Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s Batman & Robin series provides perhaps the most interesting premise in all four of DC’s “New 52” Batman centered books; however, it doesn’t seem to actually pull off that premise very well.

The story starts off in Moscow, where someone claiming to be an “ally of the Bat” apprehends a criminal, only to be brutally beaten a few moments later by an invisible force who calls himself “Nobody.”   From there we’re sent back to the familiar confines of Wayne Manor, in Gotham City.  Here we find Bruce Wayne sulking alone, as he has been known to do, staring at a picture of his parents and declaring that it is time for a change.  He wakes up his son, Damian, to go out a little early for their nightly patrol.  Yes, in case you were wondering, Bruce and Damian Wayne are Batman and Robin, respectively.  They’re starting a little early tonight, because Bruce wants to take Damian to the place where everything started, where Batman began, in Crime Alley, so that he can remember what happened there one last time before it is torn down and revitalized.  He also claims that from here on out, he will no longer remember the day his parents died, but rather celebrate the date of their wedding anniversary.  Damian does not seem to appreciate the Wayne legacy as much as his father does, which leads to some light bickering between the two.  When they arrive in the alley via the sewer system, Bruce has a mini memorial where he remembers how everything occurred all those years ago that made him who he is today.  This however, is cut short by a report of a disturbance at Gotham University.  Batman and Robin rush out of the sewer system to investigate, and find a very dangerous robbery going on.

For the most part, Peter Tomasi’s writing here is good, and as I mentioned, the idea of Batman and Robin being a father-son team is probably the most interesting part of this book because it adds a whole new dynamic to the relationship between the characters that we’ve never seen before.  To add to this, Damian/Robin is written as very sarcastic, often talking back to his father in a very harsh and disrespectful manner.  While this makes for an interesting story, it also seems as though it causes Batman to speak in some uncharacteristic and even childish ways.  It almost seems like Bruce is being brought down to Damian’s level, which doesn’t seem like something a character as strong as Batman would do.  On the positive side, Nobody seems like he’s going to make a very intriguing villain in the Bat-universe.

Gleason’s artwork is pretty good, although it doesn’t seem to be anything spectacular.  I would have liked to have seen a little bit more detail on some of the character drawings, but other than that I have no real complaints about the art.  It works well enough for this story.  The two page splash of Batman and Robin in the middle of the story is definitely the highlight of the artwork in this issue.

Overall, this is a pretty good book, but with the greatness that has already been put out there with the Detective Comics and Batman first issues, this one just doesn’t seem to compare to either of those.  On the other hand, I am looking forward to seeing how Tomasi fleshes out the villain, Nobody, and how he continues to write the relationship between Bruce and Damian but it would have to be a great story in order to make up for such an awkward and uncharacteristic depiction of Batman.


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