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Batman and Robin #35 - Robin Rises Part Three: Hellbound

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Batman is geared up and he's bringing the fight to Apokolips!

The Good

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.

The Bad

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.

The Verdict

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.

47 Comments

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CaptainMarvel4Ever

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Ok before I go to the store later, somebody needs to be blatantly honest with me. Did they throw Cyborg under the bus in this issue? or was he treated with a great deal of respect?

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HolySerpent

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Man I can't wait to read this

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johnreid5895

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@captainmarvel4ever: He wasn't thrown under the bus, the Bat-family just took advantage of his kind-heartedness and basically back-stabbed him.

And for Gregg....I don't think Darkseid has been "sleeping" since JL Origins. In his Villains Month issue he ended up destroying dozens of Earths and Supermen, he's also conquered Earth 2 since Origins...I thought it was Kalibak kneeling at Damian's coffin, or the Omega/Chaos Cannon he later fired (a multiversal deathstar much?) and the "open your eyes" was more of a "epiphany" open your eyes rather than "coma"...So maybe Kalibak is the one behind the entire plan, rather than Darkseid himself?

Or this could take place post Green Lantern: Godhead and the climax of that could have Highfather using the Life Equation on Darkseid...etc etc #comics...

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BigL

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Can't wait for this. Ordered the standard issue as well as the mummy variant online

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jayc1324

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Wait what's up with Darkseid?

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johnny_blaze

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@johnreid5895: In other words, yes they did throw him under a bus.

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Comicuser

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great issue. no beef

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obsidian_raindrop1

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@captainmarvel4ever: It turns out that that his kids are just as much of a-holes as their bat-dad.

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THEOCITYLEGEND

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Edited By THEOCITYLEGEND
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CaptainMarvel4Ever

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@theocitylegend: In this series alone he's been a pretty big @-hole, he dissected Frankenstein, he took Jason back the the place he died (or where he was resurrected, I forgot), and he was extremely immature with the League.

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jayc1324

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@captainmarvel4ever: batman apologized to Frankenstein for that and he only did that because he was in a dark place emotionally during that time. And the justice league only got in his way. He's angry as any parent would be if their child's body was stolen and isnt letting anything stop him. Its really none of the leagues business anyway.

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CaptainMarvel4Ever

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@jayc1324: It's still not him acting rationally or like an adult. Heck it almost felt like the writer was making fun of Batman. Also anything related to Darkseid or Apokolips is very much the League's business.

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Joerlema

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@captainmarvel4ever: to be fair he was an ahole to jason but let him get his shots in afterward with Frank he apologized and the league they essentially forced the issue by letting Godfrey take Damien and then telling Bruce that putting his son to rest was essentially not important. The league really threw Bruce under the bus by minimalizing his pain and ignoring how much Damien meant to Bruce I mean its his son we are talking about. I am not suprised at how Bruce snapped at them they showed no sympathy for him what so ever when it mattered.

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jayc1324

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Edited By jayc1324

@captainmarvel4ever: I guess Darkseid is technically the leagues business simply because of his power and he fought them before, but is started as batman trying to get his son back. The league was helping him before Robin rises started but them trying to stop him from going to Apokolips is not their decision. That's up to batman. Him going there doesn't endanger anyone but himself so it's not really up to the league to stop him. And you also have to understand that he is hurting emotionally and is very upset so of course he's not acting rationally. He already had his son murdered so having the body stolen too is just like a middle finger to him.

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CaptainMarvel4Ever

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@joerlema: That's looking at the League in a really simplistic manner, which I think is an example of why a lot of this is being written in a very one dimensional matter.

@jayc1324: When he's dealing with things like Apokolips he's letting things get way too out of hands (heck trying to bring someone back from the dead in the first place is getting out of hand). Also the fact that he's going there could have any number of consequences, like accidentally leaving a way for more of Darkseids forces to get to earth, using an important weapon like the Hellbat for something selfish, or the possibility of others risking their lives to follow him.

He's Batman, he's always hurting emotionally. That aside he's got a larger responsibility as a member of the Justice League, and doing this is completely irresponsibly for someone with such large responsibilities.

