“Batman and Son”, Chapter 4: Absent Fathers (Batman #658)

Another interesting issue, though with less for me to say than the last couple of reviews. Following the cliffhanger ending of Wonder Boys, we find that both Alfred and Tim are doing okay. The latter’s naturally doing worse, but he’ll be all right. For this issue, though, he’s out of action, meaning Batman must go after Talia with Damian by his side.  But it isn’t the big battle you’d expect it to be. What basically happens is this: Talia explains that she wants to raise Damian with Bruce, her plan being to start a family that’ll last generations and rule the world; and when Batman says, “Hell naw!”, the submarine the three are standing on is destroyed by the British army (they’re off the coast off a British overseas island) just as Talia presses device on her wrist, which I’m sure saves herself as well as Damian. We then end with Batman having swam ashore, and I have not a scoobie where this series will be going from here.

The next story is the prose piece, which is clearly centred on the Joker, so I have no idea how much time will have passed when we reach the next actual comic part, nor what will have happened. No doubt Morrison will surprise me by doing something rather unexpected, probably even unrelated to Talia for all I know.

Alas, I only have a few things to point out for this chapter. First of all, on the contrary of what I’ve been thinking, Damian doesn’t appear to have been a weapon at all, at least not to his knowledge. Although I have no doubt Talia knew he’d stir up some trouble, the boy seems surprisingly…innocent, you know, for a murdering little psychopath, which I think means that when he does return eventually, he won’t become the Robin we see on the covers of the three Batman and Robin trade paperbacks by murdering Tim; but, instead, by reforming into one of the good guys. That would seem quite suitable too as the first thing Talia says to Batman when he appears to save the day / fall into her trap is that he has one last chance to reform her. Alas, that didn’t go well and probably never will – but it doesn’t mean Damian has a good chance at changing. In fact, if there’s perhaps one redeeming quality of him so far, then it’s that he’s clearly desperate to be accepted by Bruce. D’awwww. Anyway, by the title of this issue, and Talia’s wish, it would seem I was on the ball about family becoming at least one big theme. It’s on hold until we see Damian again, I suppose, but it’s good to know we’ll be exploring it.

The only other thing to talk about is, once more, our weird and wonderful Batman. First of all, we see that he’s already worked out where Talia is and deduced what she wants from pollen residue on the blindfold he had Damian wear before coming to the Batcave. Like I said when comparing Jeph Loeb’s Batman, Morrison’s I’d heard, and now know, is the world’s greatest detective type of Batman. Indeed, with such a title, you’d expect him to be suitably equipped. So, um, it turns out he has a rocket underneath Wayne manor which he takes Damian up into the sky with for some halo diving to surprise Talia. How suitably over-the-top mental.

The last thing, again related to Batman, is that he continues his unusual choice of words, this time in addressing poor Tim. You’d think, when he finds him at the beginning of this issue, that he’d shout his real name, but he shouts Robin instead, only calling him Tim once shortly after this. Even when he’s passed on to Alfred it’s Robin he’s called, and it goes far enough that he shouts, “You almost killed Robin!” at Damian, as if he’s angry about the figure of Robin almost being killed rather than the young boy who plays his part. Which just sounds weird to me. There could be something there, or there could not. Time will tell.

The next issue, as I say, will be the prose story and I expect I’ll have much to say about it. From reviews I’ve read, just about everyone seems to hate this, and I’ll make that a subject of my review too, which should be up soon.

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