BATMAN AND ROBIN #18
Author: Bobby Barrett
March 13, 2013

SYNOPSIS: You dare not miss this issue! It’s THE Batman and Robin story of the year!

A picture is worth a thousand words...

If that is the case, the interior of BATMAN AND ROBIN #18 is worth more words than could possibly fit into a 20 page comic book. In a risky move, writer Peter J. Tomasi maps out the newest issue of the series, but leaves it completely void of dialogue, relying on Patrick Gleason's art to tell the story on its own. The end result is one of the most memorable issues to date. The death of (Robin) Damian Wayne has cast a shadow on all of the Batman comics this month, but no title takes it to heart like BATMAN AND ROBIN – and rightfully so. Tomasi has continually lived up to his initial premise at the start of the title's New 52 relaunch: BATMAN AND ROBIN is a father/son story first and foremost, and an action story second. Fans around the world identify with Batman because he is human, and after more than a year's worth of examining the relationship between Bruce and Damian and seeing it grow, watching Bruce deal with having his own flesh and blood torn away from him proves painful, beautiful…and more relatable than ever.

We've all experienced it in some way, the shocking loss of a loved one. Everywhere you look, something reminds you of them, and you half expect them to walk into the room at any moment.

Bruce Wayne experiences this in his own way here, as conflicting emotions battle within him. A devastated father one minute, a human wrecking ball the next – Tomasi and Gleason perfectly display the whirlwind of emotions anyone could go through after suffering this kind of tragedy.

Easily Gleason's most carefully penciled issue yet, the art sweeps the reader into both Bruce and Alfred's heartache. The silence goes practically unnoticed, as Gleason's work--perfectly complimented by Mick Gray's inks and rich coloring from John Kalisz--results in an engaging and humbling experience.

Throughout its run, this title has given us an intimate look at the inner workings of Damian Wayne, and it can truly be said that the character's demise would not have the impact it's had on Batman fans without it. Grant Morrison may have given Damian life, but Peter Tomasi gave him soul. As we finish the last issue of this series to feature “Robin” (for now) as part of its title (starting next month, a rotating supporting cast will step in to fill the “Batman And…), that much is clear. - Bobby Barrett

GRADE: A+

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