Batman Won’t Rest Until ROBIN RISES!

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  • Title: Robin Rises Omega #1 / Batman and Robin #33
  • Writer: Peter J. Tomasi / Peter J. Tomasi
  • Penciller: Andy Kubert / Patrick Gleason (respectively)
  • Inker: Jonathan Glapion / Mick Gray (respectively)
  • Colors: Brad Anderson / John Kalisz
  • Publisher: DC Comics 
  • Release Date: July 23, 2014
Cover to Robin Rises Omega by Andy Kubert
Cover to Robin Rises Omega #1 by Andy Kubert

For those of you that don’t know there have been four Robins in the current DC continuity

  • Dick Grayson – the first Robin that became Nightwing in the 80’s and recently gave up that identity and is now a spy with his own title Grayson
  • Jason Todd – the second Robin who didn’t operate for too terribly long before he was killed by the Joker. He got better though and came back as The Red Hood and has a title called Red Hood and the Outlaws
  • Tim Drake – the third Robin has a back-story that is a bit muddled with the recent change in DC continuity but he currently can be seen as Red Robin in the pages of Teen Titans.
  • Damian Wayne – the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, Damian became the fourth Robin and was killed by Heretic, his own artificially aged clone.

I have to admit that I wasn’t sad to see Jason Todd go back in the day but I felt very differently at the passing of Damian. The biggest reason that I was so inclined was the work of Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason in Batman and Robin. Peter wrote a Bruce Wayne that was struggling to find his way as a parent and for any of us that are parents that is certainly a familiar feeling.  Sure, the situation was different for the Waynes. Damian was raised by his mother to be an unrepentant killer and to be the heir to a vast criminal organization. Thank goodness I don’t have that baggage to work through! Nevertheless, Tomasi shows me what it might be like for Bruce as a father and for Alfred to serve in a grandfatherly role. I don’t see how father and son could stay together without Alfred there to keep things on track.

Cover to Batman and Robin #33 by Patrick Gleason
Cover to Batman and Robin #33 by Patrick Gleason

The Robin Rises storyline continues Batman’s quest to bring his son back to life, a quest that has been ongoing since the fatal blow was delivered in 2013. The quest ramps up though as yet another potential path to raise the boy comes into play via Apokolips. The one-shot Robin Rises Omega carries a $4.99 price tag and displays some excellent art featuring Andy Kubert on pencils. The first seven pages carry a basic summary of Damian’s life and death to date for those that are late to the party. The rest of the book is an incredible battle between the forces of Apokolips on one side and Batman, Ras al Ghul, Frankenstein and an army of man-bats on the other. The battle is eventually joined by the Justice League and the events turn in such a way that Batman feels that his only possible next step is to head to Apokolips.

Batman and Robin #33 picks up immediately after Robin Rises Omega #1 and as the cover promises, the issues had Batman and the Justice League disagreeing on the next step in Batman’s plan. I really don’t want to go into the plot points or action of this book but I enjoyed it very much. My favorite pages are number 13 and 14 which face each other and show the amazing range of Patrick Gleason. One features the brutal and wide Kalibak in all his monstrous Apokoliptian glory. The other features Bruce Wayne by Damian’s gravestone. Bruce is tenderly holding a firefly and I feel as if I see him reflecting .. perhaps on a light that has gone out too soon. Both pages feature Mick Gray’s dark and brooding inks to perfection. This title might use more dark ink than any other I have read but the world of Batman must have its shadows.

Damian and Titus by Patrick Gleason
Damian and Titus by Patrick Gleason

On a personal note, I got to meet Patrick Gleason shortly after the death of Damian at Planet Comicon in Kansas City. He was, like me, saddened to see Damian go. I talked to him a bit about how much I loved his layouts, but also about the nature of the book and how I would miss Bruce as a father. I commissioned this piece from him showing Damian sharing a moment with his faithful dog Titus. He absolutely knocked it out of the park. Thanks again Pat.

I don’t know where this story will go. I’m not sure if Damian will return this time or somewhere down the line.  I do know that Bruce Wayne is fighting to save his son and woe to anyone that stands in his way.

 

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