Review originally posted here
.Why I Read It:
My quest to read at least the first volume of every New 52 title (whether I actually do that or not is a different story..) Also: I love me some Batman. Spoiler-free review ahead.
The tally for the New 52 Batman titles is now 2-1 for me. The Court of Owls
was a solid horror/mystery story for me, even if it had a weird second half, but Detective Comics
fell really short in comparison. Thankfully, Batman and Robin: Born to Kill
was in the former camp and was up to snuff.
This Batman focuses very heavily on Bruce and Damian, Bruce's son with Talia. I liked that the dynamics between Batman and Robin was explored alongside those of Bruce and Damian, father and son. Bruce has always been a father figure to Dick, Jason, and Tim, but with Damian, he's his *biological* father, which creates a whole different kind of chemistry between the two.
We also get a closer exploration of Damian than I've ever seen before. In previous Batman titles (prior to the new 52), Damian has always been presented as a young, intelligent boy who lacks empathy, but barring a few exceptions, he's never come across as exceedingly violent or dangerous once he was in Bruce (then later Dick Grayson's) care. In this installment however, there are major questions raised regarding nature and nurture, and whether Damian can over really overcome his violent tendencies. The scene where Damian kills that one bat in the palm of his hand was chilling.
The father-son dynamic was explored in a satisfying manner as well. Instead of treating Damian like a son, Bruce treats him like a sidekick, and that's where friction arises. Damian wants trust, but Bruce has a hard time giving it up, even to his own son. Then we have Damian, who's always admired his father even before meeting him and has built him up in his mind, only to find out that he is flawed and not 100% compatible with him. Watching them get past those self-imposed barriers was compelling to read.
The art is what you'd expect from typical American comics (I know I say this a lot, but this style honestly doesn't excite me very much) but it's not at all hard on the eyes. No complaints from me. Final Verdict:
Of the new Bat-verse titles that have come out with the New 52, I've now read three, and Batman and Robin
is definitely one of the stronger of the three I've read (I also also enjoyed the new Batman
series, but Detective Comics
was a disappointment). The exploration of the relation between Batman and Robin vs. Bruce and Damian was well executed and satisfying. Watching the evolution of Bruce and Damian's relationship as father and son was compelling and made for a great read. The more intimate exploration of Damian's character was also welcome, and is something I haven't seen done in the Batman comics before (though I haven't read everything featuring Damian, so it may have been done before.)