Well that was a very well drawn issue of Iron Man.
Seriously though, Gleason and Gray provide some pretty fun and highly detailed imagery here and the issue is action packed. One panel of Batman and Robin ready to throw their batarangs was especially cool, but Gleason and Gray’s talents are wasted on this comic. The story is awful. If your Batman story has Batman dawn an Iron Man suit so he can fight a purple Juggernaut in a loincloth all while Robin battles a 3-headed worm, then your Batman story sucks.
Terminus is never explained. We never know what his problem is with Batman, how he got all of this high tech equipment, or why he would choose glass helmet + loincloth as his costume. As much as I praise Gleason, the design of Terminus is just silly. The villains of Batman & Robin are pretty hit-or-miss in general. For every Nobody or White Knight there’s an Absence or Terminus there to make me roll my eyes.
And forget about the whole War of the Robins thing. Ya know, the storyline that actually made fans perk up? The idea of having Damian challenge each Robin was interesting and new and… it has totally been squandered. Yet another unique storyline that’s tossed right out the window here. Sure Dick, Jason, and Tim (whose peacock costume and Red Robin name are a joke) show up but it’s to wrap up the “war” in an overly convenient way that’s totally uninteresting.
The intervention of the other Bat-allies (other than to wrap the “Robin War”) is unnecessary really. At no point did I feel that the situation was out of Batman or Robin’s control. The cops didn’t even feel the need to step in– something that always bugs me in these city under siege plots. All the police offers just hang back and watch Batman do everything when that’s not how it should be. The cops should still be doing something. Anything. Gordon should never be watching from the sidelines and if he has to be, then he should be narrating the story. Instead, he hangs back behind a barricade until all the bad guys are in one spot and then he drops a “taser web” which has to be the best worst idea for crowd control I’ve ever seen.
Now back to my Iron Man comments: I’m not exaggerating.
First of all, Batman’s already kicking
Juggernaut Terminus’ ass. There wasn’t a single moment in which I felt he needed help or extra armor. Then, all of a sudden he hops in the batmobile and it instantly assembles a suit of armor around him before spitting him back out. So why do I have a problem with a robot suit here and not the Owl-Buster armor from Snyder and Capullo’s Batman? Because their armor fit into the story. Batman had to put that on. The enemy wasn’t just at the gates, the enemy (a whole group of undead ninjas) was inside the batcave and Bruce was unarmed. His only refuge was the armory and in that armory was a huge suit of armor. Batman resorting to it made sense. In Batman & Robin, our hero flees to his robot suit immediately after delivering a crippling blow to Terminus. The only reason for having a robot suit seems to be that Batman needed to fly at the end of the story. Had he waited and put it on at that specific scene, I would’ve been fine with it. But for Bats to instantly resort to something like this makes him look pretty lame. Why not just wear this armor all the time?
And speaking of Batman needing to fly at the end, let me give some spoilers:
Overall it’s quite a mess. I mean, there is some cool art, the full page shot of Batman flying in front of the sun is really awesome to behold but the story is terrible. The Born to Kill saga was well orchestrated, but this arc feels like it was sloppily thrown together at the last minute. A glass helmet and a loin cloth? Really?