BATMAN AND ROBIN #18

Review by: ghostmann

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889
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Avg Rating: 4.7
 
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Story by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Patrick Gleason & Mick Gray
Colors by John Kalisz
Letters by Taylor Esposito
Cover by Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray, & John Kalisz

Size: 32 pages
Price: 2.99

I have always been weary of people in reviews or comments in which they they say something like, “This comic brought me to tears.” I just never believed that a comic book could really invoke that strong of an emotion as crying. And I’m not saying that the comic medium isn’t worthy of that emotion, there have been many comics that have left me drained or feeling sad but for the most part those feelings come from reading a certain series for a long period of time – like say at the end of Garth Ennis’ Preacher, that final issue was brilliant and very emotional and bittersweet, sad to see that series go – but did I cry? No.

I have never, I repeat NEVER cried from reading a comic book.

I just got done reading Batman & Robin #18 and almost let a tear fall when I reached the end. Almost, not quite waterworks, but dudes, seriously I got choked up when in the comic Bruce reads that letter left for him by Damian on the night he left the Bat Cave to go help fight Leviathan – holy shit that wrecked me. Why? Why out of all the comics I’ve read in my life did this issue bring me the closest to tears that I’ve ever been?

Because I am a father and I am a son.

I have two wonderful kids, 6 and 15 and cherish them more then anything on this Earth. If anything were to happen to them I would be devastated. Crushed. A shell of a man. And my relationship with my own father, as complicated as it can be sometimes, leaves me wanting more – makes me wish more time was spent together just him and I. My own life seeped into this comic and effected me in a way I did not expect.

Bruce’s loss of his son truly impacted me thanks to the dynamic writing and characterization of Damian from Grant Morrison and Peter J. Tomasi. Morrison set the wheels in motion with Damian and created a exuberant, yet defiant, 10 year old that we all grew to love – but it was Tomasi that took the ball and ran with it in Batman & Robin. Since the start of the New 52, and a little before, Tomasi has taken a dysfunctional Father / Son relationship and constructed a compellingly strong bond between them. That bond was severed two weeks ago. A bond, a relationship, a friendship that we will never get to read about and enjoy again.

Bruce Wayne’s son is dead and I think today, with the help of Batman & Robin # 18, I finally grieved for that loss.

“How do we forgive our fathers? Maybe in a dream. Do we forgive our fathers for leaving us too often, or forever, when we were little? Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage, or making us nervous because there never seemed to be any rage there at all? Do we forgive our fathers for marrying, or not marrying, our mothers? Or divorcing, or not divorcing, our mothers? And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness? Shall we forgive them for pushing, or leaning? For shutting doors or speaking through walls? For never speaking, or never being silent? Do we forgive our fathers in our age, or in theirs? Or in their deaths, saying it to them or not saying it. If we forgive our fathers, what is left?” – Sherman Alexie

Story: 5 - Excellent
Art: 5 - Excellent

Comments

  1. Excellent review. I logged in to say almost as much in a review myself, but you’ve already said it better. Very few comics have actually brought me to tears, the ending of Y the last man actually did for me and a few other books here and there, but this did choke me up. the non dialogue was perfect, a moment of silence for a Bruce Wayne’s son. RIP Damian.

    • Thanks workingdead , yeah Y the Last Man was another series that tugged at the old heart strings.

      One thing I wanted to add was this issue is a perfect example of the way comic books can tell a story unlike any other medium – a trait that gets lost in these days of blockbuster movie tie in ‘s and the like – where comics feel the need to come across as story boards to those films.

      If done properly a single comic panel can capture a moment in time and resonate within our minds.

  2. Great review. I commented before I read your review, but yes, as a father, this issue really did wreck me.

    • Thanks kenny. Yeah, to make things even worse I read this issue while at work – I mean how lame would it have been if someone caught me crying while reading a Batman comic book? =)

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