SYNOPSIS: ALL ROADS LEAD…TO LAZARUS ISLAND. Batman has been on a breakneck journey throughout the DC Universe, from Wayne Manor to the House of Secrets and back again…but where there are clues there is a trail, and the world’s greatest detective has followed this particular trail back to where he and Superman began this journey: Lazarus Island. With an entire island and army at Damian Wayne’s disposal, does Batman stand a chance? We’ll give you a hint: NO!
If you’re familiar with Mark Waid’s work, particularly The Flash #79, Waid is a master at crafting a story that puts the main character through a cathartic experience. This time, it’s The Batman’s turn and wow, he really puts him through an emotional wringer!
Robin, or I should clarify, Damian, has gathered his own army of Robins –Tim, Stephanie, Jason, and Dick. They’ve each been equipped with a mystical object that will assist them in battle as Batman runs their gauntlet on Lazarus Island. You’d think it was Festivus with all the former sidekicks airing their grievances.
The mystical and horror elements that have been a big part of this series are played down in this installment, making way for some one-on-one battles, intercut with what is going on with Damian as he learns more about the hold Nezha has on him. It’s balanced really well.
The fights obviously get the most focus, even getting their own individual variant covers for each battle. This really lets Waid dig into how Batman’s treatment of his wards has been taken by each of them, even if those feelings are buried way deep down. I feel like Tim is being very meta, voicing fan complaints from when Damian came on the scene. Bruce’s failure with Jason also goes under the microscope and I can’t say Waid’s observations are wrong here, either.
However, it’s the battle with Dick where the real revelations are made. I can’t say much without spoiling, but it really got to me. While I was hoping for a different outcome, I hope that what transpires brings healing to the Bat-Family. Bring a box of Kleenex. You’ll need it.
Mahmud Asrar and Scott Godlewski team up for art chores and complement each other fairly well. The transitions aren’t too jarring but Asrar’s work during the fights are what really wowed me. Asrar’s interactions between Bruce and Alfred are perfect and I love the final page!
Batman vs. Robin isn’t the series I expected, but maybe it’s the series Batman and Bat Fans need. Waid is deeply rooting the action in character and the art is fantastic, sweeping you up in the events! I cannot wait to see the next chapter! – Javier E. Trujillo