Let’s start out with a big spoiler for anybody who hasn’t read any kind of Batman comic in the last year… Damian Wayne died and he took the ‘Batman Incorporated‘ title with him in one final battle to the death with the Leviathan and his own mother. Bruce wallowed in self pity for a long time, teaming with a different partner every month in ‘Batman & …..‘ titles until Nightwing finally brought him to him senses only for Grandad Ra’s Al Ghul to come along and steal the bodies of both mother and son and that brings us up-to-date with Robin due to rise at any moment.
‘Robin Rises Omega‘ is a one-shot (well two-shot) issue that will lead in to the overall ‘Rises’ arc which runs through ‘Batman & …..’ until December and closes with #2 also in December presumably with Damian alive and back in costume. We’ll have to wait and see.
The issue opens with a great recap of the life of Damian – much more expansive than ours above – which will bring any new reader up to speed on the conception, birth, life, death and post-death tale of the young Wayne which really drives home the emotional impact that the death has had on Bruce and also the journey he has been through himself over the past few years.
Immediately you’re struck by the depth of Kubert’s artwork, coloured by Brad Anderson, which takes on a more artistic style during these opening panels before the present day story begins. Printed on black paper these scenes are reminiscent of comic art you would see in a gallery than in your regular monthly comic. None of this is to say the art in the modern day scenes is sub-par as this issue shows a great Kubert flare that accentuates the mood of the story.
The fight scenes get a little overcrowded but I would say this is less of an artistic choice and in fact tied to the script which clearly calls for Batman, Ra’s and Frankenstein to be overwhelmed for much of the story. This only increases when the Justice League arrive later in the story but overall there’s a scope to this title which is required for the $4.99 price-tag.
The script for this issue calls for a lot of emotion with Batman pretty annoyed throughout that his son’s body is again being stolen from him, overall there’s a lot of angst going on between all the characters in play and that is evident throughout all of the dialogue. Peter Tomasi does something totally unexpected, though that may be stupidity on my part, which his to tie this story in to the New 52 introduction of the Justice League and their first meeting with Darkseid rather than just involving him as a villain overall. The Batman titles have always had a knack for existing on their own slightly with brief appearances by other Leaguers scattered throughout but here we have an all out tying up of the DC Comics universe which is pretty cool to see.
This is a great gateway story for anybody entering the Batman/DC universe as it defines a lot of the major players be it via the dialogue or by visuals only and doesn’t require a huge amount of pre-reading research to pick up the story. As a fan of Damian I’m still a little torn between whether I want to see him alive again or whether he should be left in the grave but then it’s still not a guarantee he will leave this story alive again.
A great read and perfect kick-off to a new arc.