I get that he had to end up getting his son back and going to Apokolips for the sake of the story, but it could have been done in a way that's better written.

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Aros001

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@joerlema said:

@captainmarvel4ever: to be fair he was an ahole to jason but let him get his shots in afterward with Frank he apologized and the league they essentially forced the issue by letting Godfrey take Damien and then telling Bruce that putting his son to rest was essentially not important. The league really threw Bruce under the bus by minimalizing his pain and ignoring how much Damien meant to Bruce I mean its his son we are talking about. I am not suprised at how Bruce snapped at them they showed no sympathy for him what so ever when it mattered.

And it's this kind of stuff that makes me miss the Pre-New 52 characters, as I imagine they'd be a bit more sympathetic towards Batman, especially Superman, who was his best friend.

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CaptainMarvel4Ever

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@aros001: I attribute it more to bad writing. The fact that Superman came to Batman to basically say "Hi" then fly away instead of having a more meaningful conversation is just lazy writing.

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Joerlema

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Edited By Joerlema

@captainmarvel4ever: It isn't a justice league book. I mean it is meant to represent the issue in Bruce's view in this case his sons body being taken and the league essentially doing their best to prioritize the world and their fear of Dark Seid and apokolips over aiding a founding member of the league this is all in my eyes done so readers can empathize with Batman's POV. So it will not paint the league in a flattering light. Lest I forget this particular chain of events has left Bruce emotionally on edge. I am just saying it isn't like Bruce has no reason for his erratic and antogonistic behavior towards his friends it can clearly be seen that the league has no interest in sympathizing with his plight and some within the team know exactly the psychological toture he has endured yet when Bruce needs them to understand why he wants to go to save his son they adamantly opose him. I understand the league must put the safety of earth over helping Bruce. Honestly I feel the league severly underestimated how much Damian meant to Bruce and how far he is willing to go for him. though even I must admit this story is seismic in its scope and an eccentric tale for Batman.

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ReverendHunt

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Am I the only one that noticed that Babs called Batman, "Batmam"?

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CaptainMarvel4Ever

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@joerlema: That's just it though, a good writer can make you sympathize with Bruce without making him look like a jerk or throwing the League under the bus. Besides they're all adults, this type of situation should be played out more meaningfully, and more maturely.

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Joerlema

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Edited By Joerlema

@captainmarvel4ever: I think the writer portrayed a different more emotionally vulnerable Bruce who was prone to mistakes I personally have enjoyed Tomasi's take. Though I admit he does make Bruce the victim with his confrontation with the league. Still losing a son is unimaginably painful I would say his sons death is equivalent to his parents so I personally have no issues with Bruce being so driven to do right by his son I find it admirable he would defy the league and venture to apokolips just get Damian back.

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CaptainMarvel4Ever

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@joerlema: That's just it though, you can write him vulnerable and emotional, but you don't need to turn him into a child. Also it's not admirable since he's putting the planet in potential danger.

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Joerlema

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Edited By Joerlema

@captainmarvel4ever: league allowed the chaos shard to fall into Godfreys hands. It isn't Bruce's fault they are more conscerned with stopping an invasion than stopping Godfrey from attaining a shard that he was willing to ivade earth for shows real poor judgment and foresight by the league. And from my perspective he isn't a child that's a matter of opinion a child does not atone for his mistakes or sacrifice himself readily and make sure innocent people do not suffer for his actions. The fact Brcuce apologized and asked the Bat family to take care of Gotham city to me shows maturity and foresight on Bruce's part.

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CaptainMarvel4Ever

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@joerlema: It doesn't matter, the fact is it happened and Batman shouldn't be acting the way he is, or doing what he's trying to do (heck he shouldn't even be trying to play god and bring his son back in the first place). Also now the Batfamily is trying to follow him, so he's endangered their lives by getting involved in this.

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asjmooney

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I think the bit with his wrist gauntlet retracted was so that he could test the heat of the lava/firepit against his skin because he knew what he was going to to with Godrey later on.

