You know it’s not the real Batman that Damian is fighting and I know it’s not the real Batman that Damian is fighting, so what are we doing here?
I had hoped that this fake Father vs. son battle wouldn’t last very long and something more surprising would happen in this issue, bu it doesn’t. The fight drags on throughout the entire comic until we get to what is basically the same teaser for Batman #17 that ended Batgirl #16 today as well. It’s a page that’s going to conclude every Bat-family tie-in this month and it almost makes it feel like it isn’t worth picking up any of these tie-ins this month since we can all guess how they’ll all end from just reading one of them.
Last month’s Batman & Robin was awesome. It has some of the most disturbing imagery of the whole Death of the Family crossover and it had some fun dialogue between Joker and Damian. However, it also ended in a rather unpromising shot of a Jokerized Batman rising up to pummel Robin. Since everyone who reads these comics knows that Batman is at Arkham Asylum right now and the Joker wouldn’t possibly waste a meeting with Batman to do something like this, the drama of whether a father would kill his son or vice versa falls flat. Damian’s over dramatic dialogue sounds out of character if anything. So it’s page after page of Damian trying to get his “dad” to snap out of it and recognize that they aren’t enemies all while Joker sits in a corner and laughs. I couldn’t help but wonder why Damian wasn’t paying more attention to the Joker or why he couldn’t recognize that this definitely wasn’t his father, but…whatever. He did toss one batarang in Joker’s direction at least.
The comic absolutely flies by since it’s only one overlong fight scene, but thankfully the visuals are cool to look at. Not as good as last month’s installment but still nice. Nothing creative was done with Joker’s face this time around, but you’ll still see plenty of insects and gnarly closeups of Mr. J and the Jokerized “Batman” to satisfy you. That giant egg still makes an appearance, however and I just don’t get that. What sort of bird lays an egg that size, honestly? Did we need a giant egg in this scene especially when Tomasi is trying so hard for Damian’s emotional pleas to resonate?
There’s not a lot under the surface here. Last issue we had shocking, creepy, and creative imagery and good dialogue. This time we have shot after shot of a fake Batman trying to throttle Robin followed by variations on the lines “Hahahahaa” and “Stop fighting, it’s me Robin!” all leading up to a final teaser page that’s one big advertisement for Batman #17.