Monday, January 21, 2013

Batman and Robin #16


The thing about Damian since the relaunch is that I haven't seen any writer have the perfect handling of his character. It's like he jumped back to who he used to be. It's like there's a struggle to make him badass without going overboard or caring without making him too cutesy. (Yes all the pets he has now is FAR too cutesy for me.) I think Miller had a nice stubborn Damian that fit nicely in his Batgirl series (Stephs' book) but he's the last one I can think of that felt right. Damian isn't this naive, yes he's gotten closer to his father but he shouldn't be acting like he's shocked Batman can't fight back. I mean he knows Batman isn't in charge of himself yet he acts like it's some sort of betrayal if he can't snap out of it? That by "giving in" he's only proving Jokers' right? What? This is the kid that at times comes off as a Gary Stu that's perfect in everything, that sometimes is able to know someone by their fighting ability. (Despite the fact he shouldn't be that familiar with someone he's barely seen and the fact he couldn't tell when the Joker was working in a new ID under Morrison.) Here he's fooled by a guy Joker used as a stand in because he claimed the venom made Batman slower. Granted I never bought him being as good as he some writers claim so I think this works better. So kudos to Tomasi for not using that already confusing trope.

I didn't feel that Joker really got Damian last issue. He didn't focus on his relationship with Batman, or really get into his head like he did with the others. Joker seemed more upset at the idea of Robin than who's behind the mask. Now he's picking at Damians' instinct to kill and his desire to take over as Batman one day. Not as directly as he's addressed the others' weaknesses but still more on the nose for the theme of DOTF than #15.  I kind of wish it was more in depth on who Damian is but I don't think there would be much to use anyway. All Damian has is his life with the league and his father. The only other thing to add to the mix would be his arrogance and his feud with the other Robins. Given the kill or be killed theme I'm kinda surprised Joker didn't bring up Nobody. I don't know why I expected it as it wasn't used in the Robin arc despite Bruce hiding it from the others and Jason hinting at knowing something was up. It would have been the perfect time for Joker to go: "Hey guess what bat-daddy kept from you? Baby birdie killed--again--and none of you get special treatment!" But no, it's forgotten. I'm also disappointed that Joker didn't actually fight Damian.

I did prefer this over the main DOTF book which I looked over again and have to admit isn't living up to my expectations. I think this is because the Joker is more one on one with the kids rather than going on about his king from the shadows. It's personal, more emotional, scarier, and is simply handed better. It's like the tie ins get most of the good parts and Batman gets to do the standard horror spiel. If this is about Bruce worrying over his family then show them interact more, or show Bruces' concerns for more than just Alfred. Have him think how Damian will rush in, have him worried over Barbaras' state of mind or losing Jason again. I'm hoping Batman #17 shows that emotion because I'm not feeling it except in the tie ins.

Did you Notice?: Jokers' jumbo sized drink is called a bladder buster. Nice touch although I keep thinking that would be hard to market.

I haven't read all the tie ins just the ones featuring the last three Robins. But as far as I know this is the second time he's clapped during one of these. He did so during his encounter with Jason in RHATO #15 and voiced how impressed he was when Jason was able to defend himself in what should have been an impossible situation.

Say what?: A ten year old is able to knock a tooth out of a grown mans' mouth but he doesn't get any teeth knocked out by the adult man hitting him across the jaw?

I think this is the first time anyone's referred to Damian was the "bad" one.

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