There was a time when the word “cute” was not something you would associate with Damian Wayne. It was the antithesis of his demeanor and personality, an insult that might have led to him surging off the page in all his two-dimensional, full-color glory, determined to avenge his honor as an Al Ghul and a Wayne. But for Robin: Son of Batman #13, cute seems the best descriptor. Look how far we’ve come.
That isn’t a criticism, but an observation. The evolution of Damian from a dedicated assassin child carrying a shadow of dark supernatural destiny to Robin with a web of highly positive family loyalties is one of the most interesting and popular storylines to come out of DC in the past decade. Robin: Son of Batman has been the capstone of this process.
Unfortunately, this particular issue, the last in the series, isn’t an apogee but an epilogue. Writer and artist Patrick Gleason has moved on to other things, while the series as a whole lags behind DC’s new Rebirth project. It is a worthy farewell to Gleason’s saga, itself a worthy successor to Peter Tomasi’s Batman and Robin for which Gleason provided the art. Ray Fawkes captures Gleason’s irreverent tone and clever, creative world-building, although his script lacks the occasional icy threads that wove through the earlier part of the series. Ramon Bachs’ art matches Gleason’s reasonably well, lending the entire series an impressive visual continuity.
The story, such as it is, concerns Damian and Maya’s erstwhile foe, Suren Darga, and his final confrontation with his insane father, who isn’t as dead as everyone thought. The kids prevail, of course, after a convoluted battle in an underground lair featuring a magical gem. Fawkes unfortunately has continued some of Gleason’s bad traditions, including overwritten plots. To illustrate the weakness, let it just be said that to defeat Den Darga Damian dies AGAIN, and is resurrected AGAIN. I mean, yes he is an Al Ghul, and it’s kind of the family sport, but let’s not be silly, here. Nevertheless, it is all very cute. Yes, even with the death and resurrection (Damian actually stays dead about thirty seconds).
Now that Robin: Son of Batman has wrapped up, we can name a Most Valuable Player. The prize has to go to Goliath. He was one of the most unexpected additions to the DCU a little over a year ago, but the adorable dragon bat (and again, there was a time we would never have used the word “adorable” in connection with anything having to do with Damian Wayne) was definitely one of the greatest successes of the abortive DC You project.
ROBIN: SON OF BATMAN comes to an end with the thirteenth issue. It is a lucky number thirteen. The issue is an epilogue. But it's a worthy last issue of a worthy series. Whatever Damian, Maya, Goliath, and Suren have in store, we will always remember this year fondly.