Patrick Gleason delves deeper into the lore of Damian Wayne, the biological son of Batman, and heir to the Bat-throne. At least that’s how he would see it. The pompous preteen progresses on his journey to right the wrongs of his past with the help of an unlikely sidekick, Maya Ducard, the daughter of an enemy from Batman’s past that Damian killed.

The use of flashbacks and the pairing with Maya aka Nobody II (a name that even she admits is stupid) serve well to show just how far Damian has come along since arriving in Gotham and breaking away from his maternal side of the family. He’s come so far that now he’s The one offering advice on how to become a better person. Robin and Nobody constantly bicker and even square off in this issue, but the truth is they’re both finding themselves as they try to ecsape the shadows of their fathers (and mother & grandfather in Robin’s case).

Year of Blood pt. 3 Opens with a flashback to Day 73 of Damian’s malicious year under the guidance of the al Ghul’s. Damian is quite handy with tools as we see him tinkering with a sonic emitter, the same skull shaped whistle that he uses for Goliath his pet bat griffin. A quick test of his trinket emits a high pitch frequency that pierces the ears of numerous bats shown in Damian’s lair, rendering them useless as they plummet towards the ground. With more of this story yet to be explored, I wonder if this test was to prepare for acquiring Goliath or for his first encounter with his father, the Batman. Either way, these early scenes of Damian al Ghul’s are a stark contrast to the son of Batman that we see throughout the rest of the book. Even the way that he talks to his servants/teachers can make one cringe at how unbearable Damian was (although he still talks to Ravi in a harsh tone, Damian has improved in his people skills).

A hilarious moment after their fight. Damian, of course, did not find the humor in the moment
A hilarious moment after their fight. Damian, of course, did not find the humor in the moment

This issue’s mission was to unseal a cave in the side of a mountain that Damian was ordered to seal after removing a crystal from its depths. With Nobody II in tow, the task proved to be more difficult than anticipated. The duo is pursued relentlessly by the civilization that resides in the cave as they desperately clamor for the return of their beloved crystal. Robin and Nobody bicker as Goliath darts across the sky in a manic manner resulting in a rough landing for all three. The two young protagonists have had their fill of each other’s nagging and engage in hand to hand combat. The scene was great as they really let loose, yelling as they trade blows with one another. Through their rage feel moment, we reach an underlying problem that sort of plagues the both of them: daddy issues. More so for Maya, as she wonders why her dad didn’t invest time into her like he did his work, or even the time he invested into Damian (Batman and Robin: Born to Kill). Chasing after father’s ghost has Maya confused and conflicted. Surprisingly, it’s Damian Wayne who offers sound advice for her to follow. It’s nice to see that Damian has learned and grown from his time in Gotham with the Bat-family, and the bond that’s slowly forming between him and Maya is a nice touch for the young crime fighter. I wonder if the planned dynamic between Damian and Carrie Kelley was similar to the relationship between Damian and Maya. Carrie’s a little older than Maya, but imagined the pairing would have the same purpose. It helps refine Damian as a person, and maybe since he and Maya are close in age, a possible future love interest. If he can finish losing his baby teeth, of course.

Spoiler
Part of Damian’s advice was that Maya didn’t have to take on the Nobody persona. That was her father’s thing. A man that was obsessed and on the wrong path. His past didn’t need to be her burden. She saved the people in South America last issue and helped calm down Goliath in this one, something her father never would have done. Given a new outlook on life, she turned down an offer from an unknown source, looking to get paid for scheduled assassination. Unbeknownst to Robin, that offer she declined was from world renowned assassin, Slade Wilson–Deathstroke. Trouble is headed their way and I am stoked for this Robin to go up against Deathstroke.

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Gleason and company, in my opinion, always have phenomenal panels in their work. His design of Damian ranks amongst one of my favorites, and the scenes with Goliath always look great. There should really be a children’s book with Damian and Goliath called Damian & Goliath (or My Pet Bat Griffin That’s Totally NOT a Man-Bat). Gleason’s characters are very expressive and I love the way he handles action scenes. I always get a kick out of seeing Robin do his rapid punch combo. There’s also the panel after Robin gets his tooth knocked out, where he gives a grin that looks similar to Batman’s maniacal grin in Frank Miller’s All-Star Batman & Robin. Never one to shy away from the eerie stuff, there’s a sequence where the recently resurrected Talia is having her memories restored. The pages look dark and mystical as previous images that Gleason has drawn swirl around Talia in her pool of memories. It’s a mysterious scene that ends in Talia finding what appears to be the source of the Lazarus Pits, prompting her to yell Ra’s name out anguish or anger. Not sure yet.

The Lazurus Heart
The Lazurus Heart

Recommended if:

  • You want to see Robin and Nobody II throw down
  • You want a cute adventure starring a deadly assassin

Overall:

I’m a big fan of Damian, so I enjoy mostly anything with him in it (when written well). Not as strong as the first two issues, this one was still a great read. There’s still a lot of background to be explored on Goliath and this ominous ‘Year of Blood’ which I’m excited for. The rocky relationship between Damian and Maya is cute, and it serves well in contrast to showcase how far Damian has come along in his journey. It felt like watching your little brother or cousin growing up and getting a girlfriend even though he insists that she’s gross and riddled with cooties. I’m anticipating the story to really take off after the next issue.

SCORE: 7.5 / 10