It’s not often DC or Marvel introduce a new character I’m interested in. After all, with prices as high as they are ($3.99 Marvel? I continue to read more DC) I have a hard enough time keeping up with my long standing favorites. I usually become introduced to newbies when they guest or co-star in a title I’m already invested in, but for me to pick up a book in order to follow the story of someone new, they’ve got to be something special. Wolverine’s recently revealed brood fits the bill. I’m down with the rejuvenated Spider-woman. But of all the tight-wearing crime fighters to show up recently, Batman’s illegitimate rugrat Damain has been my hands down favorite so when I saw him facing Supergirl on Superman/Batman #77 I knew it would be coming home with me.
Of course I’ve only read him as written by Grant Morrison, making dropping a few extra bucks on this a risk, but one I was willing to take a shot on the chance that writer Joshua Williamson could handle Damian Wayne’s unique perspective in his role as Robin.
The story starts out with Supergirl trying to fill in for her cousin as he continues his walk about. She’s come across what remains after a particularly nasty murder on the streets of Metropolis and decides she needs the help of the World’s Greatest Detective. Unfortunately for her (and super cool for the readers) he’s not available, but his smart-ass son with a bad attitude is ready to temporarily fill Batman’s shoes. After a bit of banter the two Scooby up and head off to solve the mystery, and solve it they do.
There are some big high points sprinkled throughout this issue, number one being the outstanding characterization. Damian is at the top of his game as the spoiled, assassin raised son of the Dark Knight. His responses to Supergirl are spot on and often hilarious. His opposite also fills her role well and the two make a great pair in the vein of Riggs and Murtaugh.
The visuals are also top notch. Ale Garza has improved his game over the last several years, and he delivers a pseudo-cartoon style that brings a levity to the events and is pleasing to the eye.
In the end, however, it’s the story that sinks the ship. As mentioned above, things start out well, but as soon as the plot starts to gain traction, the whole thing is over. I love one and done single issue stories, but I honestly thought I had a few pages missing from my copy when I reached the end, and that feeling left me totally unsatisfied.
In the end, I very much enjoyed the inclusion of Damian in the events, but it was impossible to overlook the weakness of the overall plot.