I loved the character of Damian Wayne. He was sassy, rebellious, and gave the greatest super hero in the DC Universe a run for his money. Imagine an 11-year-old already as angry, bitter, and vengeful as an adult Bruce Wayne. The sparks that flew between the latest incarnation of Batman and Robin were legendary. And it all came to a tragic end much too soon. “Batman and Robin Volume 4: Requiem for Damian” deals with the aftermath of “Death of a Family” and shows a Dark Knight struggling to come to grips with his emotions and guilt.
Made up of issues 18 through 23 of the monthly title, “Batman and Robin Volume 4: Requiem for Damian” puts the Caped Crusader in league with Red Robin, Red Hood, Batgirl, Catwoman, and Nightwing to track down the scum who aided in the death of his son. The criminals of Gotham City were in trouble before, but with a renewed sense of retribution he proves they can be punished far worse than they’ve ever been before. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne must find a way to convince a friend of Damian’s that he’s studying abroad.
I love where Peter J. Tomasi takes the different stories collected in “Batman and Robin Volume 4: Requiem for Damian.” Each chapter gives one of the Dark Knight’s sidekicks an opportunity to show their support for our brooding crime fighter. He also gives Bruce Wayne an emotional depth we don’t get to see often. Throughout the book, he constantly reminds the reader that under the costume is a human being who hurts. That’s something missing many times from the pages of the hero’s different comic books. I also enjoyed how Tomasi found a way to fit the Robin of Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns,” Carrie Kelley, into actual continuity.
Patrick Gleason and Cliff Richards provide great artwork which give Tomasi’s storylines the depth and visual pizzazz it deserves. There are some great full page and two-page splashes that get your excitement pumping and will bring a smile to your face. Both illustrators capture all the heart, blood, sweat, and tears “Batman and Robin Volume 4: Requiem for Damian” contains.
“Batman and Robin Volume 4: Requiem for Damian” is rated “T” for Teens. The story is pretty intense and there’s a lot of emotional depth that might weigh heavy for younger readers. There’s plenty of violence and some mild language and gore as well.
One of the highlights of “Batman and Robin Volume 4: Requiem for Damian” is the wordless first chapter in the graphic novel. It’s entitled “Undone” and told using only Patrick Gleason’s striking artwork. His talent for expressing grief, torment, and inner turmoil without the use of word balloons is indescribably exquisite. The script and black and white pencils and inks are included to shed light on what Gleason was given to work with when bringing this issue to life in pictures.
“Batman and Robin Volume 4: Requiem for Damian” shows even the Dark Knight has a breaking point. I appreciate constant reminders that the man under the cape and cowl is just a human looking to do all he can to keep the citizens of his city safe from crime and violence. That’s why I find myself relating to the more realistically-rooted Batman with limits better than I do the super-powered and indestructible Man of Steel.
“Batman and Robin Volume 4: Requiem for Damian” is available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle editions.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
Scott Snyder Gives the Dark Knight’s Origins a Reboot with “Zero Year”
“Batman/Superman Volume 1: Cross World” Tangles Our Super Heroes Up in Two Universes
DC Super Heroes Face the Futures End