Robin, Batman, Talia, and Maya in a race against time to stop Suren Darga from literally ending the world. Specifics aside, this is a story we have all seen/read a thousand times over. A group of heroes coming together in spite of their differences to save the world from a calamity it didn’t even know it faced. It stands as the go to stock-in-trade for writers everywhere. As they say, the devil is in the details, and it is usually these details that make these stories stand out from the rest of the pack. I wish I could say that this was one of those stories, but aside from a single memorable moment, I feel that this is a story destined to slip into the obscurity of comic book history.
At the climax of our last chapter, our heroes were on their way to Dinosaur Island. How relevant is Dinosaur Island to the actual issue? Not…at…all… It’s a shame really, because with all the weird stuff going on, it feels a lot more like a Golden Age story anyway. Why not embrace that and show our heroes fighting dinosaurs? Even the cover of this issue promises a rip-roaring good time as Damian resists Rex’s desire to turn him into brunch. Instead, we are given Damian swimming through magical lava and fighting otherworldly flying worms with teeth. Granted, either prospect is ludicrous in the modern sense of the gritty street-level vigilantism that the stories have come to embody, but I’d still opt for dinosaurs over amalgamous sandworms any day of the week.
Damian provides a pretty concise summation of this issue’s contents.
This story just has too many goofy made up things for me to take it seriously. “Watch as I use the Sankara Stones to summon forth Gozer the Gozerian, who will then call upon the disembodied spirit of Hans Gruber to cut your heart out with a spoon.” (Although, that actually has merit.) Granted, the proceeding issues were filled with just as much hogswallop, but this time around, we aren’t given much more in the way of entertainment than fisticuffs and fantasy. It left me feeling fairly disconnected from the story. That is, until Damian provided a diamond-in-the-rough moment that was well worth the cost of admission. (click at your own risk, because I am about to spoil the best moment in the issue.)
Damian realizes that defeating Darga is not enough. Damian needs him to undo the chain of events that he has set in motion. Damian talks to Darga, empathizing with him on the difficulties involved in winning a father’s approval. About feeling alone and unloved. Pointing out that they are more alike than he realizes and that he needs to make his own choices, out from under the shadow of his father. Darga ends up identifying with Damian, and once he undoes the magic that will end the world, he turns to Damian:
IT WAS A TOTAL FAKE OUT! How awesome is that? Here I was, being drawn into Damian’s moving speech, and it was all a ploy to fool Darga. And he bought it hook, line, and sinker. Admittedly, Damian says that he identified with Darga a little bit, but to use that commonality to undermine your foe instead of genuinely seeking to better him is some seriously hardcore stuff right there. Damian is an awesomely heartless little rapscallion.
Art for this issue is handled by Ramon Bachs, and to be honest, I don’t really have anything more to say about his work at this time. So instead of droning on and just filling space, I’m going to move on.
Odds and Ends:
- I wasn’t too keen on the comic insinuating that Damian considers Goliath and Maya more of a family to him than his own father.
- The Dinosaur Island visited in this issue is the “real” Dinosaur Island from the DC Universe. As in, the one from Star-Spangled War Stories. However, when you have the names Batman&Robin in conjunction with Dinosaur Island, the thing that should immediately jump to mind is Batman #35 from 1946. In the story, Batman and Robin become entangled in an adventure at a dinosaur themed amusement park, where all the dinosaurs are animatronic and not real at all. This is a very important moment for any Batman fan to be aware of because it is where he got the famous T-Rex robot, which has been a staple of the Batcave’s decorations for decades.
- You want to see Damian pull the wool over Darga’s eyes, and ours as well.
- You like stock-stories where heroes defeat villains and save the world.
This pretty much falls in line with what I have come to expect from the DC books while otherwise waiting for Rebirth to get here. It’s entertaining enough, but lacks any kind of real significance: all flash with little substance. Oddly enough, while most everyone else is wrapping up their stories and presenting fresh titles come June, Robin: Son of Batman has one more issue coming out on June 22nd. To be honest, I’m not really sure why DC felt the need to extend this filler story past the beginning of Rebirth. Seems to me this could have easily been wrapped up right here and now. But maybe I’ll be blindsided by a truly fantastic finale. I’m not holding my breath or anything…but it could happen.
SCORE: 6 / 10