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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This stories running through issues #9-14 of the ‘New 52’ Batman and Robin title are collected, along with issue #0, as Batman and Robin Volume 2: Pearl TP (The New 52) (Batman & Robin (Numbered)). This title focuses on Bruce and Damian Wayne as the Batman and Robin team, although in this collection, the other Robins also play a part. These stories are excellently scripted and illustrated, and do seem to be going somewhere, unlike in many Batman titles, which are just a collection of stories. Unfortunately, we know where this is going - Batman Incorporated Volume 2: Gotham's Most Wanted HC (The New 52) – and Batman and Robin Vol. 4: Requiem for Damian (The New 52) (Batman & Robin). However, let us enjoy the journey (especially as there are at least two, if not three loopholes, in ‘Gotham’s Most Wanted’…) while we are on it.

THE SPOILER ZONE
Issue #0 – “Someday Never Comes” - is Damian’s life story, from the opening of the artificial womb in which he was incubated, to his first meeting with is father. Along the way, we see his training by Talia, and his birthday tests, which if he passes by defeating her, he will get to meet his father. This is an excellent, and highly entertaining story.

And don’t forget to check out Batman Li'l Gotham Volume 1 TP for more of Damian’s adventures.

Issue #9 is a ‘Night of the Owls’ story, as Damian must fight off a Talon alone, to protect a potential victim of the Court of Owls. The opening panel ties in to the closing story of the collection, and to the title. It took me three goes to work it all out.

Issues #10-12 contain a three part story, featuring a villain called Terminus, who has collected a gang of Batman’s ‘victims’ – criminals who have been disfigured or damaged in their encounters with him, and their plot to take revenge on all of Gotham. However, the ‘real’ story is Damian’s rivalry with Tim Drake and Jason Todd over the mantle of Robin, and how Dick deals with him.

Issues #13-14 are nominally a two-part story featuring the Saturn Club, who are out to unleash a flesh-eating zombie plague on Gotham; but again there is an underlying story, as in the first part, Batman takes Damian on a space-flight as part of his continued attempt to bond; and we see Damian back in that sewer again, before the zombie apocalypse strikes; then at the end of the story we discover what Damian has been looking for in that sewer.
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The second volume of Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason's New 52 Batman and Robin should really be called Robin as its almost entirely made up of short stories about Damian Wayne. But it's these brief, ineffectual vignettes that also makes this not as good as the first volume (pretty much the story of the New 52 second volumes) though it has its share of good/bad moments.

The first chapter is the #0 issue where we see Damian being born/raised by Talia Al-Ghul, a story readers of Grant Morrison's Batman series will already be familiar with. It takes Damian up to meeting his dad, Batman, for the first time and helps new readers understand why Damian is the way he is by showing Talia's questionable parenting techniques.

The second chapter sees Damian fight a Talon who's trying to assassinate a high ranking military officer. It's not a bad comic but I already read this issue in the Night of Owls book - the repetition is a bit annoying as others who read that crossover book might find.

The longest story arc here sees a new villain show up called Terminus, eager to battle Batman. While Batman doesn't kill, he is incredibly heavy-handed in dealing with his foes and so has amassed a number of enemies, the majority being low-level thugs, who bear the marks of their encounter with him. This is a neat idea executed terribly because the "villains" were nobodies, henchmen essentially, who're now hilariously deformed but are in no way more dangerous as a result.

One guy literally has Batman's boot print on his face for life because Batman kicked him so hard! Another guy has a batarang embedded in his brain causing him to sometimes lose his train of thought! Another person has a batarang stuck in her ear - not sure why she can't take it out, but there we go (I suppose it makes a cool novelty ear-ring). These guys made me laugh they were so silly which makes taking them seriously in any way an impossibility - but darn it if Tomasi doesn't try!

Terminus on the other hand is some generic bad guy with tons of expensive tech and a weird, debilitating illness (terminal illness = Terminus. Writing!). It's barely worth going in to because he's so forgettable and dies after a couple issues anyway. Terminus' main aim is to discredit the bat symbol by burning it onto peoples' faces, on the sides of buildings, etc. Flawless plan, right? It does lead to a parody of the excellent Dark Knight movie poster though. Talking of superhero movies, Snyder/Capullo's Iron Batman suit makes an appearance in this book in a scene reminiscent of The Avengers movie finale which is just weird.

