Although Robin doesn’t leap into battle alongside Batman, this title has reverted to its original brand, with the Justice League stepping in to challenge Batman’s logic in “Batman and Robin” #33, written by Peter J. Tomasi and drawn by Patrick Gleason, with inks from Mick Gray, colors from John Kalisz and letters by Carlos M. Mangual. Following the events of “Robin Rises: Omega,” Batman is left aghast, desperate to pursue the forces of Apokolips in order to reclaim his son from their clutches.
With the post-“Forever Evil” Justice League and Frankenstein present at the open of “Batman and Robin” #33, Tomasi herds a large cast, but maintains control, giving each character a chance to contribute to the tale or speak their piece. The writer even works in a visit from Superman, giving readers a chance to witness the relationship between Bruce and Clark, complete with all of the little nuances that come together with those two. Despite filling this book with characters that serve as the Earthbound pantheon for the DC Universe and tacking on a visit to the New Gods on Apokolips, Tomasi keeps the human element present throughout this comic. Batman is still grief-stricken and determined, a fateful combination that is keeping Tomasi in story ideas more than a year after the demise of Damian.
Gleason is back in the saddle for the entirety of the issue and provides some wonderfully spectacular eye-popping moments, like the debut of the Hellbat, a visual description of its creation, a somber graveside visit wrought with agony and the introduction of Kalibak. Some of Gleason’s faces fall a bit flat early in “Batman and Robin” #33, but by the end of the issue, Gleason and Gray are once again in sync, giving John Kalisz plenty of clean, sharp art to fill with color. Kalisz describes the scenes as much as Gleason, adding tense red overlays to the action of the League’s struggle with Batman and teal-tinted shades to Clark’s conversation with Bruce. Mangual is on point per usual, contributing diversity and cleverly complimenting Gleason’s layouts, which adds up to a nice touch with such a diverse cast. It would be nice to see a different tone of word balloon for Kalibak, something similar to Frankenstein’s, but that is a minor quibble at most.
Tomasi has given readers a wide variety of the personalities present in the DC Universe throughout Batman’s quest for peace of mind following the loss of his son. More importantly, the writer has shown readers how Batman interfaces with that swath of characters, continually developing subtle nuances between the Dark Knight and his greatest allies and foes, while keeping Batman grounded despite the odds he faces or circumstances surrounding those combinations. The creative team has kept the adventure flowing around the quest for Robin. Now with “Robin Rises” in full swing, there appears to be no shortage of adventure on the horizon while Batman continues to call upon the rest of the DC Universe.