Batman and Robin #37

BatmanandRobin37

This week I want to talk about a book that I love, a book I am continuously happy about and look forward to picking up… or at least I used to look forward to it. Until this issue. This week I am going to talk about DC Comics’ very depressing Batman and Robin #37, the penultimate issue of “Robin Rises,” by Peter J. Tomasi with art by Patrick Gleason.

Now, when I say this issue was depressing I’m not talking about the tone of the story. Anyone who knows my pull list or reads my reviews knows I am not one to shy away from a depressing book. In fact, this very series has been consistently dark and depressing, especially since we spent the last year dealing with the fall out of one of the title characters dying (namely, Robin).

The sudden death of Damian Wayne, aka Robin, came about in Batman, Inc. (a book that was supposed to exist outside The New 52) and would have shaken any other book to its core. Peter J. Tomasi, however, was not fazed, creating one of the most powerful issues of a comic book I have ever read (all that and not a single word was spoken in the issue!). It ensured that the series lived on. The arc following that issue was also amazing; it followed the stages of grief using different characters, including Catwoman, Nightwing and even Red Hood, as stand-ins for Robin. This “grieving” arc remains one of the best recent storylines around. Even in dark times where the book got weird and would have been lame written by anyone else (Batman and Aquaman… ‘nuff said) it stayed amazing. This is the first time in a long time I blindly bought a book despite the coming plans because I knew Tomasi was an amazing writer. Even when Batman flew to Apokolips in a suit of super bat armor it was still gritty and great.

Then this s#!t happens and Batman escapes Apokolips and uses a Chaos Shard to resurrect Damian and give him super powers. That’s what made this issue depressing. The thing that made this series so good was that the majority of the last year was spent on a story about a father losing his son; the fact that they are superheroes was beside the point. Every issue broke your heart and made Bruce Wayne feel more like a human than any movie or book I have ever seen. The events in this issue just destroyed all of that good work; I feel it made it all pointless and hollow. The best part of the issue was the Darwyn Cooke variant cover, which I of course had to have!

Two out of five for this issue; Gleason’s art is as good as always, but the story really was just lacking. I hate to say it, but this book has three issues to improve before I bail.

Andrew Dearborn
About Andrew Dearborn (81 Articles)
Andrew Dearborn is a part-time reviewer, long-time reader, and occasional video gamer. He grew up in a small Southern Manitoba town and, as many from his area tend to do, migrated to the "big city" of Winnipeg, where he works full time as a bookseller and event facilitator for McNally Robinson as well as a substitute teacher. He is actively pursuing a career in teaching, having received his Bachelor of Education in high school History and English from the University of Manitoba in 2013. While attending the University of Manitoba he was lucky enough to have one of his many short stories, "Socrates' Last Drink", published in The Manitoban. Andrew is also a bilateral cleft palate, a Mennonite, and a nerd, having started his comic book collection at the tender age of seven with a small stack of hand me down Spider Man and Jack Kirby-drawn Eternals issues. In his spare time he reads, writes and talks... incessantly.
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1 Comment on Batman and Robin #37

  1. Nice review! I haven’t been following the Batman books for a few years, but I definitely get what you mean about a writer just emotionally abrogating past storylines. It’s always a problem with “resurrection” stories and, while I love Joss Whedon, I felt like bringing Colossus back was the major flaw in his early run on Astonishing X-Men. It’s hard to find a character relatable as far as loss goes when they can use magical means to bring their loved ones back at will.

    I think that, in general, the only decent reason to bring back a supporting character is to mess with the main character on an even deeper level. Winter Soldier and Red Hood are two good examples of this, and Ed Brubaker really showed off his talents with that whole character arc, from the resurrection of “evil” Bucky to him taking Steve’s place, IMO.

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