I’m beginning to think writer Peter Tomasi hates Damian Wayne. Right before the old 52 switcheroo, Damian was starting to settle into a well-adjusted kid. He enjoyed being Robin, he lightened up on Dick Grayson and even managed to show Alfred some respect. As soon as Tomasi took over Batman and Robin, he turned Damian back into the little prick he was at the beginning. In Batman and Robin #10, Tomasi has decided to take Damian right off the deep end.
The issue starts with a pleasant night at Stately Wayne Manor. Bruce has decided to have a non-costume family portrait done in order to try and bring his bat family together. While Dick seems fine with the proceedings, Damian and former Robin Tim Drake instantly start the verbal spar sessions. To Damian, Tim is a pretentious snob who looks down on him. To Tim, Damian is a sociopath who brings shame to the Robin name. Beneath the posturing, what both of them fear is that they will lose their status as the best Robin, something Dick doesn’t worry about since he has a long established career as Nightwing and even managed to carry the cowl for a stretch of time.
Damian, filled with righteous indignation, decides to take things a step further. The following night he calls all the Robins together, including Jason Todd, and alerts them that he will be defeating them all at some point in something they consider themselves to be best at. That will allow Damian to hold the title of Best Robin Ever without question. Naturally, the first confrontation is between Damian and Tim Drake. Here’s where it gets interesting.
Tomasi decides to delve a little deeper into Damian’s psyche. Rather than a purely physical confrontation, the deep seeds of Damian’s dislike of Tim surface. The current Robin is not just interested in besting Tim in combat, Damian uses an old case to force Tim into admitting he’s had murderous thoughts before. Damian wants Tim to admit he’s not as pure as he makes himself out to be.
On the flipside, Tim is trying to get Damian to see that following through on those thoughts is not what the Robin title is about. The scene between them is powerful stuff. Tomasi has been touching on Damian’s troubled mind and relationships since issue one and I’m glad he’s keeping that up. I also have to commend Tomasi on the dialog between Dick Grayson and Jason Todd. These two hate each other for much the same reasons that Damian and Tim do. It’s a parallel that has always been there but the scene between all four Robins really showcases it.
Patrick Gleason’s art is, as always, mind numbing. This guy walks right to the edge of over-drawing each panel and then kicks some dust off that edge. His ability to maintain control gives us some gloriously detailed work, and some of the best human forms in comics today. There are some times when the faces look a little off, but Gleason has really grown into his role for Batman and Robin. Look at his first close up of Maximums or the cross etching he does on Damian’s Robin during the four-Robin confrontation. It all adds so much to the story. Tomasi may be kicking Damian Wayne back a few notches psychologically, but he’s really finding his voice for this series.
4 Story, 4 Art