SYNOPSIS: The dynamic duo has proven they can work as Batman and Robin countless times, but now they must work together as Bruce and Damian to stop a deadly killer…on a soccer field?! The mystery of who is Shush and what they are doing in Gotham continues to grow, but Damian is confronted with a blast from his past that wants him to leave his father and Gotham!
I think it’s official.
I am not vibing with this book.
While I was very positive about Williamson’s tenure on Robin, I find myself not enjoying the tone of this new title.
A lot of this has to do with how he writes Batman. The voice isn’t consistent — not only with how Williamson has written him in the past but with how Batman acts in Batman or Detective Comics, two titles that this book is supposed to be concurrent with. I’m all for the different books spotlighting the Dark Knight having different tones, but Batman should feel like the Batman of that setting/era. There’s a whimsy and looseness to this Batman that isn’t present in the other two “main” books.
Part of that bleeds over into Robin, as well. While Williamson excels at bringing out the youth in Damian, something his childhood with Talia deprived him of, he seems to be forgetting what role he is playing. Confronting a faculty member with his suspicions of their dual identity right in front of the soccer team is not a good way to blend in as a regular student or keep his identity of Robin as a secret. It smacks of a carelessness that Damian has never demonstrated. On a similar note, I don’t think Batman would call Robin “son” in the field. He probably has before this, but it seems like something Bruce wouldn’t call out during combat, especially with a goofy smile on his face in front of a villain.
Having said all that, I did love the scene of Bruce quietly visiting with Damian in his room, with Damian showing off his self-made comic to his dad. The kid needs this kind of interaction with his father and through the art, you can see that Bruce’s interest and opinion mean the world to him. It’s the highlight of the issue for me.
Speaking of the art, Nikola Čižmešija returns, with Rex Lokus on colors. The art is very easy to follow and the characters are very expressive, capturing a manga-esque style. If you like the work of Riley Rossmo, I imagine you’d like Čižmešija’s, too. It affects the tone, with Zsasz feeling far less menacing with his wide eyes and Joker-like grin. He’s got talent, but I can also see his art being off-putting if you don’t care for the style.
With action at the beginning and end with a nice character moment sandwiched in the middle, I still felt dissatisfied. Zsasz felt like a joke, with the plot point breezed through, to say nothing of the Shush “mystery”. I continue to hope for a change in tone, but it looks like the focus will continue to remain with Robin as the lead with his father serving as an inept sidekick. – Javier E. Trujillo