray and John Kalisz – manages to display more than enough emotion to make you pick up a box of Kleenex.
In the darkness of his mansion, Bruce Wayne finds himself numb and obviously not still mentally taking in the absence of a youthful presence that has become a big part of his life. In another room in the mansion, Alfred breaks down at the sight of an unfinished portrait of the Bat Family. Meanwhile, Bruce encounters Damian’s sketchbook showcasing a talent he kept to himself.
Then the shock that comes with the realization that a loved one is no longer among the living sets in as Bruce sees Damian everywhere whether it’s zipping down the pole that leads straight down to the Bat Cave or inside the Batmobile. The only way to quiet this ghost is to go out at the Dark Knight and he does exactly that as he hits the streets of Gotham.
And Batman hits the streets of Gotham in a way that truly brings terror into the eyes of the criminal element that also includes familiar Bat foes. He strikes hard and without mercy and as the night comes to an end we can see that the rage building up inside him exploded in an unusually violent manner.
In the end, back in the Bat Cave, that rage is replaced by something else as Bruce finds a letter that Damian had written before he set out that fateful day to meet his end at the hands of Leviathan. The words are so beautiful and touching that – I swear – it will have you shedding tears again. This is the moment that will change Bruce Wayne forever.
Whatever your opinion of Damian Wayne was you have to admit that he made a very interesting Robin and, in this reviewer’s opinion, was one of the better Boy Wonders whether he was fighting crime alongside Dick Grayson or his own father. He will be missed and it is already showing in the pages of other Bat titles but how it will affect this particular title remains to be seen.
Batman and Robin #18 is a brilliant and emotional issue that, without even a word of dialogue, displays the psychological impact of the loss of a family member. Bruce Wayne goes through a number of emotions in one night whether it’s disbelief, rage and finally acceptance in a way that makes this such a powerful issue. Tomasi and Gleason have given us a masterpiece and an issue of Batman and Robin you need to pick up right away.
COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN
In the wake of the violent death of his son, Damian Wayne, Bruce finds himself dealing with the loss the only way he knows how … assuming the role of the Dark Knight and taking out Gotham’s trash in the most brutal way possible.
In an issue that is told entirely through visual means, Patrick Gleason’s pencils masterfully convey emotion in a way that will utterly break your heart with nearly every panel. With the help of John Kalisz and Mick Gray, you will not help but find yourself pleased by the artwork.
No words are uttered in Batman and Robin #18 and none is needed as it so easily speaks volumes of what Damian Wayne really meant to the man the Boy Wonder had come to call Father. Without a doubt, this issue should have come with tissue paper because it is guaranteed to break your heart and make you shed a tear or two. Damian Wayne, you will be missed.
Review copy provided by DC Comics