If each comic starring Batman has its own particular voice and style, then “Batman and Robin” has gone for the unexpected; instead of being the out-there, crazy Grant Morrison comic, it’s now the warm, comfortable Batman comic. But you know what? We need that.
Unlike “Batman,” “Detective Comics,” or “Batman: The Dark Knight,” “Batman and Robin” is taking a less grim and dark approach. That’s not to say that it’s all giggles and light-heartedness, but rather “Batman and Robin” is going for a slightly more traditional take on the character. It has spots of darkness, but it’s not unrelentingly so. Rather, it’s tempered in a way that gives Peter J. Tomasi room to explore the relationship between Batman and Robin, and that’s the best part of “Batman and Robin” #2.
In the grand scheme of things, even though he’s been around for several years, Damian Wayne is a relatively new character. Watching his Robin interact with Batman is entertaining, in part because while Bruce is great at a lot of things, being a father figure is not his strongest suit for someone as needy and defiant as Damian. Alfred’s coaching tips come across just right; not too obvious, but not out of the blue either. You can buy that Bruce is making these mistakes with Damian, and that repercussions are no doubt around the bend as a direct result.
It helps that Tomasi writes a good Damian Wayne (something a lot of writers haven’t quite managed); he’s snide and self-assured, but not over the top either. He’s not quite a little monster, but he’s certainly no angel. And when Patrick Gleason draws that opening splash of Damian leaping out at the reader? Well, it’s clear that Gleason gets the character too. We’re getting just the right level of arrogance in the comic, and Damian continues to be the kind of character that you love to hate.
Gleason’s art, as always, is fun. He and Tomasi worked well together on “Green Lantern Corps” and they’re meshing well here, too. The long horizontal panels when Batman and Robin beat up the felons are perfect; they’ve got an elegance in how the pair take down the bad guys, and there’s a strong sense of motion. And in an industry that values tight, hyper-detailed comics, it’s refreshing to be reminded that there’s always room for a clean, open line to show you how it’s done.
“Batman and Robin” is a pleasant middle-ground Bat-comic, one that stakes itself out in the center of the Bat-spectrum. There’s always room for a comic like “Batman and Robin,” and it’s nice to see Tomasi and Gleason doing such a good job on the book.