“Batman and Robin”, Part 3: Blackest Knight (Batman and Robin #7 – 9)

Hello, and welcome back. Last time I said that I didn’t have a lot to say but it actually turned out that I sort of did. This time, however, I really do have very little to talk about, and this is going to be a very short post indeed.

This is actually another thing I’m noticing about this part of the run. Unlike the instalments we’ve read leading up to this, there just isn’t as much to talk about in comparison. A lot of what was going on before was purposefully vague, leaving the reader to solve some of the mysteries. There were also, of course, old stories being brought into continuity but it would appear that we’re simply past all that, perhaps seeing no more brought back for the remainder of the run. All of which might sound bad, but it’s not really – these first three stories have all been a blast; just a lot simpler too.

As foreshadowed last time, Dick tries to raise Bruce’s corpse using a Lazarus Pit. What I did wonder from last book’s preview of this was why Beryl, the Squire, was involved – it turns out that most of this chapter is set in London since that’s apparently the very last Lazarus Pit resides, which is quite interesting, giving us time to spend with her and the Knight. Oh, and Batwoman appears too…and she dies…on purpose…then comes back through the Lazarus Pit, but perfectly sane. Yeah, it’s kind of weird, but at least all four characters make for some entertaining fight scenes with the revived Bruce, or Not-Bruce, I should say. Indeed, I was on the ball about a theory that I believe I made in my Final Crisis review: that the body that Superman found, mistaken for the same shot by Darkseid’s Omega Sanction, was the last of Bruce’s clones, though I hadn’t guessed it was kept aside by Darkseid himself.

What I guess must have really happened in Final Crisis’ penultimate chapter was this: Darkseid hit the real Batman, our very own Bruce Wayne, with his Omega Sanction, sending him back through time, but then arranged for his last clone to be killed so that Superman would mistake this for him, which Dick has revived in this chapter a bit hastily, almost getting Damian killed. The purpose just seems to have been to throw everyone off the scent of what the Omega Sanction really does. Remember, in Time and Batman we saw Bruce work out that it was time Darkseid manipulated using the Omega Sanction, whereas we’d been led to believe that it sent Bruce through a constant cycle of reliving his own death. Time and Batman also suggested that Tim Drake, as Red Robin, Superman, and probably other heroes have heard Batman’s message from the past, and so I guess that they’re the ones busy working on bringing him back, whereas I guess our characters here won’t have a scoobie what to think anymore now that they know the real Bruce is still alive somewhere. It certainly wouldn’t cross my mind that he could be a cave man.

The only other thing worth talking about here is Damian. In the first issue of this story arc we see Talia and Alfred watching as Damian’s body is given a new spine, using the same mysterious surgical machinery we last saw in Batman and Son. This itself, again, as I’ve pointed out, is rather interesting, the word I’d earlier used to describe the process being “repaired”. Clearly Talia has great plans for him. Although Alfred points out that it may not be what he wants, Talia compares him to Alexander the Great (or I guess that’s the Alexander she’s referring to), conquering nations in the al Ghul name with not a single defeat. As I said last time, soon enough we’ll have to see Damian make his own choice, though that’s if he has one at all. The other interesting thing about this whole repair process, of course, is the possibility that Talia may be able to control him. It would’ve seemed likely in the first part of this Batman and Robin story but I no longer see Damian attacking Dick on purpose, yet apparently that’s what he’ll be doing in the fourth part of the story. At least we’ll find out shortly.

One other point of interest when it comes to Damian is his confrontation with the clone of his father. Although this is a terrible clone – as Mokarri reminds us in flashback, they were all driven insane by Bruce’s memories and experiences – the important thing to keep in mind when the guy’s talking all of his gibberish is that, at some level, he is trying to make sense and at no other point is this Non-Bruce any more clear in his meaning when he tells Damian that he did indeed get test results that proved he was the boy’s father, but then goes on to call the boy “Demon’s Head” after his grandfather and, most terribly, tells him that he was his “biggest mistake”.  When we’ve finished our sixth and last part of Batman and Robin, I’m going to have a lot to say about this and hopefully a few other things in a follow up post focusing on Damian. This little guy’s stuck between a mother who sees him as nothing other a weapon and a father who doesn’t love him, and I don’t think things will ever end happily ever after for him.

And, believe it or not, that’s all I got. The artwork in this chapter was brought to us by Cameron Stewart. Pretty good stuff for the most part, but nothing amazing sadly. The fight scenes were very excellent though. Next up is Batman V.S. Robin, which should certainly be an entertaining little romp. See you then.

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