Writer: Pete Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Reviewer: Optimous Douche
So good and gory I almost threw up in my mouth. Gleason get the creep award in this week’s “DEATH OF THE FAMILY” offering through the unraveling of a young Boy and the most grotesque puppetry since the recent news about Elmo.
This is Damian’s story all the way and takes place a very close heartbeat away from the moments of BATMAN 15 when the family turns against one another. You can read one book without the other, but some of Damian’s motivation and inner dialog will be lost.
In three distinct acts, Tomasi gives us one of the best portrayals of Damian to date.
Confined to monitor duty, in usual fashion Damian gives a resounding “F this noise” and begins the hunt for Pennyworth. Great moments abound as Damian and Titus, the Batdog, begin their sleuthing for clues. A boy and his dog story are Americana at its finest, Titus is Damian’s Robin and the interchange between them is exactly what you would expect from a ten year old. Damian truly believes Titus understands him, and it as endearing as it is sad when set against the atrocities in the rest of the issue.
In Act II Damian’s clues lead to Alfred’s whereabouts at the Hyena cage in the Gotham Zoo. “I hate the zoo” are the only words Damian mutters throughout his battle with the Joker venom carrying hounds and with that Tomasi unpeels another layer of the Damian mystique, the boy who hates being a boy.
Of course the Joker finally gets some alone time with Damian after an inventive knock-out and here is where I truly almost lost my lunch. You know that face the Joker has strapped on and probably should have rotted off by now? Well, it’s finally starting to show some of the gummy elasticity of necrotic wear. The Joker molds, stretches and contorts the face in a macabre puppet show as he unhinges Damian in a game of verbal cat and mouse. Especially creepy was the complete inversion of the face where the Joker’s beady pupils are in the mouth. This is also the part where Damian shines as the true son of Bruce Wayne. When he makes a solemn vow to kill the Joker, you can see and hear honest-to-God fear from the Joker towards this new Robin. He is more than a sidekick, he is a true successor to the throne of the Bat. Given the newfound revelation of the Joker’s adoration for Batman, you can imagine how far off the edge this sends the putty faced price of crime.
Steely calm, petulant annoyance, and snippets of an innocence not completely lost are the essence of Damian. Tomasi hit every chord in this issue with pitch perfect execution. This is more than worthy of the DEATH OF THE FAMILY die-cut cover, it is an essential entry.