Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Oh, Damian Wayne. What a weird character. Maybe it’s because he debuted as Robin at one of the only times in the last 10 years that I wasn’t regularly reading comics, or maybe it’s just his attitude, but the kid’s an oddball, to say the least. Of course, he’s be written as a weirdo. Born and raised by Talia Al’Ghul, trained as an assassin his whole (ten years of) life. That kind of childhood is bound to leave a mark. But the real focus of this first arc of Batman and Robin hasn’t been Robin, per se. While Peter J. Tomasi has done a stellar job penning the awkward relationship between Bruce Wayne and his son, this arc’s been all about everyones daddy issues. The primary relationship, that of Bruce and Damian, is only a lingering idea behind all of this issue’s events, as Batman and his Robin don’t get any shared panel space.
Damian has teamed up with Morgan Ducard, forced to kill an ambassador Ducard claims has ties to human trafficking. While the tension surrounding Damian’s decision to pull the trigger pretty much fade away when he fires nothing, Ducard makes his deceptive nature truly known (like trolling the planet killin’ Batman Inc. members and dressing up as a character from Neon Genesis Evangelion wasn’t enough). Normally, I’m not a fan of random historical exposition to back-up a story-in-progress, but Bruce’s time with the Ducards father and son works a rich story with minimal detail and drag.
By the end of the issue, Damian reveals that he’s been playing both Bruce and Ducard! Using his past to solidify the believability of his leaving Wayne Manor, and using his shaky relationship with Bruce to leverage Ducard’s trust. It’s a brilliant plot twist, one that could have been written much more lazily. Tomasi has done a great job keeping the story engaging while not burning out readers with constant action or pages of expository dumps.