I’m going to go ahead an spoil it for you: this is an excellent issue. Go ahead, quit reading this review and pick up a copy right now. I hope you all had a great Batman Day!
This issue picks up exactly where Robin Rises: Omega left off. It claims to be “Part One” by the banner on the Gleason cover, but practically this isn’t the case. In my mind this is more like part 33 with a few annuals and one-shots sprinkled in, but I guess it’s a practical marketing technique to give a beginning to “Robin Rises”, and so this shall be.
Last issue Bruce decides he’s going to Apokolips to get Damian’s body and hopefully bring him back to life with the Chaos Shard. Or is it the Chaos Sliver? Glorious Godfrey refers to it as the “Chaos Shard” during last issue’s confrontation but this time it’s the “Chaos Sliver”. It’s not that deep, but it’s either a clear distinction between the two objects or a mistake by an editor. Regardless, Bruce is headed to Apokolips and the rest of the Justice League doesn’t want him to go. Bruce looks menacing as ever on the very first page. You don’t even have to read the word bubble to know what he’s saying, and that’s great. Great job Mr. Gleason.
The team takes turns expressing to Batman why (though he is always right and always thinks ahead) he’s actually wrong this time, that he’s actually being motivated by emotions and acting irrationally. It’s a great way of delving into Bruce’s thoughts without realizing Tomasi is posing questions to Batman that he wants us to hear. There’s a moment during all this discussion where Cyborg tries to tell Batman he’s wrong, and in the manner of an older, wiser man, he places his hand on Batman’s shoulder. It took me a second to remember that Cyborg is actually very young. Then I understood why he did it.
Bruce and the Justice League continue their discussion in a different locale and makes some incredibly good points about superheroes in general and Batman specifically. I won’t spoil all that’s said because I believe Tomasi does a superb job revealing to us Batman’s inner and outer struggle with the loss of his son, the approach of Apokolips, and philosophical ramifications of interjecting into others’ lives. There is, however, one important thing I need mention before we continue.
We also get to hear from Superman this issue! Since Batman/Superman has been delayed until Christmas 2056 I’m glad to see them interact. However, as happy as I am to see the man in the red and blue, it compares very little to the big reveal. You see…
It felt like there were so many more “moments” in this issue ($2.99 32-page) than the Robin Rises: Omega ($4.99 48-page) issue. We are treated to a wide variety of individuals with near-perfect characterizations that made this issue feel…filling. The artwork is Gleason-strong, always bringing emotion to his work to further a story. I really liked this issue.
- You are following Robin Rises.
- You like a prepared Bruce.
- You wanna see some really cool reveals.
A very strong character-oriented issue, Batman & Robin #33 outshines Robin Rises: Omega in my opinion in terms of value and substance. A large supporting cast helps shed light on both Bruce’s intentions and the bigger Apokolips/Darkseid threat. There isn’t much to complain about at all here, and in fact, very much to get excited about. I’m ready for next month!