Damian’s path to redemption continues in Patrick Gleason’s “Robin: Son of Batman” #2 as the prodigal son attempts to replace the head of a South American pyramid spirit. Gleason’s script is good, accentuated by his fantastic art. The writer has a solid grasp on Damian, keeping the character true to his core while allowing Robin to evolve as a person. The other characters in the book are a little generic but this only helps to highlight the very big personality of the book’s lead.
Gleason introduces Damian to the new Nobody, set up to be the mirror of his journey. It creates a clever dynamic; her motivation is to let the son of Batman redeem himself enough to have something to lose when she eventually destroys him. Damian works best when he has someone to directly interact with, a character that won’t immediately bristle at his brusqueness. She jumps into the delightfully trippy fight as Gleason and colorists John Kalisz and Jeromy Cox wend readers through large-scale action with the temple guardian. The perspective choices are mostly well considered, as Gleason uses the page real estate efficiently, creating moments of impact that are destructive and appropriately big. He attempts to balance the wide shots with close ups and they are all gorgeous, though some are almost too close and thus obfuscate the intention of the panel. His present moment panels are full of expressive and kinetic energy, including an amazing splash page that could be a defining image for the young Wayne as he descends on a cartel member. There’s a touch of Mignola in his designs of Goliath and his flashback sequences are softer, almost as if readers are looking back on Damian’s worst days through rose-colored glasses.
The title is developing its identity as the travelogue of Damian’s globe-trotting redemption, similar to his father’s own path towards his destiny as Batman. It’s entertaining and Gleason makes the title character just likeable enough to keep a reader invested in the proceedings. As someone who had spent his entire life becoming the ideal version of something terrible, he now puts himself all-in to become a force of good. He’s an alpha, for sure, and operates on such a high level that he has difficulty with the world not keeping up. Now that he has someone on his side ensuring his success and a guaranteed fight to the death at the end of that road, Nobody has accidentally given Robin something on which to focus. Readers know that this is a character who thrives when focused, which Gleason will most likely use to accelerate his redemption.
Two issues in, “Robin: Son of Batman” becomes an entertaining journey of a character working at the top of his integrity to be the best version of himself. He will trip along the way, which will be great for readers. Gleason understands that a Damian Wayne with no self-awareness will lead to rich storytelling and exploits that part of the character to great effect. Readers missing the classic combination of Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne will feel like they’re getting the closest thing to that with this series.