Thursday, August 16, 2012

Batman and Robin #12


While writing this I skimmed over reviews of this issue to see what others thought. For some reason a lot of readers forgot Damian and Tim fought already. I guess it wasn't really memorable compared to the other times? While there were disturbing comments (one involving a panel with two of the Robins), one that gave me a chuckle was that Tomasi can teach subtlety and character development. Tomasi was wonderful in GLC but nothing about this arc is subtle. I think everyone figured out how this storyline was going to go from the start. His work with Jason and to a lesser degree Tim was the most contrived writing I’ve seen in awhile. Their forced into positions that don’t work for their characters and dumbed down to prop up Damian. Nothing in this arc holds any weight and I’m not sure if anything important was achieved.

The villains were forgettable and felt like another arc being pushed into the Robin story. (I guess they sort of poisoned the water supply instead of instantly killing everyone?) I love all the Robins (though this arc did make me dislike Damian) and it's great to see them together. But it would have worked better if the story was more natural and the characters stayed true to form, not forced into the roles needed to make this story come together.

While Dicks’ moment with Damian was touching and in character Dicks’ lack of leadership was awful. Like in #10 he knows something is wrong but just sits back and let’s it happen? He knows Damian fought the other two but shrugs it off? If Bruce can’t be a responsible parent figure I’d expect Dick to be one. It looks like he just let Damian attack the others then decided to speak up once it was his turn. All of this could of been avoided if he had said that from the start. Instead he ignores what Tim and Jason went through to give Damian a pat on the back? Oookay. Maybe he proved himself to Dick when they worked together but here? This was the only time I could honestly say that a character didn't act like they were worthy of the Robin title. Despite how forced it was the other three (who all happened to show up at once) proved they were worthy by being there even though Damain did nothing to deserve their help.

Do I even need to bring up all the reasons Jasons’ appearance doesn’t make sense? A defining part of his current character is his friction with his family (save Tim) and that’s just brushed off like it’s no big deal. I really get the impression that Tomasi only has a few notes from the editors on RHATO. (#1) He doesn’t seem to get much beyond Jason maturing, being cool with Tim and using guns. Jason doesn’t trust the others, he’s said more than once that he thinks their try to throw him in jail as soon as they see him. Barbara threatened to do that when they met. He doesn’t want to stay in the city yet he does? Even after everything that happened? Jason gets more hostile in speech when he’s around people he’s uncomfortable with. Yet he’s okay with hanging out with Dick and the kid who triggered his PTS?

The guy that constantly thinks that Bruce and the others are letting evil like the Joker get away with their crimes is suddenly alright with the no-kill rule? I mean he isn't as pro-killing as he was before but for him to tone it down just for the family? That doesn't make sense. It's a cheat for those of us that are looking for the conflict and natural character development. The business relationship Lobdell wrote with Tim and Jason worked for me. There was already a fondation for it pre-relaunch (in the well written stories.) Yet even there Jason is cautious. This doesn't fit at all and that hurts the story.

While I don't believe Jason would tell Dick anything I do think it's possible for him to tell Tim. But even that boggles the mind since Tim--the one that's always called Damian on his bullshit--just shrugs the whole thing off. This is the same Tim that included Damian in his "hit list" of dangerous people. The kid broke into his system, risked a fight between Dick/Jason (perhaps a bigger conflict if Bruce was involved), and Tim doesn't say anything here? Hell I'd expect him to be furious over the crowbar/PTS thing alone not to mention the fact Jason knows somethings' up with Nobody being killed. You know, the killings Tim was furious about at the beginning of this arc. The thing Bruce worried would cause a rift between the boys if they knew? Yet no one speaks up about this? Not even Jason wants to call Bruce on his double standards? Really? Why bring up the fact Jason knows Nobody beat Damian and that he's dead if it's just used as a throw away comment?

The dialogue continues to have very cliche and corny moments. "Your wish is my command"? "If the machine breaks down--you break down! And if you break down Gotham is safe!" Jason says "excuse me, Red Hood coming through"? He can have Robin like quips (his "treasure trove of technology" remark in RHATO) but it's something that slips out or something mocking. This was just odd. Nice image of the boys together even though it doesn't make sense. For some reason Damian asks the others if they want a ride although two of them should still be pissed off at him. And you know, the fact Jason doesn't trust most of them. But whatever.

I know I might sound mad but I'm not ticked off like I was about Blue Beetle #11 but this arc did annoy me. Tomasi can write a great badass that's as complex as Guy Gardner but he can't get the Robins right? Damian never gets told off for all the horrible things he did. Even the three guys he fused together only get to call him on that before his "brothers" save him. What was the point of this arc? Damian already had Dicks' approval, Bruce doesn't seem to know what was going on with the Robins, and Damian never gets punished for his actions. He never actually proves anything positive about himself. I don't even feel for his character.

Did You Notice?: I'm still not sure how this works but looking at the art it seems that one of the guys shoots Damian in the chest. After he comes out of the store he was blasted into there's a bat symbol on his chest (from the blast I guess.) It's gone a couple panels later when the other Robins show up.

All the Robins hit the bat-haters the same way Batman did. Well Damian was already to blame for the three guys and the batarang guy is already out. But Tim hangs a guy up, Jason stomps "Bootface" in the face, and Dicks' arm closes around the lady with the spikes in her neck.

Jason is wearing his helmet. So he got it back? Yeah he has spares but I can't really see him keeping a lot of things in Gotham nowadays. Doesn't really matter either way as we never see this shrine Damian was going to make.

Say What?: Like last issue I'm confused with Damian taking something from another Robin. Why? Because I don't recall him taking anything from Tim. Maybe that's why so many people don't remember the fight?

#1 Which was pretty much confirmed by Scott Lobdell asking if Damian was attacking the former Robins on his twitter account.


  1. Can't you just picture Jason having a whole closet full of red hoody mask thingies?

  2. I saw a fan made comic strip with him trying to chose between different versions of them. One of them had Mickey Mouse ears. It was an amusing thought. :)

    And really the Bat boys change their images more than the Batgirls