Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Simone Di Meo
Letterer: Steve Wands
Cover Artist: Simone Di Meo
Publisher: DC Comics
The dynamic duo are back! Batman and Robin return to fighting crime in Gotham City and their first case deals with a kidnapping and theft of odd pieces of technology across Gotham. All while the two heroes are stalked by the mysterious new villainess: Shush. Read Batman and Robin #2 to see how the heroes try to solve this case, and how Damian handles his first day of high school.
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All right, if you’re looking for good Batman and Robin crimefighting, this title is where it’s at. Now, as readers will be able to tell, we do get the reveal of who the mysterious new villain is and the synopsis gives us a name and the cover shows her facial design: Shush. I will delve into the character later in the review. But for now, let’s focus on the plot.
The comic starts off with a short flashback of Damian’s early years during his training among the League of Assassin’s to show how he’s learning a cold lesson of keeping his feelings in check. From there, the comic quickly transitions back to where we left off with Robin helping Batman who’s being attacked by bats after being hit by a custom pellet shot by Shush. Once they get away, we get a bit of recap with Bruce and Damian while Shush and the other villains reconvene in their hideout at the Gotham City Zoo to plan their next move. But while that’s going down, Damian attends his first day of high school and it goes about as well as you’d expect.
Naturally, the comic was pretty fun and there was plenty of room for action, humor, emotion, and tension near the end. Joshua Williamson continues to pull of the father-son dynamic between Bruce and Damian by embracing some classic tropes while also keeping them in line with the unique relationship the two share. That way their relationship doesn’t feel too normal or too out there, it’s just the right amount of both. And the same goes with the art, Simone Di Meo keeps it up with art when it comes to character designs, facial expressions, making the movement look good, and the locations and coloring go hand-in-hand with setting the mood and reflecting the mindsets of certain characters.
Now, let’s get to the two major elements of this comic: Shush and Damian’s first day of high school. Let’s start with Damian’s first day attending Gotham City High School (kind of a basic name), and it goes about as well as you’d expect. We get kids gossiping about Damian just as he enters the school halls, some good, some bad, and then he meets his first bully. Now, Damian keeps his cool, but we do get a cool imaginary page showing what Damian would really like to do to the bully and his goons. The school principal intervenes and we get a couple panels with a teacher before Damian covertly exits the class and the school, like a boss, which is illustrated brilliantly by Simone Di Meo.
To be honest, I didn’t think he’d leave this quick. But what works is, like I said before, how the comic balances the “relatable” elements with the character-specific elements, as we see Damian deal with some jerks like most kids do, but we see how he would just destroy them if he wanted too because he would and can. The only negative here is that the comic still hasn’t convinced me that this storyline will be anything more than a waste of time since Damian is far more educated than the students and possibly the teachers. From the surface, it doesn’t seem there’s much here to gain for Damian in the long run both in and out of this run. We’ll have to wait and see if future issues prove me wrong.
Then there’s Shush. I’ll share some of the good things with her first, then my criticism and concerns for her and this story arc. First, from what we’ve seen she has a solid character design which is a dead giveaway to who she’s likely partnered with. Then there’s the design of her speech bubbles which are so grey and lightly colored that it gives the impression that she’s soft-spoken and displays a sense of self-control compared to the more loud and aggressive characters in her crew. Now, the negatives. The obvious is that she’s clearly derivative of Hush, who’s likely the main villain of this story arc, but I could be wrong and they reveal it’s someone else. And some of her dialogue hints that she wants revenge against Batman, but for what we’ll see though I hope it’s not something convoluted. My main concern is that Williamson will basically make her Hush 2.0, especially if Hush doesn’t end up being directly involved in any way in this story, and we’ll just get some variation of Hush’s older schemes but with a new twist somehow involving animal-human hybrids. However, I’m happy to be proven and she ends up being a cool villainess with a great first story, instead of ending up like Joker’s Daughter.
Batman and Robin #2 reveals the new villainess hunting the dynamic duo: Shush. It’s obvious who the character is evoking, but we’ve yet to see if there’s a direct connection between the two. The story continues where it left off last issue and smoothly transitions to Damian’s first day of high school, which goes about as well as anyone expects. The art and characterization go hand-in-hand in this comic whether characters are talking or when they’re engaged in action. Overall, it’s a fun comic that sets the stage for more action and intrigue in the next issue.