Batman and Robin #12 Review
Written by Peter Tomasi
Pencils by Patrick Gleason
Inks by Mick Gray
Story: This is the last part of the Terminus story arc that has been going on since issue 10. The third act of this is the strongest part. Despite being a story with a very simple and boring villain, it ends with a bang (quite literally). That’s not to say that the issue is perfect, far from it.
Terminus and his gang of deformed freaks (all damaged “by Batman”) are the weakest aspect of the arc. While we’ve seen Terminus monologue his hatred and angst for Batman, I don’t think Peter Tomasi ever gave us any reason to care for Terminus or his plight. Even his henchmen, who have all been scarred by Batman in someway, were one note and boring characters. We’re assuming that each of these characters were somehow breaking the law when Batman ultimately wounded them. Their being hurt by Batman isn’t going to endear readers to Terminus or his group of disfigured fiends.
Terminus’s plan is another issue that this arc can’t really overcome. His attack on Batman is a mass attack on the citizens of Gotham City. Terminus sends his goons out to round up civilians and brand them with the oh so famous bat signal that represents our pointy eared crusader. Then, after drawing the Bat out, Terminus wants to beat him up as bad as he can until his suit runs out. Then he’ll fire a chemical bomb over the sky of Gotham, killing every one as Batman watches.
Sounds thrilling, right? Except, as readers, we never really see this as a genuine threat. While, yes, attacking civilians directly does raises the stakes (and can you say “ouch”. I mean branding people?), there is never a real sense of danger or urgency. It just feels like a lame attempt at challenging Batman and his team.
The second plot of this arc involves Damian challenging the three former Robins. He wants to prove to everyone that he is better than each of his predecessors. Why exactly? It’s never made clear. One can ultimately assume that it’s Damian being his usual shitty self. There’s another idea though that Damian is trying to prove himself worthy as Robin not only to himself, everyone else, but also his father. This is the aspect of this arc that really would have been far more fascinating from a character stand point. It also would have been a more interesting read, but alas.
Peter Tomasi’s dialogue in this issue also leaned towards cliched a lot. While some of his dialogue can be funny and witty, other attempts of his in the issue just come off clunky and cheesy. For instance, Terminus yells for Batman to come out and face him. Batman jumps out and replies, “Your wish is my command!” I mean…really? He’s Batman, not the Genie from Aladdin. He could definitely scale it back a bit.
Art: Patrick Gleason’s art is consistently growing on me. While not the greatest comic book writer in the universe, his style is one that can be acquired taste. It’s a bit jarring at first because his angles and balance of frames isn’t always clean. Not to mention, his sizing varies from panel to panel. I swear Damian’s head grows and shrinks as you move from page to page.
That said, there are some panels that look amazing. My favorite is a panel of the four “Robins” looking up at the sky as Batman attempts to re-direct a missile into the ocean. They’re all staged in a very epic manner. Not to mention, it’s just really awesome to have all four Robins in one place.
Patrick Gleason could stand to clarify some of the action aspects. At times, it was hard to understand what had really happened in some of the fighting. If he just cleaned up the choreography of it a bit and layed it out on the page, it would be easier to follow.
Overall: Despite having some major flaws, Batman and Robin #12 ended this story arc on a positive note. A thrilling battle with Terminus finshes epically. We also get to see the four Robins united together.
My favorite aspect of this issue is that we finally see Batman and Robin working as a team. I also really enjoyed the sillier aspect of Batman having the exact suit and piece of tech he needed stowed away in his Batmobile. It seems silly and obvious as a plot point that Batman has that readily available. It’s a classic Batman story device though. It’s been used in each of the mediums that Batman has been in. That made me kind of happy and reminded me of why I like the character.
I’m curious to see how the 0 issue of this series uses the origin synopsis. I definitely enjoy getting this series every month and look forward to seeing where it goes next!