Damian Wayne continues his attempts to atone for his past indiscretions in “Robin: Son of Batman” #4. Written and drawn by Patrick Gleason, inked by Mick Gray, colored by John Kalisz and lettered by Tom Napolitano, this comic splits time between Damian’s search for balance and the threats that await him on that quest. Accompanied by Maya Ducard in the guise of Nobody, Damian journeys to Alexandria to return a set of canopic jars he stole in his younger days.
Gleason provides insight through flashback, giving readers the lowdown on the past sins Damian seeks to balance. That five-page segment is soaked in reds and greens, playing up the contrast between both to highlight the intensity of each color and infuse their pages with the emotions inherent in each shade. Kalisz’s colors are rich and intense throughout the issue but, when the comic cuts to present day, the tones become a bit more muted, with rusty tints climbing into the reds and blues, which bring static to the greens. This isn’t a straightforward superhero adventure; it’s more of an action-adventure-thriller (which is obvious in the story as Nobody refers to Robin as “Indiana”), but Kalisz colors it like a superhero book, full of unreserved, bold color.
Gleason’s script gets a bit wordy in the explanation of the canopic jars origins but, serving as writer and artist, he’s able to make the pages work, packing the dialogue in around the descent into Alexandria’s lower levels. That makes easy work for Tom Napolitano, who simply frames the descent in word balloons. From there, the script is fairly lean, if a bit steeped in the conversation between Nobody, Robin and Deathstroke. Napolitano keeps the art clean and inserts some playful sound effects, serving audio as punctuation to the fighting.
Gleason’s art is still the draw of the comic for me, as he seems to be truly enjoying his assignment now. As the writer, he’s only putting in what he wants to draw, which gives “Robin: Son of Batman” #4 a pulpy, action feel. Despite this title’s climb to four dollars, Gleason gives readers a fight worth the price of admission and the clincher in the battle makes total sense, even if it seems unorthodox.
“Robin: Son of Batman” #4 is another chapter in Robin’s quest to even out his karma and be a good person. With his pet/mascot Goliath in tow for comic relief and Nobody along for snappy dialogue opportunities, this comic is a fun romp through the unknown. The recognition the Robin brand carries offers a bit more leeway to where the story can go, as does Damian’s heritage, and Gleason seems to only skim the surface of story potential and excitement so far. It will be fun to see what other adventures Gleason can dream up for the titular character.