Batman maintains one of the most popular and recognizable characters in comics alongside Superman and a few others, but no sidekick has gotten as much popularity and recognition as Robin. Through the years there have been not only different takes on the character, but also different people taking up the mantle. With the New 52 take on the story they had continued working to build the relationship with Batman and his son, the latest Robin Damien. Now the story continues with the latest collection Batman and Robin Volume 2: Pearl from the creative team of Peter J. Tomsai, Patrick Gleason, and Mick Gray.
In this latest collection it is obvious that Damien still has a long way to go before he is accepted into Gotham’s crime fighting family. Determined Robin decides to pick a fight with the former Robins in hopes to secure his mantle whether it’s needed or not, but can he also live up to the standards set by those to prepare him for the return of the Joker? While the story here keeps with the dark tone, it is probably the lighter of the other series letting the focus be more on the slow building relationship of Bruce and Damien as they try to not only learn to be partners, but father and son. This is a learning situation for both of them and one that has allowed the creators to let Batman get a bit out of character and show emotions fans don’t often see. While there is plenty of action in this story arc it’s this growing relationship that is the real star culminating in a moment at the end that explains the growth of both of their relationships perfectly. The Damien character is interesting as it shouldn’t be believable that a ten year old is as an effective killing machine as he is, but the character is written so well that you buy into it with little effort.
The art isn’t as dark and gritty as some of the other Batman books, but the clean style adds the needed emotional depth to tell this story. This beautiful hardcover collection not only features issues 9-14, but also issue 0 of this great series, as well as some beautiful looks at some of the penciled pages by Gleason, character designs, and pages from the script. Be sure to grab your copy of this great graphic novel along with Batman and Robin Volume 1: Born to Kill.
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