Batman And Robin (The New 52) Volume 1 Born To Kill Comic Review
Batman And Robin (The New 52), Vol. 1 ‘Born To Kill’ Comic Review
Release Date: July 10, 2012. Peter J. Tomasi (Writer), Patrick Gleason (Penciller).
Note: The New 52 is DC’s relaunch of comic book titles, making it more accessible to new readers who have no knowledge of previous story lines. ”Born To Kill”, which collects issues 1-6 of Batman and Robin, is not a lighthearted, “buddy-cop” story. It’s worthy of discussion that scratches beneath the surface. This is a recommendation article that contains some spoilers as it sets up the story, outlines the themes and introduces the characters, including the villain who is revealed in the first page of the graphic novel.
The dynamic between Batman and Robin in ‘Born To Kill’ is not that of hero and sidekick. Nor master and protegé. It’s a father and son relationship that plays out in an engaging manner.
Damian is Robin, the ten-year old son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul. At the age of three, Damian started to train with the League of Assassins. Cold blooded violence and a killer instinct have been indoctrinated into him from an early age. Add to the fact that Damian is incredibly impulsive and is acting out of his resentment towards his father makes him an unpredictable, killing machine in the making.
“There’s a part of Damian that is broken, and it’s my job, my responsibility — to fix him,” Bruce confides in Alfred. To which Alfred replies, “It’s your job to be a father, not a mechanic, Master Bruce.” Bruce’s heart is in the right place but his attempts to repair and protect his son from himself only serves to push Damian to the edge. There’s an internal conflict in Damian that desperately wants his father’s approval for who he is and relate to the dark rage that he is suppressing.
Continue reading for spoilers:
The fundamental questions ‘Born to Kill’ poses is if Bruce can instill trust, love, and a moral compass into Damian will it overcome his deadly nature? And why is it important for Batman to teach Robin they must abide by certain moral principles in their calling as crime fighters? These ideas are put into motion with the introduction of a new villain named NoBody, a man who has a mysterious connection to Bruce’s past as a master huntsman’s apprentice.
In a twisted intervention, NoBody confronts Batman on his vicious cycle of violence and destruction. Instead of jailing recidivist psychopaths and circus freaks that put innocent lives in jeopardy, NoBody is adamant that “the answer has always been to kill them”. Although Batman is steadfast in upholding his moral code, his struggle to relate to his son leads Damian to be tempted by NoBody’s proposition.
The origin of NoBody and Bruce’s early days of training to hunt criminals tie into the underlying themes of ‘Born to Kill’. NoBody’s upbringing and relationship with his father is at the core of how he became a shadowy soulless assassin. His back story also informs why Nobody is motivated to exact poetic vengeance against Batman that might irrevocably turn Damian into another NoBody. Though the flashbacks are not the central story, we learn that even as a youth, Bruce has defined what justice means to him; a lesson he now wishes to impart on his troubled son.
Peter J. Tomasi’s (Brightest Day) fine writing is complimented by Patrick Gleeson’s penciling and visual story telling. Though some readers may disagree, Gleeson (Green Lantern Corp.) has a good handle on portraying the different facial expressions of Damian as well as framing Robin’s body language and posture. The coloring enriches each scene whether as a backdrop to a fiery explosion, the warm glow from a fireplace in Wayne Manor or menacing silhouettes in the bat cave.
If one were to judge “Born to Kill” by the illustration of Robin on the hardcover (not pictured above), it might be dismissed as a cartoon-y exploitation of people’s fascination with the Dark Knight. Surprisingly, the story is satisfying and does a solid job of exploring the relationship between the title characters where the dynamic duo are reignited as a flawed, but well-meaning father and his impetuous son. The dilemma Damian must confront is if he crosses the line by killing criminals is it worth the cost of his soul and detriment to the city his father has sworn to protect? Although “Born to Kill” is not regarded as one of the best Batman and Robin stories, it is definitely a worthy addition to any comic book fan’s collection or for a newcomer that wants to start reading comics.
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Posted on December 1, 2012, in Comics and tagged Batman, Batman & Robin, Batman and Robin Covers, Batman and Robin The New 52 Review, Batman and Robin Vol 1 Born To Kill Review, Bruce Wayne, Damian Wayne, Dark Knight, DC Comics, DC Universe, New 52, NoBody, Patrick Gleason, Peter J. Tomasi, Peter Tomasi, Robin, Talia Al Ghul, The New 52. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.