Yep, that’s right, I’m once again taking a look at…
Thought I’d give this particular comic by Peter J. Tomasi a look all on its own. Here is Batman & Robin Annual #1.
First off, I’m gonna go ahead and answer the immediate question raised by the cover: Why is Damian wearing Batman 666’s costume? It’s especially odd since, in Batman Incorporated, we’ve established that Batman 666 isn’t Damian, but rather his clone The Heretic. So why does he wear that costume in this comic? I………….don’t know. 😛 I have no clue, folks. I know he’s supposed to be Batman, but why this costume, I have no idea. Either there’s a lack of communication between Tomasi and Grant Morrison, or it’s supposed to be an irony type thing that’s just over my head. I suppose either one is equally possible, considering.
The book opens up with Batman kicking the snot outta some guy in an armoured suit that spews flames, who turns out to be a major pussy and starts crying and begging that Batman not tell his Dad about this. We then cut to-Oh hai Alfred! You’re looking quite lively today! This tells me that either Alfred does in fact survive the ordeals of Death of the Family, or this story takes place before his kidnapping. Either way, he’s one of the best parts of this comic, with the dialogue between him and Bruce being HILARIOUS. And there’s plenty of these two together, since it seems that Damian’s in London and has set his father up on a scavenger hunt of sorts to reconnect with his family roots, something that Damian has recently been learning the importance of. But it turns out to be a trick of sorts, as while he does have this plan set up, he also has never truly left Gotham and is using this time while Bruce and Alfred are away to patrol solo as Batman, though I personally prefer to refer to him as Batman Jr. in this costume, named after one half of the Super-Sons.
Meanwhile, a member of the GCPD by the name of Detective Pierce is feeling pissy because people keep referring to her as part of the “Bat Backup Brigade”. Batman Jr. doesn’t exactly help matters by pulling a double yoink on some evidence taken from a crime scene. Seems something chewed through the gas lines so that gasoline could be syphoned away with ease. As Bruce and Alfred continue on their scavenger hunt, Damian sending them clues while appearing on a green screen to make them think he’s overseas, Batman Jr. heads out the next night in the Batmobile…and it’s at this point I gotta ask a question that has bugged me for some time regarding Damian: How the fuck can he drive?! Now, I don’t mean how does he know how to drive, I can buy that. What I mean is, how the fuck is he physically able to drive? He’s kinda small. Unless he’s pulling a Short Round from Temple of Doom where he’s got boxes stacked on the pedals, this doesn’t seem physically possible.
Anyway, Batman Jr. delivers a purse snatcher to Commissioner Gordon, who is able to tell from his voice that it’s Robin (he’s kinda obscured by the light of the Bat Signal, otherwise it’d be a bit more obvious), but this backs up my theory that there’s not much communication between Tomasi and Morrison since in Batman Incorporated #7, we see that Damian is able to imitate his father’s voice perfectly to trick the Batcave’s voice recognition security. Whatever, small nitpicking aside, we see more of Bruce going on his scavenger hunt as it becomes clear he’s revisiting some of the locations travelled to that would have sentimental value to them and, by extension, to him. It really is touching to consider how much time and effort Damian had to put in to make all this work.
The next night, Batman Jr. saves some people from a burning building and finds the fanged culprit responsible for biting into the gas lines, as well as his partner. And wouldn’t you know it? It’s pansy man from earlier’s daddy, who also has a giant fire spewing robot. Luckily, he turns out to be as big a pushover as his kid, and Batman Jr. brings him down. The next day, Damian meets his father, who tells him he’s well aware that Damian was patrolling solo and using green screen, but he’s not angry. Rather, he’s proud of his son for what he did for him, and has learned at last that he can trust him. I like this, it kind of reminds me of a situation that came up with Tim a few years ago.
This comic is awesomely entertaining. If I HAD to nitpick one other thing besides what I mentioned, it’s that this again is very clearly a Damian story that is also starring Bruce Wayne, not a story starring Batman and Robin equally. I’m hoping it’s something they work on, otherwise the title becomes too misleading. Otherwise, the story is great, artwork is great, and it had a number of ROFL moments for me while reading, so yeah, definitely a recommended comic, especially for those who aren’t too keen on Damian and want to see the better parts of his personality shine through.
Anyhow, next week we return to Earth-2 to see the début of Dr. Fate, we watch Batman fight the League of Smiles in Detective Comics, and because I’m honestly curious as to what the hell they’re gonna do with this, we’re gonna take a look at Young Romance: A New 52 Valentine’s Day Special #1…Why do I get the feeling this is gonna be one of those hard to forget comics that are either really good or REALLY bad? Ja né!