Grizzly Graphic Novel Review: Batman and Son

So I’ve been doing a lot of Batman reading. And a lot of it happens to be written by Grant Morrison, who a lot of people love and a lot of people hate. I just previously reviewed Batman and Robin Volume 1, which is basically the adventures of the newest Batman: Dick Grayson and his sidekick Robin: Now the young, and mouthy Damian Wayne. I loved that trade even when I hadn’t yet seen when Damian Wayne first showed up on the scene. But now I finally am after reading Batman and Son.

For those of you who have missed Bat-stories as I have, let me place this one in the timeline for you. This takes place while Bruce Wayne is still Batman, before Final Crisis and Batman and Robin Volume 1.

The beginning seemed intense, yet confusing. The Joker is about to kill Batman, except it’s not Batman and Gordon has been hit with some Joker venom. The Batman Joker has defeated is actually an imposter and before the real Batman can intervene, he pulls a gun and shoots Joker in the face! Thankfully he didn’t die though…

I may have missed something because that whole scene seemed like it was the end of another story arc. The most I can deduce is that it was after the Lost Year storyline in DC, where Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman were on hiatus for a year.

Anywho, the story picks up in the Bat Cave where Bruce Wayne is considering taking Commissioner Gordon’s advice about getting out of Gotham for a bit after his recent blitz on crime. After Alfred agrees that he needs to reacquaint himself with his Bruce Wayne persona they depart for England where a fundraiser event is being held. I enjoyed this whole thing because all of the art at the exhibit was comic book stuff! (Comic stuff within a comic, gotta love it!) Before the exhibit, Bruce Wayne runs into a very frantic Dr. Kirk Langstrom. He gets into a car with two very shady ski masked guys bringing something that they asked for. You know that can never be good if the Doctor who created the Man Bat has something that criminals want….

Next we get to see Talia Al’Ghul up to no good and having a young boy point out his father on some security screens. As you might already assume by the title he points out none other than Bruce Wayne. Then the real fun starts. It turns out that Talia wanted the Man Bat serum from Dr. Langstrom to create an army of, wait for it…. Man Bat Ninjas. I know it sounds completely ridiculous but it is actually quite cool.

After attempting to take on a whole bunch of the Man Bats, Batman is captured and then released by Talia with little Damien in tow. Now I have to tell you, Damian is a little shit. He’s whiny, demanding and just downright rude but I really like the little jerk. He’s different from the other Robins there have been and I would place him almost on the same level as Jason Todd, but definitely more skilled. It will take some training from Bruce before he’s no longer a junior psychopath.

How touching... a father-son reunion

The majority of the graphic novel focuses on the Talia and the Man Bats storyline, along with some great interactions between Damian, Bruce, Tim Drake (Current Robin) and Alfred. Here are some great people skills involving Damian:

Robin – “Here on my world, we call this gesture a handshake.

Damian – “Don’t patronize me or I’ll break your face.”

Batman – “You should get some rest.”

Damian – “Don’t tell me what I should do!”

Alfred – “Allow me to show you to your temporary quarters, young sir.”

Damian – ” *^*% You.”

What’d I tell ya? Cute kid. The remainder of the trade paperback deals with three different Bat-impostors. One who is huge and looks like a hybrid of Batman and Bane, the second being the Batman who shot the Joker at the beginning of the trade and the third yet to be revealed. I was disappointed as the whole “Three Ghosts of Batman” story will have to be wrapped up in a different trade.

The graphic novel ends with a short story of what appears to be a possible future for Damian. In this future he is the new Batman, wearing a sweet duster! Oracle (Barbara Gordon) is the new Commissioner and this Batman? He kills. It’s an interesting take on the Batman legacy, feeling like a very short elseworlds tale.

Damian Wayne as Batman

Overall I really enjoyed Batman and Son. Like all Morrison work, it may take a little bit to get used to the bombshells he drops in our beloved comics, but for the most part they work out for the better. I remember first hearing about Bruce Wayne having a son and I couldn’t even believe it. By now though, I really enjoy Damian as the new Robin as the character needed a fresh take. And now we get to see Tim Drake out on his own as the Red Robin which has been pretty darn good. Andy Kubert of course has still got it. His art seems simple yet elegant all the time, and I missed seeing his art over the years. I think the last comics I read where he was the artist was his long haul on the Ultimate X-men comic. I give Batman and Son 3.5 out of 5 grizzlies.

The art and stories were great, although for only a casual reader it may prove a bit confusing. There was also a Joker story in the middle, but not a comic one. This read pretty much like a book with a few pictures. I wasn’t too big of a fan of it and I love the Joker. Anyone who has read the trade please comment below so we can’t get a few other opinions!

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