Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dustin Nguyen and Steve Wands
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: December 14th, 2021
It’s Dick Grayson’s 12th Birthday and BATMAN has a wicked surprise lined up for his first Ward. ROBIN & BATMAN take a trip to meet the JUSTICE LEAGUE, as well as their sidekicks, for the first time. But, that’s not all that’s in store as ROBIN & BATMAN #2 by Jeff Lemire continues to unfold showcasing even more of Dick’s time as the first Boy Wonder. Let’s soar into this tale and discover what made Dick the hero everyone loves so much today.
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Jeff Lemire offers fans a unique look at a young Dick Grayson searching to find his place after the tragedy that was bestowed upon his parents. Imagine your range of emotions following the murder of your parents, then being adopted by a Billionaire only to discover he’s THEE vigilante that safeguards the streets of Gotham a night. Instantly, you join his ranks realizing you’re being molded as his eventual replacement. Well, that’s where Lemire continues this tale.
ROBIN & BATMAN #2 quickly thrusts Robin into the thick of the JUSTICE LEAGUE in a sincere and wholesome way. And could you think of a better birthday present for Dick? The irony is Lemire made BATMAN look like a jerk as Bruce ultimately decides to put Dick’s birthday on hold. The body language between Alfred and Bruce sketches the story perfectly.
You see, readers discover what they’ve always known. BATMAN is Dick’s adopted father by name. But it’s Alfred who truly fills that role. However, not just for Dick but for Bruce and all the other ROBINS who’ve come under BATMAN’S wing. As much as it pains me to say it, Lemire spends this issue of ROBIN & BATMAN showing fans Bruce’s motives. It’s not to say that he doesn’t care for Dick. Yet, readers discover as the story comes to a close that even this birthday surprise is nothing more than a training exercise. But with BATMAN, when isn’t it?
A father is supposed to be caring, compassionate, fun, and always there when you need him. Sure, he’s strong, tough, and teaches his sons how to be courageous. Still, what I see before this issue of ROBIN & BATMAN comes to a close, is that Alfred fits that bill more than Bruce. You see, without sounding too Jason Todd-like, BATMAN is shown as merely honing Dick as a weapon. Heck, when Dick arrives back from his secret adventures with the sidekicks, he’s enamored by it all and can’t wait to tell Alfred. That excitement doesn’t even resonate with Bruce. Nevertheless, it’s Bruce who brings the level back down as we see his ulterior motive.
If anything, Lemire’s take is actually making me love Alfred so much more as I begin to like Bruce less and less. Alfred literally ends the issue by calling BATMAN a bastard, which is exactly what fans will start to realize after ROBIN & BATMAN #2. I think fans of the character often overlook this side of BATMAN in favor of the Batgod. However, this isn’t hard to imagine. He’s that militant father figure morphing his child into a good little soldier forcing his cause on his children. I only wonder where Dick would be without Alfred.
Dustin Nguyen makes this issue of ROBIN & BATMAN lighthearted and lovable regardless of this reviewer’s take or feelings towards BATMAN and his agenda. Nguyen’s painted brush strokes and vibrant colors are undoubtedly easy on the eyes and promote an almost childlike warmth that’s overly inviting and genuine. In a way, ROBIN & BATMAN looks like a children’s book and feels like something you could read with your kids. Moreover, I absolutely love Nguyen’s take on the JUSTICE LEAGUE. They were real and didn’t abound with muscles and large chests. It’s almost as if there is this level of wholesomeness that brings the issue down to earth. Plus, the care and compassion, as well as the shock and awe, readers feel from Alfred is solely correlated to the expressions all over both Alfred and Dick’s faces.
ROBIN & BATMAN #2 is a must-read. It’s the perfect blend of action, creativity, and sly humor that paints the unique beginnings for Dick Grayson as ROBIN. We see a clever first meeting with the JUSTICE LEAGUE as well as an incredibly brutal look at Bruce as a “father figure”. Yet, readers get a magnificent look at the glue that has always held Bruce and his Ward’s together: Alfred. Alfred is the perfect father for Bruce, as well as Dick. And after reading this issue of ROBIN & BATMAN, readers will clearly see the love Alfred has for this family while simultaneously seeing the mission always play out in Bruce’s mind regardless of what relationships he ruins in the process. I highly recommend picking up this issue as well as the series. Furthermore, it’s a great story to sit down and read with your kids. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!