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Joerlema

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Edited By Joerlema

@captainmarvel4ever: you are overstating and exagerating and throwing blame where there is none. Bruce told the family to stay put in Gotham that Gotham needed them. how is Bruce at fault for the families decisions they disregarded his orders and went to apokolips. Also if you read the issue this just became a league problem because of the shard good thing Batman is fixing the mess the league chose to ignore or things could end badly for many more people than just Batman.

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Dextersinister

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Edited By Dextersinister

@joerlema: Your applying your outside knowledge to what the League should do rather than logic when no one knows the importance of the shard, your trying to give Batman credit he does not deserve. Apokilips has been very active so there is nothing special about this moment.

Bruce is at fault in the same way a S Korean soldier would be at fault for launching a one man assault against N Korea except more so because Damians a corpse, he is putting a lot of others at risk.

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Joerlema

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Edited By Joerlema

I ask in what way since as it now seems that the shard is in fact extremely dangerous and could be a catalyst to a much larger threat. I agree His intentions were not very noble from the out set that I acknowledge but if you read this issue it would seem by happy coincidence or the luck that Batman being who he is did not let the matter of the chaos shard go and is now in prominent position to make a difference. The league prioritized an imminent threat over an unknown threat as they should. But the league should have questioned why a new God from Apokolips would have risked invading earth for a shard and taken Damien especially after Darkseid and his army were repelled the last time. Why would Godfrey take that risk when Darkseid had not attacked in quite some time? Honestly this is the story that was written that or how I view the sequence of events they don't make them fact it is just what I see.

Again Bruce did not choose to fight Godfrey. Godfrey invaded earth first it is the equivalent of an enemy stealing a weapon of mass destruction and your superiors being unaware of the danger and no one truly knowing the capacity of said weapon telling you to stand down because they have it under control. whether you believe or not Godfrey delivered a dangerous new toy to Darkseid.

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Gjgp27

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This sounds like a lazy idea that Frank Miller farted out

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Dextersinister

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Edited By Dextersinister

@joerlema: You need to hit the reply button on the other persons comment so they know yourself have a reply.

First off there are countless attacks made by individuals from other planets/dimensions to Earth, the idea that the league lead what is practically an invasion for every one of them would be insane.

Godfrey is far from the only Apokoliptian presence on Earth, so there is no reason to assume his presence is anything special.

the equivalent of an enemy stealing a weapon of mass destruction

No it isn't as no one has any idea of it's use, you do not assume every thing a villain does warrants extreme action.

and is now in prominent position to make a difference.

Back to the real point, he didn't, he rushed in after Damian to a hostile zone that he knows almost nothing about, as someone with outside knowledge knows he should be crushed by the portrayal of a standard New God, it's only through this writers plot that he happens to go up against one of the weakest portrayals so far. Batman had no notable advantages for rushing in like he did, the only reason to rush would be the worry that he has over Damian which is fine as it's one of those he is human after all moments.

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batcat91

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@joerlema: just let it be. @captainmarvel4ever has not been a fan of Tomasi's run. You're not going to convince him otherwise. His opinion is not going to change for the matter.

Man I'm so behind on Batman and Robin. But this issue looks bad##s and the preview looked amazing. Guess I'm going to have to wait for the trade....sigh

I know a lot of fans hate it when they bring heroes back to life, because I know I do, but I kind of hope Damian comes back. Of all the people to come back to life it should be him. He's not just a Wayne but an Al Ghul after all.

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Joerlema

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@batcat91: It is funny cause I was finally over Damian's death and OK with him being dead. Then Tomasi brought back all the feels and I reversed course I want Damien back after everything that has transpired I can't even oppose Tomasi if he brings him back that little dude just kicks ass in my opinion. As for the other stuff I don't mind a dissenting opinion of the book it isn't going to please every body. Frankly I just gave my view of things not trying to convince anyone on anything even if my persistent debating may contradict this statement lol. Honestly I find this book insane and fun it just one incredulous story and i have enjoyed it so far. I would personally recommend it since if you haven't already noticed I adore the direction of this title. But yeah the suit is sick it is just awesome and how this story keeps escalating is engaging and a bit comical for me at least cause it just seems like Bats can't catch a break in this story.

