When we spoke with Peter J. Tomasi at NYCC, he told us that Batman's through talking and he's focused on one thing now: bringing back his son. Now that the Dark Knight's stepped into a new armor -- one which the Justice League helped him create -- it's time for some action and madness. Well, that's exactly what Tomasi delivers in this issue as he begins to show off what this fancy new armor is capable of.
One completely unexpected twist: the armor's wings function kind of like a symbiote and material like this must be pure bliss for the art team. If you simply want to enjoy Batman looking cool as he goes all out, you're going to get that and then some in this one. There's some really awesome panels that show just how formidable and frightening Batman truly is. From his daunting shadow to the bodies he leaves behind, Batman seems like an unstoppable force in this story. As for that part with Batman's wrist, I'm going to assume that has to do with the modification Lex Luthor made. Guess we'll just have to wait and see, but for right now, the armor is bodacious and totally badass. It's delightfully over-the-top and that's exactly what Wayne needs if he's going on the offensive in Apokolips.
I'm sure some readers will feel like Cyborg's severely downplayed in this issue, but Tomasi goes out of his way to blatantly spell out why this situation was able to happen. On one hand, the conversation between Drake and Todd doesn't feel organic. It almost seems like Tomasi knew this development would upset some fans, so he put a little extra explanation in there to justify what occurred. But on the other hand, we're only talking about two lines and I do think it's beneficial. It's far too often people think these characters are always at the top of their game and prepared for combat, so it was worth noting that they completely took advantage of Cyborg's desire to help them. Could he have been more skeptical? Sure, and it's a little tough to swallow they could disable some holograms but not the others, but considering Batman's drastic actions and recent mentality, it wasn't too far-fetched for Cyborg to believe Batman was working alone or that this team couldn't have disabled him so effortlessly. Long story short: it didn't bother me much and at least Tomasi counters this by having Cyborg become a key part of the story. I couldn't help but smile when Titus went along for the ride as well.
As entirely expected, Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray, and John Kalisz continue to make this book look so good. This team tends to thrive with horror elements and more graphic and dramatic turns, but the scene in the Batcave was adorable and it's thanks to Bat-Cow and the cat Damian called "Alfred." Bat-Cow's return is smile-including enough, but Gleason made "Alfred" so cute. It was a nice little escape from all of the dark and over-the-top stuff going on everywhere else. But speaking of dark and over-the-top stuff, this team goes above and beyond to make Batman's new armor look seriously cool. The panel of him gripping an enemy would make anyone tremble if they actually saw the character, and watching how Wayne unleashes is a real sight to behold. There's some creative angles in here, too, and the brief bit with Batwoman once again shows why this team tends to thrive with horror elements.
Whoa, hold on a second... Darkseid has been incapacitated since his battle with the Justice League?! This development caught me completely off-guard and I can't help but feel like it's majorly downplaying DC's big bad. He needs "healing sleep" 5 years after that brawl? I thought we saw he was doing just fine in other issues? I know the Justice League went all out against him, but to have him still recovering from it half a decade later seems off to me and makes him appear way less formidable. Here's hoping Tomasi will do something redeeming with the villain later on in the story.
This is totally one of those "huh?!" kind of endings. Perhaps someone with more knowledge of DC's cosmic universe has a better grasp of what just happened, but I'm left in "wait and see" mode. It's not necessarily a "bad" thing, I just wish there were some more details so I could feel more excited about what just happened and what'll come next.
Robin Rises may not be as compelling as Born to Kill (at least not yet) and it may not be as emotional as the five stages arc, but one thing is clear: Robin Rises is a blockbuster. The action is non-stop and exciting; the scope is massive; and there's plenty of jaw-dropping visuals. Batman's done messing around and it's exciting to think that there's still so much left for us to witness. It's just too bad the reveal on Apokolips is such a head-scratcher, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see what this story has in store for the villain. After this issue's developments with the Bat-family and getting a taste of what this armor is capable of, you can bet I'm anxious to read what'll go down next.