I could write this review without spoilers but I'm not going to because that's no fun for me, so if you're someone who's reading this review to make up their mind about whether to read this comic or not, I'm not recommending this one - in fact, Damian Son of Batman might be the year's worst Batman comic. Ok, if you're still reading I'm going to assume you've either read this issue or don't mind spoilers (bless you), so here we go. To quickly recap the major points of the first issue, Batman dies in an explosion set by the Joker and Robin is so distraught he goes on supervillain social media (really) to track down and kill a number of Batman's rogues gallery. Except the final page reveal shows that Bruce Wayne is still alive! Whaa?! It turns out the Batman who died was actually Dick Grayson. This issue will have you going back to re-read the first issue again just to see whether that makes any sense and in hindsight it does - Damian repeatedly says "Batman's dead" or "I killed Batman" and so on, rather than "Father's dead" which is how he refers to Bruce (even if Dick's dialogue is very unlike his character and more in keeping with Bruce's). Damian's distraught attitude over Dick's death is fair enough, the two were partners at one point and had become good friends - what doesn't make sense is Bruce's response which is to try and kill Damian! At least that's what it seems like. Bruce lunges at Damian saying things like "I'm here to end it, Damian. NOW!", "I'm finishing this... RIGHT NOW!", and "I'm going to make damn sure it doesn't happen again!". It's not even the death of his first adopted son that's made Bruce want to kill his only biological son, it's that Damian's been thinning out his rogues gallery! Imagine that - the death of B-list crooks like Jackanapes and Killer Croc are enough to make Bruce want to kill, or at least severely cripple, his only blood son! It doesn't make any sense - is Kubert saying his rogues mean more to him than his son? Sure, Damian's gone against Bruce's one big rule but Bruce's response is absurd. Damian then visits the church from the first issue and goes to confession again to the Commissioner Gordon-lookalike priest. So is Damian Catholic now and when did that happen? And is that Gordon or not? It must be, otherwise why would be seeing so much of this character? And if so, when did Gordon give up on the GCPD to become a priest? The point of this four issue mini-series is supposed to show how Damian goes from being Robin to becoming Batman but by the second issue he's already done it. That weird outfit of his with the massive upturned collar and swirling trench-coat-esque design? It's just there. There's no showing Damian designing it or choosing it's look for any specific purpose, it simply already exists, he just puts it on and he's Batman. Superficially anyway - he still has to learn the morals of Batman, after murdering several people(!). There's an excruciating-to-read Joker scene with Bruce. Joker's dressed up as a nurse (seemingly one of his favourite costumes given the number of times we've seen a Joker nurse) and adopts a Southern accent. I really wish Joker didn't have that stupid accent because you're forced to read dialogue like this "Blood pressah is up a bit. You haven't been watchin' yah salt intake, have you, Mistah Wayne?", panel after panel. Just write it normally, Andy, in this case the idiosyncrasies don't add to the comic, they detract from it. And while the art is decent, Damian's character design is one more confusing quality about the book. We knew him as a young teenager but in this series he's clearly much older, probably late teens if not early 20s, given the way Kubert's drawn him. But why would Damian be content to play at being Robin, clearly a childish role and outfit, well into his teens and early adulthood? The way his character was written, it would seem he would choose a more edgy, grown-up persona first chance he got. Even the cover doesn't make sense - you've got Damian as Batman looking like a man standing behind Damian as Robin holding the cowl looking like a boy. How does Damian's body type shift so much so quickly? It's so bizarre. Andy Kubert joins Neal Adams as a great Batman artist (though to be fair, not nearly as great as Adams is) who can't write an even halfway decent Batman comic. He's an artist, not a writer, and his two issues of Damian and his Joker one-shot only further underline this. Damian Son of Batman #2 is an absolutely terrible comic and easily one of the worst Batman books of the year. Published by DC, Damian Son of Batman #2 by Andy Kubert is out now
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I reads and watches thems picture stories. Wordy words follow.
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