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Joerlema

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Edited By Joerlema

@dextersinister: I have no qualms with actions of the league they are essentially providing the function that the team should provide which is protection on a global scale and a by impeding Bruce from going after Damian they are trying to save their friend from essentially killing himself. They are unaware of the danger or the capacity of the shard that Godfrey personally came to earth to retrieve fine I get that. Still I find your explanation to be poor for the motivation of the league to ignore Godfrey's actions. In my opinion it isn't so much if an Apokylptian attacked and retreated with a shard and Damien's body is not an uncommon occurrence as you present it. I personally think it's because they want to be sure that they are not in danger of another invasion so they need all hands on deck in case this may in fact be a sign of another invasion by Darkseid. So they want to be prepared to minimize any prevalent dangers

"Bruce is at fault in the same way a S Korean soldier would be at fault for launching a one man assault against N Korea except more so because Damians a corpse, he is putting a lot of others at risk." Honestly this is a poor analogy if Apokolips attacks they won't need provocation this is Darkseid we are talking about he will attack without warning and without mercy the action of one mortal will not sway him into war that is just giving Bruce far to much clout in my opinion. Bruce is as insignificant as they come to Darkseid he is a blip in a scheme of things. Not to mention Bruce is purposely is going at it alone so if anyone has do die it's him so he is attempting to avoid casualties that is his intent of his actions.

The way I see it Bruce is not to blame with how everything has turned out he is reacting to what he sees he has been reacting most of this story he couldn't foresee anything that has transpired no one could have possibly predicted that the shard and by extension Damian would be key to some crazed Apocalyptic Gods plot. But because Bruce did not let the matter go and in fact gave chase to his son he is in doing good in my eyes because now we see that the shard is dangerous. I mean whether you believe Bruce is right or not he always assumes the worst its part of the characters DNA and in this case his propensity to be stubborn and do things his way have placed him in a prominent situation where whether intended or not has placed him in a position to make a difference and stop whatever Godfrey and Kalibak are up to.

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PapiNacho

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Of course Batman isn't acting logically his son's life is at stake here.

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entropy_aegis

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I never realized drama and plot=bad writing, Batman wants to go to Apokolips he goes to Apokolips,what's badly written about that?

I'm with k4tz on the Darkseid boat,though I dont think it was ever stated that DS was sleeping for 5 years,he was fine in the villains month issue. Maybe its something else.

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Dextersinister

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Edited By Dextersinister

@entropy_aegis:

I never realized drama and plot=bad writing, Batman wants to go to Apokolips he goes to Apokolips,what's badly written about that?

Nothing, some just believe that he is doing it for the greater good when it was never presented that way, his goal is selfish but human.

Maybe its something else.

Could be writer disconnect, sometimes stories don't match up, if DS was sleeping then his vocal opponents Anti-Monitor and Highfather would be on him like white on rye.

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Dextersinister

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Edited By Dextersinister

@joerlema:

motivation of the league to ignore Godfrey's actions.

I safely assume they would look into off screen.

So they want to be prepared to minimize any prevalent dangers

They are doing that, that's been an ongoing issue for some time.

Bruce is as insignificant as they come to Darkseid he is a blip in a scheme of things.

If you believe this then you would need to acknowledge that Bruce was throwing his life away by going in. He's the tactician, not the muscle. His action as I've said is selfish but human, whether he accomplishes any good will be by virtue of plot not because of well reasoned planning and intent but it was a foolish action.

if Apokolips attacks they won't need provocation

Both attacks on Earth Prime have been because Apokoliptian forces where led there.

