In 2009 DC launched a new Batman comic called Batman and Robin. The new book debuted as part of writer Grant Morrison's epic Batman story that he has been telling for almost 4 years and across 3 different books - and he still has a final chapter to finish. The "Batman" in Batman and Robin was former Robin/Nightwing Dick Grayson and the "Robin" was Damian Wayne, Bruce Wayne's flesh-n-blood son (long story).
What made this book so great to read was the unique character dynamic created when Morrison put Grayson in the Bat-suit and young Damian Wayne as the sidekick. After decades of Batman being the grim and serious archetypical father-figure balanced by the fun-loving Robin, now we had a grim and serious Robin being looked over by a fun-loving older brother type Batman.
Dick and Damian bickered like brothers, but made a fantastic crime fighting team. A distinctively fresh take on Batman and Robin that hadn't been seen before. And when the writing reigns were eventually handed over to Peter J. Tomasi so that Morrison could move on to the next book in his Batman opus, Tomasi continued to develop and have fun with the unique relationship between those two characters.
But with DC Comics recently re-launch of all their titles, the team of Grayson and Damian Wayne has come to an end. DC didn't want two guys running around in Batman costumes, and restored the universe to just one Batman. And that one Batman being Bruce Wayne.
However, they decided to keep the Batman and Robin comic, and even kept Tomasi on as writer along with artist Patrick Gleason. Now the book stars Bruce Wayne as Batman fighting crime with his son, Damian Wayne, at his side.
I enjoyed Tomasi's and Gleason's run on the original Batman and Robin, so I kept the book on my pull list when the relaunch happened.
The first issue of the relaunched title is good. Tomasi establishes the new status quo, giving enough details for those unfamiliar with the Batman back story to understand that the pompous kid giving Batman all the grief is Bruce's actual son and that together they now patrol Gotham City as Batman and Robin with bogging the story down with a history lesson or boring life-long Batman readers like myself. He then quickly sets up the tone for this new series and jumps into the first mystery.
Its all good and an entertaining read. What I miss though is the special conflict of personalities that we got when it was Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne. A bright and a dark knocking into each other. Now it's two dark and grim personalities dealing with each other. Damian is a lot like his dad; driven, grim, and always serious. He's also incredibly egotistical. What saves the character is that he's also only 10 years old, so it's sort of funny to see a little kid talking and acting like a grizzled veteran.
My concern though is that if we've got a 10 year old acting like a 50 year old bouncing around with a 30 year old acting like a 50 year old, will it bring the overall tone of the book down. There has to be some levity, otherwise its just scowls and grunts all the time. That's what Dick Gryason's and Tim Drake's Robin brought to Bruce Wayne's Batman. It's what Dick Grayson's Batman brought to Damian Wayne's Robin. Hopefully Tomasi can find that levity when he's writing what can almost be considered the same character twice.