If you’ve been following Batman and Robin for some time or just happened to pick up the previous annuals, then you know that these have been exceptional pieces in Tomasi’s run. They’ve been filled emotion and great, fun moments between the Dynamic Duo. The first annual had Bruce on a wild goose chase that took him down memory lane while Damian patrolled Gotham as a mini-Batman. The second annual occurred shortly after Robin’s death. The original Robin, Dick Grayson, made an appearance to reflect on an old enemy of his after receiving a post-mortem gift from Damian. The third annual has our recently reunited (and non-powered) crime fighters taking their talents to the dark side of the moon!
The issue continues the tradition of portraying the relationship between Batman and Robin very well. Here’s a restless kid who has been trained by a league of assassins (aptly named the League of Assassins), resurrected from the dead, and possessed similar abilities to Superman, and now he’s supposed to return to his “normal” life in Gotham. Of course, normal for Damian means fixing a Justice League transponder so he can go annoy his father who’s on watch at the JL Tower.
To be quite honest, if I received an invitation to the Justice League satellite HQ from “Supes” and the means to get there, I’d find every excuse I could to visit. I’d probably be in awe of just being there, but Damian quickly makes himself at home, raiding the fridge to find something for Titus and examining monitors at the station. Robin’s curiosity pays off, however, prompting a mission for Gotham’s finest right there on the moon.
What really works in my opinion for this issue was the display of some detective work and a bit of a history lesson. Batman takes the time to discuss a few details of the Apollo missions as they make their approach to investigate what’s happening at the abandoned NASA landing. I found myself getting sidetracked and looking up Apollo mission information, but that just might be on account of my horrible attention span. The detective work comes after a close encounter (of the 3rd kind) with the creatures who now occupied the old lunar module. It’s moreso just dialogue between Batman and Robin, but I view Damian (and Jason) to be the “bang bang, smash ’em up” type compared to their detective counterparts, so it was nice to see Damian utilize those skills. Things quickly turn sour as the duo gets to the heart of the problem and it becomes a race against time.
There were several individuals on art duties for this annual. Juan Jose Ryp handled most of the art himself, with help from two others on inks. The art wasn’t exactly my favorite. I enjoyed that most of the panels were very detailed, and there were a few spectacular splashes within the book. I just didn’t like some of the facial expressions or the flow of Batman and Robin’s capes, to be specific. I know, minor things to whine about, but that’s just my opinion. As a child, I missed out on what was supposedly the greatness of Ed, Edd, and Eddy because I couldn’t stand the animation, so go figure. Some pages looked a bit better than others to me, but overall I liked how the pages came out, especially the moon scenes. My biggest annoyance with the panels was how Titus looked. His eyes kept changing from white to yellow and vice versa. Also, his eyes in general had a very goofy feel to them. It was like reading an issue of B&R with special guest star Marmaduke. I think I’ve just been spoiled by Patrick Gleason’s pencils.
- You’ve enjoyed the previous annuals
- You wish you a father/son moment on the moon
- Batman and Robin punching aliens sounds rad
- You want to see Titus give his best Marmaduke impression
Batman and Robin has always been one of my favorite titles in DC’s stable so it’s sad to see it go. At least it ended on a high note. What do you do when you reach the top? Go even higher. This issue took our heroes to space and showed us they can still hold their own. No need for big revelations or cliffhangers, just an average day in the life of the Dark Knight and the Boy Wonder.