I was curious to see how things would play out now that Robin has returned from an early grave, with new powers to boot. I can confidently say that I was pleasantly surprised. I was about as eager to read this issue as Damian was to go out on patrol.

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The Dynamic Duo are back on the streets of Gotham, although Robin feels more than capable to venture out on his own. What appears to be a routine robber roundup, turns into a spectacle when the Boy Wonder steals the show. With a barrage of bullets bouncing off of his chest, Damian disarms and dismantles the crook in an extraordinary fashion. It was like something you’d see in the pages of Superman, but this is Batman’s sidekick! Robin undoubtedly has a chip on his shoulder (well in this case, a bullet). He tries to take flight after his performance, but his father grounds him, figuratively and literally.

Gleason doesn’t miss a step with the relationship between the two partners. They basically have a “as long as your in my house, you play by my rules” talk in the Batmobile. It’s a very cool back and forth between the two of them. I even think Batman told a joke at the end of that interaction. Back at home, Damian awakes to some extremely nightmarish images that send him flying out of bed, right through the ceiling which happens to be Alfred’s floor. Pure comedy

Spoiler
The nightmare is hellish to say the least. The surreal images of Talia, Ra’s al Ghul, and the Heretic look like sheer terror. The whole sequence reminds me of Batman & Robin #17, where Damian, Alfred, and Bruce all have dreams/nightmares after the events of Death of the family. This could actually signify the death of his family–the al Ghul family (grandfather, mother, brother).

Gleason’s pencils have produced some of my favorite art out of the Bat titles. Mick Gray and John Kalisz really do a stellar job and making the panels bold and vivrant each issue. That’s no different here. I think the time off between #37 and #38 served them all well. Not to mention that this environment offers more variety than that of Apokolips. Can someone please send HGTV down that way? Thanks. The art also really captures the feel of each scene. Their facial expressions and body language really express a whole lot that may not have been conveyed with words. The panel of a hooded Robin outside the Manor makes me recall a similar scene in an earlier book. The panels are virtually similar with completely different endings.

Spoiler
Damian standing in the graveyard is a not only a pivotal moment in the book, but for the character in general. A battle has ensued within Damian since his first encounter with his father. Nature vs nurture. Raised as an assassin, he would not hesitate to kill a man as simple as one would kill a bug. But here stands Damian, as he carves his mother’s name into a tombstone. He beat death. He defeated Talia, his mother. He fought for something bigger than himself. Flying in front of a full moon à la Batman in the Batwing, it is now young Damian who casts his shadow across the city. A chance to create his own legacy. He had truly come full circle

The young Wayne heads out to blow off some steam, and makes a few stops along the way before returning home. I thought it was a fitting closure to a long arduous journey and we get a pretty rad cameo out of it as well

Spoiler
The prodigal son revisits his birthplace and destroys the cloning devices that helped Talia create her monsters. The visit to Atlantis and an appearance by Aquaman was unexpected, but very welcomed. His Batman and ________ team up was one of my favorites. Damian releasing the clones, his brothers, seemed to bring the young man some inner peace. Who knows, maybe they’ll help Robin out someday in the future

Recommended if:

  • You’re interested in a super-powered Robin
  • You’ve been following this title for awhile
  • Excited for the future of Batman & Robin

Overall:

Honestly, this issue felt like the annual issues, which I really loved. A sweet short story that brought closure to what we the readers and the Dynamic Duo had been through. Plus the Flash 75 variant cover made it feel like I picked up some sort of anniversary issue. It’s a beautiful, fun read that you definitely don’t want to miss. The lower price tag than last month’s grand finale made me feel like I got it for a steal.

SCORE: 10/10

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