Imagine being dead, but waking up to find out you have the powers of Superman. Talk about an identity crisis, or at the very least questioning your humanity. Well that just happened to Robin, aka Damian Wayne, but to make matters worse it’s all going to his head. Just a typical issue for fathers of pre-teens. Is it good?
Batman and Robin #39 (DC Comics)
This issue does two things very well, the first of which is Batman explaining to Damian how he thinks Damian acquired these new powers. It’s comic book gobbledygook of an explanation, but it’s an explanation nonetheless. The second thing is how well writer Peter J. Tomasi captures the teen angst flowing from Robin and the parenting angle Batman is taking to shape his boy.
That image of Batman is epic in how fatherly he looks.
Tomasi does a great job pacing this issue out and by issue’s end if you don’t feel like you got your money’s worth you’re persuing the wrong type of entertainment. We get another sequence of Robin breaking the rules with his powers to open the book as he captures nearly all of Batman’s rogues gallery. The fact that he uses his powers yet again later in the issue just proves he’s disobeying his father and unable to grow up. The fact that Tomasi has expertly made this father/son relationship so damn compelling is a testament to his writing.
He explores Robin’s immaturity further when he brings Shazam into things—the ultimate case of a manchild confused about his identity. They talk, and Tomasi uses Shazam to show that in a lot of ways Damian is more mature, at least more guarded, and this makes him a harder shell to crack. It’s a great scene and it makes you wonder why we haven’t seen these two characters converse before.
Who’s the real parent here Bruce, you or Alfred?
Artist Patrick Gleason does a good job with this issue and it’s always changing location. By my count it’s four different scenes, but they flow very nicely and it’s never jarring. In one sequence Damian and Bruce are going fishing and while it’s filled to the brim with dialogue you, won’t even notice. Gleason keeps the pages interesting by always giving us an expert facial expression to show what they might be thinking. This is especially important in this scene since there’s some heavy topics being discussed.
How is that thing still powered on?
Is It Good?
This issue keeps things interesting by focusing on the most interesting thing about this series: the father/son relationship.