The character of Damian Wayne continues to evolve as both Bruce Wayne’s son as well as the new Batman in Andy Kubert’s “Damian: Son of Batman” #3, as one familiar character is lost but another somewhat-familiar one makes his expected appearance. Damian recovers after the disastrous outcome of his last battle and returns with the ethics repeatedly preached to him by his father and proving himself a hero worthy of the name, but not without some apparent mental issues that he has to cope with as a complication surfaces regarding the status of Bruce Wayne.
The issue has a kind of weird split, though; the defeat of Professor Pyg’s gang wraps up halfway through, and then gives way to Damian’s search for Bruce; it reads as though it were spliced together from the final chapter of one story following the first part of another, like Kubert wrote this story as a graphic novel but ended up having it unexpectedly chopped into four parts. The storyline is relatively simple and this particular chapter is easy enough to figure out if past issues were missed, but its fragmented structure doesn’t make readers feel all that welcome.
The simplicity of the story doesn’t lend itself to any major surprises in the first half of the issue; Batman returns to defeat Pyg’s henchmen, and, well, he does. The battle highlights Damian’s newfound morals, but there isn’t any kind of tension or any twists that make the battle exciting; it just kind of unfolds and wraps up in a straightforward manner so that Damian can move on to the next conflict. It almost feels like Kubert tired of this thread and put a convenient end to it so he could just move on to something else.
The issue does have its merits, however; the unnatural, stilted dialogue of the past two issues has been toned down somewhat and flows a little more naturally in this one, although there’s plenty of opportunity to tighten it up further. His art, as always, is attractive and made more so with Brad Anderson’s colors. The panel layouts are traditional but make for a story that flows a lot smoother than one might expect from the story’s disjointed nature. The flowing, draping nature of the revised Batman costume isn’t the best or most logical design, but Kubert makes it look impressive enough.
It’s a perfectly readable issue, but like past ones it remains plagued by oddities like the one-dimensional Catholic priest who looks a lot like Jim Gordon and has a manipulative compulsion regarding the new Batman. “Damian: Son of Batman” #3 is a fine example of Kubert’s talent as an artist, but it’s decidedly mediocre as a story.