Meanwhile Damian has decided to arbitrarily fight the other Robins (Dick, Jason and Tim) to prove that he is the best Robin of all. This storyline bugged the hell out of me the most. First off, I've grown to hate superheroes fighting superheroes after years of melodramatic, go-nowhere stories revolving around this common conceit - what, there aren't enough villains to go around? And also, it's so pointless. They fight, pages pass, the end. It's never worthwhile and is completely tedious to "read". But supes vs. supes is basically all DC does these days, probably for the lame covers, so we get a healthy dose of it in this book. Secondly, Damian has done this before. When we're first introduced to the character in Grant Morrison's Batman and Son, he beats up Tim Drake pretty badly. Since then, he's become a far more rounded character. He's developed in that he's become less arrogant, less psychotic, more empathetic, and a sense of nobility has arisen in him - at least in the Grant Morrison books. Tomasi crassly undoes the years of character building Morrison has given the character by taking his behaviour back to the start, having him fight each of the Robins, just because that's something he thinks Damian would do. Which he would - years ago like in 2006/07, but today? He's a different person. Not that you'd know reading this book.

The volume ends weakly on a zombie-ish storyline where some nothing bad guy group called The Saturn Club is supposedly resurrecting the dead. This dreary storyline is the lead-in to Joker's return and the Death of the Family Event. But the worst part of this sequence is the fill-in artist, Tomas Giorello, who draws Damian looking like a twentysomething midget! Seriously, Damian's face goes from babyfat-inflected (he's 10 remember) and child-like, to having adult contours. The transition between Giorello's art and Gleason's is jarring as you see twentysomething Damian suddenly morph back into child-like Damian in between panels! Horrible artistic choice to have Giorello fill-in on this title, he simply can't draw kids believably.

There was stuff in this book I liked - none of the issues are badly written and Gleason's art continues to be surprisingly good. Not surprising in that he's normally a bad artist but because he's not a well-known name - when you think Bat-artist, you don't necessarily think Patrick Gleason, but he's doing great work on this series to receive that recognition. The Talon issue was good, and there were moments in all of the issues that were nice touches (Bruce and Damian can't have an ordinary father and son heart-to-heart; because they're Batman and Robin they have to have their serious talks in space! Brilliant).

That said, the father and son moment at the end was really forced and came out of nowhere. It's why the book is called Pearl and felt, not just overly sentimental, but also like a con, trying to convince the reader that there's a heart to this book when it really hasn't earned any emotional payoff from the preceding pages. Bruce and Damian have had some touching moments but this was definitely not one of them though it looked like it really wanted to be.

Generally though, there are no strong, challenging villains in the book to make reading this an exciting read. Everybody Damian (and it is largely Damian) encounters is someone he can easily deal with. Maybe that's why Tomasi shoe-horned the stupid Damian-fights-the-Robins storyline in, to give him a challenge? The stories here are too short which makes me wonder if Tomasi had been told about Damian's death so that any longer story arcs would have been nixed to make do with disposable, irrelevant set pieces.

I enjoyed parts of the book but found too much here that annoyed me to really say it's a great Batman book. If you're a Damian Wayne fan, you'll probably enjoy this but for those looking for a more substantial bat-book, I suggest checking out Snyder/Capullo and Morrison/Burnham's Batman books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2014
This book had two issues that were completely amazing: the origin issue and issue 9, the night of owls. While in the main storyline it was nice to see all the former robins, I didn't think the villains were a good choice and would have preferred to see batman and robin fighting together and not just robin. Nonetheless the art was enjoyable and I really found this helps me understand Damien Wayne.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 October 2013
I love the Damien Wayne story line and this was another fantastic addition. He has a heart despite the attitude which makes him a great character. This volume went more in depth than the first and was a lot better because of it. Looking forward to the next one.
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While Damian Wayne had been one of the most irritating characters (rivalling Jason Todd in all senses) to have ever appeared in Batman's universe, he has started gathering some real character, and appreciable traits. And this particular volume contains some good stories as well, one of which must have been appreciated by followers of the "Court of Owls" arc as well. Recommended.
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Great! Good story and design well! Hight quality! the writer is excelent! The Inker and designer are good! Its Nice!
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on 21 November 2014
Volume 1 great, this is not as strong...don't want to give any spoilers away!
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on 2 March 2015
21 year old Grandsons favourite. Has got him interested in reading
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on 8 June 2014
Great price and condition
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on 24 July 2014
getting there
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