Review – Batman and Robin #33 (Robin Rises – Part One) (DC Comics)

IMG_0337 - CopyPublisher: DC Comics
Writer: Peter J Tomasi
Artists: Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray
Released: 23rd July, 2014

Considering that we’ve no less than three big events going on in the Bat-verse now – Eternal, Year One, and now Robin Rises – you could honestly forgive one of them for lapsing just a little bit, so long as it’s supported by the others. In fact, whilst I’ve been reading and enjoying Peter J Tomasi’s exploration of a Bat broken by grief and rage, actually going down what seems to be the standard route of resurrecting Robin after the events of Incorporated didn’t really seem like the best idea, given how exceptional both that, and this resulting story was.

So yeah, my hopes for this Robin Rises thing weren’t exactly high, but after an absolutely cracking ‘Omega’ issue – which featured a surprisingly deft balance between serious drama and slightly goofy action, as well as Andy Kubert’s exceptional pencils, and ends with Bats giving Shazam a few well-earned punches to the face, the smug little (big?) shite – we pick up right where that left off, with series regular Patrick Gleason back behind the graphite, and this side quest is clearly going somewhere interesting, and more importantly, hugely entertaining.

Gleason’s art is – as it has been since issue #1 of this New 52 reboot – outstanding, particularly his layouts, which’re perfectly paced and weighted. His sense of character placement and motion, particularly in the action sequences, but even the more dramatic moments, is second-to-none, and his splash pages are exceptional. Of particular note this issue is the introduction of the ‘Hellbat’ – which is as awesome-looking as it sounds, and I’ll say no more – and the final panel, where the plot, she thickens most brilliantly, and it’s all accentuated beautifully with Mick Gray’s muted colour palette. Then there’s that cover, which pretty much sums Batman up note perfectly – nothing, not all the might of the world, can hold him back.

Tomasi’s take on Batman as a father figure is always fascinating, and he has a particularly great command of Bats’ quieter moments – see issue #18 if you want proof of that; an issue that’s not got a single line of dialogue, and yet puts across the pain and grief of losing Robin in a gorgeously heart-wrenching manner. For this issue, that moment is shared with his buddy Clark, and it’s a cute wee moment that, given that final panel, will have you smirking at how it’s subverted neatly by the ever pro-active Batman.

Much as it’s yet another resurrection story in the DCU, it would seem that this one is attempting to pack a little more emotional oomph with its choice of writer, and it’s not failing in that regard. Backed up by great art from Gray and Gleason, if you were looking for a moment to tag on to this death of Robin malarkey, you’re not like to find a better one for a while.

Rating: 4/5.

The writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24

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