Not a whole lot to say about this one. After last issue’s cliffhanger we instead find ourselves in the Batcave, Batman apparently having been free to leave with Damian. That was over in London, though, so we as a reader must imagine that several days have passed. This, again, is Morrison playing around with the structure of this arc, and I presume we’ll keep seeing more and more of this.
Anyway, Damian proves to be…interesting to say the least. Indeed, Batman tells Tim Drake that he’s been “indoctrinated” under Talia’s care and it’s hard to argue that that’s the case with the way he immediately picks a fight with his father, apparently to test his skills; directs a bunch of swearing Alfred’s way, and threats to Tim; and, as the conclusion of this issue, beats the shit out of the latter to take his place as Robin, having escaped from his room, very possibly harming Alfred in the process. Oh, but before attacking Tim, he went out to battle crime to prove himself to his father, which in his case means cutting the head off the criminal responsible, in this case a villain called The Spook. A search online has revealed to me that is another character from Batman’s older history…or was. Yeah, I was surprised that Damian just flat out kills the guy, shall we say. The kid seems a bit crazy, and I imagine he’ll do some absolutely nuts things – although first we need to find out what’s happened to Alfred, and if Tim’s going to be okay – in the next issue where it appears he’ll be at Batman’s side, having stolen a Robin costume for himself.
But he’s not the only crazy one. You’ll notice I’ve referred to Bruce as Batman throughout this issue’s review, and for good reason. If we compared the dialogue of Bruce, who we saw out of his Batman costume in the last couple of issues, to that of the man in the cape and cowl, the differences should be noticeable. When he confronts Damian in his room he even lets loose at him, shouting about the boy’s lack of honour, which he should consider a disgrace. So, yeah, he’s kind of scary in this issue when, outside of that particular scene, he just has an edginess to everything he says. Still, if father and son do share anything in common, it’s somewhere in the brains department. We haven’t seen Bruce do any detective work yet but the means by which Damian breaks out of his room by unlocking the combination to his door, and then gets to the Batcave by mimicking the voice activated parts, the kid seems smart, kinda psychotic or not. Who knows what we should be expecting though.
But, other than that, there’s not a whole lot else to talk about. One of the first things Damian does in the Batcave is take a peek at the unfinished Batmobile which, once more, seems significant in regards to the Bat Family being completed, which I expect will only happen once Damian takes a chill pill or two. The only other thing of note is that Morrison has Kubert add more details than usual to the cave itself, the attention specifically focused on the costumes. Can’t say I recognised a single Batman one that we get a glimpse at, but we do see the original Robin outfit, as well as a few more. It all harks back to the history of the character, of course, and may play a significant role later on in coming back to haunt him.
Whatever the case, things look to heat up for next issue. The title alone, Absent Fathers, sounds to me like we’ll be seeing Talia again already. Seems a little soon but this run’s going at quite the fast speed, so it wouldn’t surprise me either. Until then.