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batcat91

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@joerlema: fair enough. I just don't want there to be too many posts between the two of you lol. People might misconstrue it as a flame war. I think discussions like this are better off in a thread regarding the morality of Batman's choices and so forth. Yeah Damian is the most bad#ss kid in DC, bar none. lol

But yeah for the most part I think Tomasi is killing it on Batman and Robin. The Nobody arc was fantastic, Terminus a fun but brief diversion, and the Death of the Family Crossover was incredibly taut, suspenseful and chilling. I wasn't a fan of the 2-face arc though.... big Long Halloween fan lol. In my opinion it was not necessary to change his origin, since it's not dated at all and is not that old.

Completely agree that this new arc seems insanely fun and it seems to follow along the same vein of Grant Morrison's Batman. His run was fun, zany but quite dark and serious as well; the scale of his story was really immense and epic as well. Not surprising since Tomasi seems to be a fan of Morrison's work on Batman.

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k4tzm4n

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Edited By k4tzm4n  Moderator

@johnreid5895 said:

@captainmarvel4ever: He wasn't thrown under the bus, the Bat-family just took advantage of his kind-heartedness and basically back-stabbed him.

And for Gregg....I don't think Darkseid has been "sleeping" since JL Origins. In his Villains Month issue he ended up destroying dozens of Earths and Supermen, he's also conquered Earth 2 since Origins...I thought it was Kalibak kneeling at Damian's coffin, or the Omega/Chaos Cannon he later fired (a multiversal deathstar much?) and the "open your eyes" was more of a "epiphany" open your eyes rather than "coma"...So maybe Kalibak is the one behind the entire plan, rather than Darkseid himself?

Or this could take place post Green Lantern: Godhead and the climax of that could have Highfather using the Life Equation on Darkseid...etc etc #comics...

@entropy_aegis said:

I never realized drama and plot=bad writing, Batman wants to go to Apokolips he goes to Apokolips,what's badly written about that?

I'm with k4tz on the Darkseid boat,though I dont think it was ever stated that DS was sleeping for 5 years,he was fine in the villains month issue. Maybe its something else.

Regarding Darkseid: yeah, it's never blatantly expressed, but I think it Tomasi implied Darkseid's been in a "healing sleep" since his battle with the Justice League. I know that contradicts other comics which is just one of my problems with it, but the way Kalibak said he won't stop until his father opens his eyes and talking about the battle with the Earthlings seemed to imply Darkseid's in that condition because of the Johns/Lee story. Or at least that's how I took it. Hopefully that'll be cleared up in the next issue.

@asjmooney said:

I think the bit with his wrist gauntlet retracted was so that he could test the heat of the lava/firepit against his skin because he knew what he was going to to with Godrey later on.

I don't believe so because he showed a sign of pain while he was flying, and what follows seemed to imply the pain was stemming from his wrist (that's why he removes the armor to take a look).

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fil123

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@k4tzm4n: @johnreid5895: its been mentioned dick was batman and bruce had died a few times and he died in final crisis, so wouldnt he be healing from the final crisis events?

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primebonnick

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Is this a thing for the bat family to always "kidnap" people instead of just asking them for help dang man lol.

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Guerraa

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Edited By Guerraa

@joerlema: I agree with pretty much everything you've been saying. The JL are the ones acting irresponsibly. They should be helping Batman, not trying to stop him. If they don't want to help, then at least get out of the way. They came across as a bunch of jerks to me. I'm glad Batman did what he did. They got in his way, and he just went around them. LOL!

Tomasi's run has been every bit as good as Snyder's, and at times better in my opinion. I'm enjoying both 100%. I also have mixed feelings on Damian's possible return, but I think I'd be OK with it simply because they should never have killed him off in the first place.

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k4tzm4n

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k4tzm4n  Moderator

@fil123 said:

@k4tzm4n: @johnreid5895: its been mentioned dick was batman and bruce had died a few times and he died in final crisis, so wouldnt he be healing from the final crisis events?

You... I think you may be on to something!

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blackhawk000111

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This is issue was awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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TDK_1997

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This is just one of the best issues since the start of the series. It doesn;t hold anything big plotwise or dramatic that can really touch your heart but hte way the action was flowing was great and we saw a morals off Batman which was incredible. I really want to see more of this type of Batman we got and I really like what Tomasi is doing here in this arc.