Damian Son of Batman #1
Written by Andy Kubert
Art by Andy Kubert
Colors by Brad Anderson
Review by Mike Duke
I’m just going to put this out there: I’m still a little sore about the death of Damian Wayne. He was my favorite character in all of the DC New 52 universe. He was also, in my opinion, the best possible Robin: someone who doesn’t follow Batman blindly, who still has things to learn about the world around him, and yet who can teach Batman a thing or two along the way. As strange as it seems to be getting a Damian book this far after his demise in regular continuity, I was really excited to get a mini-series focusing on the character. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite deliver.
The book begins with Batman and Robin investigating a massacre down at the docks. As they search for clues, Andy Kubert attempts to establish the relationship between the two. Damian is older in this story than we’ve seen him before–I’m guessing 16 to 18. Unfortunately, this plays against the character, and his snark seems childish and petty. During the investigation, Batman uncovers a clue that suggests the Joker, but it turns out to be a trap as well. While it’s unclear to the reader how Batman is doing after the explosion, Damian believes Batman to be dead. This sends him on a quest of sorts to find the Joker and avenge his father’s death.
The story is missing a certain something. It feels like it’s all plot with no emotion, even though there are a couple of scenes where Damian tries to deal with what has happened to his father. None of it rings quite true. There is an aspect of the book that also feels like it’s trying to be the connective tissue between other stories. We’ve seen backups and one-shots that show Damian as the Batman of the future, and this feels like it’s trying to fill in that gap. Time will tell if it succeeds.
Despite my misgivings over Kubert’s writing, his art is top notch. He draws in a style that reminds me of Jim Lee and the 90’s in all the best ways. And, where the writing undermines the emotion in the story, the art tries to take up the slack. His colors are also superb, and each location in the story seems to have a specific color palette to set it apart from the last. The book itself is also quite nicely printed–the cover is a heavy stock and glossy, while the interior pages are a more textured paper than I’m used to seeing in modern comics.
Wait and see. Being a mini-series, I say wait for trade. I don’t see anything so earth-shattering or ground-breaking in this first issue to really warrant a run out to buy it. As I said, the book is quite nicely produced, but I imagine the hardcover will be of an equal quality.