BATMAN VS. ROBIN #4 Review

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SYNOPSIS: TOTAL ANNIHILATION! As the final battle erupts between Batman and Robin at the heart of Lazarus Island, a strange tremor rocks the combatants to their senses…This isn’t an island at all-it’s a volcano! With the Devil Nezha pulling the strings and unbelievable transformative power about to explode out into the world, our heroes have no choice but to do the unthinkable-fall back! A battle between father and son goes global as the Earth enters into the Lazarus Planet…

I’ll say this: I don’t know what I was expecting when I started reading this book, but it certainly wasn’t what Waid has been doing.

That’s not to say this is a bad book. Not at all. It certainly has its roots steeped in Bat Mythology, with a large heaping of the mystical side of the DCU, so this won’t exactly please every Bat Fan. However, if you love the DCU at large, there’s a lot to appreciate here!

First off, Waid has taken the baton from Williamson and the plot threads he laid down in Robin and ran with them. Somehow, this book is somehow a sequel to that and to the first arc of Waid’s Batman/Superman: World’s Finest. Oh, and let’s not forget Morrison’s time on Batman, either. There’s a great sense of payoff here as the events on Lazarus Island are about to have major repercussions on the DCU. Who would have guessed Batman: Son of The Demon, or Batman #655 would still be playing out today?

Waid really gets you inside the Dark Knight’s head as he battles his son. Fighting style moves intercut with personal memories highlight Batman’s brilliant and strategic mind, but it doesn’t stop there. Events in this issue cause Batman to get a new point of view and understanding of the world around him, not just of magic, but how deeply he feels for his family and what submission means to The Batman. It’s some great character work for Bruce and Waid carries that on with his son, too.

Damian’s actions speak to how much he’s evolved as a character. As he and his mother confront his grandmother, Mother Soul, it’s obvious he has picked a family side. I’ve said it numerous times, but the character has really grown on me and I love how he handles the conclusion of this family squabble. He is really coming into his own as a person and as Robin.

Once again, Mahmud Asrar and Scott Godlewski team up on the art duties, abetted by Jordie Bellaire’s colors. Asrar and Godlewski really blend in together well here, united by the marvelous colors of Bellaire. She really makes the fantastical elements pop and who doesn’t love a good Lazarus Green? There are no less than three magnificent splash pages within, filled with awe, tragedy, and excitement. One of these I never expected to see, but it made my inner-eight-year-old happy like he had kitbashed some of his Super Powers figures.

There is a tremendous sense of play in this series. Waid is taking various DC characters and just having a ball with a large-in-scope, yet intimate, family superhero drama. As stated above, it may not be everyone’s favorite flavor of Batman, but I am loving this and when the issue reaches its explosive climax, I was somehow caught off-guard and anxious for the next chapter (which IS NOT in this title)! 2023 for DC Comics starts right here. Don’t miss it! Javier E. Trujillo

GRADE: A

 

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Javier E. Trujillo was a Batman fan long before the 1989 blockbuster opened on his 12th birthday. After following BATMAN-ON-FILM.COM -- the "Dad-Gum Original" -- since its inception, he started to write for BoF in 2019, covering Batman's 80th anniversary. He's a lover of all eras and aspects of The Dark Knight, but artist Jim Aparo will always be how he pictures him. When on the internet, odds are it's because he's talking about Batman or James Bond (or MAYBE Wally West). He resides in the "Live Music Capital of the World" (and also the genesis of Adam West's Bat-Boat), Austin, TX. You can follow him on Twitter @JaviTru or on Instagram @TheBondIsNotEnough.