Writer: Peter Tomasi
Art: Patrick Gleason
Publisher: DC Comics
Batman and Robin have taken quite a beating; physically, mentally and emotionally. In Batman and Robin #8, the Dynamic Duo takes a little time to recover from their injuries and to reflect on the fall-out of the rather surprising ending of the last issue. Damien has crossed the line; he killed Nobody. How will Bruce handle this situation both as a father and as the Batman?
At the core of this struggle is Damien trying to understand who he is and who he wants to be. While he wants to be the noble, principled man his father is, he also feels darker impulses, ones that conflict with the principles of the Batman. In short, Damien is finding it difficult to be the “good” guy. He’s not alone in this struggle. “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate I do. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:15; 18-19 NIV). Sound familiar? That’s Damien’s struggle, and our own; the struggle to try and be “good” when we feel the impulse to simply do what we want, even when we know it’s wrong. What’s the solution? “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romand 7:24-25 NIV). The solution has to come from outside of ourselves, from the only one truly qualified to establish what’s right and wrong, the only one qualified to set for us the standard by which we are to live, and the only one qualified to empower us to live by that standard; Jesus Christ. The simple fact is we can’t be “good” on our own; our darker impulses will always win out. The only solution isn’t to live a principled life with no exceptions, as Bruce suggests, but rather to change our impulses, to change our nature through the death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s the answer Damien is searching for and the only way he’ll be able to find that “moral compass” he so desperately longs for. It’s also the answer for all of us who desire to find the same.
Batman and Robin #8 is a quiet but excellent conclusion to the opening arc of this series. It again evolves the relationship between Bruce and Damien - the most fascinating part of this series thus far – and continues to show how these events are changing Bruce and his outlook on life as he works to remove darkness from his life. Of all the bat books, this is the one that’s had the strongest emotional core, and that’s front and center in this issue. There’s still a lot for Brue and Damien to resolve, but they’re off to a good start. We’ll see what affect the Court of Owls has on them as they continue to struggle with themselves as much as the villains they face.
Score: 5 of 7
A BIG thanks to Astro-Zombies for providing the material for this review. Learn more about them at astrozombies.com.