Pros: The main storyline is great and provides Damian with tons of character development. The introduction of Goliath and Nobody is wonderful as both are fantastic new characters.
Cons: The conclusion to the “Year of Blood” plotline comes out of nowhere and feels rushed.
Overall: This story continues the work of the Batman and Robin series in establishing Damian Wayne as a well rounded and likable character. Though it stumbles a bit around the conclusion, the rest of this is a wonderful and wholesome tale of adventure and redemption. If you like Damian Wayne and want to see more of him at his finest then this is the book for you.
Robin: Son of Batman Vol. 1: Year of Blood is a story about Damian Wayne seeking redemption for a year of violence prior to meeting Batman. It starts off great, introducing interesting characters while also providing a fun adventure to follow along with. Then, as the story concludes, it goes off the deep end for a bit and forces a strange ending. However, the epilogue wraps things up nicely, giving the current arc a nice conclusion and simultaneously sets up for the next arc. All in all, author Patrick Gleason provides an extremely enjoyable book whose biggest flaw is more than made up for by how well written everything else is.
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The beginning of this collection sees Damian wrestling with the sins of his past. From this inner turmoil, he decides to set things right by undoing everything he did while under the tutelage of his mother.
Overall this storyline is a fun adventure in both the past and the present. In the past, readers get to see Damian destroying lives and desecrating sacred locations. In the present, readers get to see him go back to these places and correct his past actions. This allows the story to be fun and lighthearted while also showing that there is a darkness to the story as well. It is also the perfect contrast to show how much Damian has changed and evolved since meeting his father.
Along the way, readers are introduced to Goliath, a bat monster that serves as Damian’s pet, and NoBody, the daughter of the man Damian killed in Batman and Robin Vol. 1: Born to Kill. Both of these characters provide a lot to the story as a whole. NoBody and Damian have some great exchanges; some are humorous and provide brevity to the story while others are deep and reveal more about the characters’ emotions and past. Meanwhile Goliath and Damian have a dog/boy type relationship that allows them to connect on a more emotional level; in particular seeing Goliath’s tragic origin was both well written and heartbreaking.
The book’s biggest flaw happens around the end of the “Year of Blood” storyline. This entire storyline is a pretty straightforward tale of redemption, yet this issue throws in an entirely different conflict on top of that. It adds a mythical cult as the book’s antagonist, something with not nearly enough setup to serve as a proper villain. This makes the ending feel as if it comes out of nowhere and does not add or contribute to the themes developed earlier. All of this is an alright setup for potential stories in the future but is not a good conclusion for this storyline.
However, the book’s epilogue issue makes up for some of this. It gives the book a more fitting and decompressed conclusion that ties in all of the series themes together into one cohesive issue. Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason were great at wrapping things up in emotional talks between characters in the Batman and Robin series; here Gleason proves that he is still more than capable of doing this.
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In addition to writing this series, Patrick Gleason also provides the art for each issue as well. Overall this is a very good thing as, after reading this book, I can’t imagine anyone else drawing it. Characters and locations are drawn with the perfect level of detail to allow them to look good while also retaining a sense of lightheartedness to them. This fits the book to a T as both of the series’ protagonists are children. Overall, it is a good looking book with a style that suits it almost perfectly.
In addition to Gleason’s drawings being perfect for the series, the colors used by Gleason and colorist John Kalisz fall into this same category. This is a bright book that is more colorful than nearly anything else coming out of DC or Marvel at this time. It sets the book apart and helps contribute to the lightheartedness mentioned earlier. Personally, it is one of my favorite aspects of the book’s artwork and something that I truly enjoyed while reading.
Robin: Son of Batman Vol. 1: Year of Blood is the first volume of the Robin: Son of Batman series. This is a brand new series in the DC Universe. It mostly has its origins in the Batman and Robin comic, which ended with Batman and Robin Vol. 7: Robin Rises. However, this series features a new and separate storyline. This makes Robin: Son of Batman an approachable series for new readers and makes this volume a great jumping on point.
The story here continues in Robin: Son of Batman Vol. 2: Dawn of Demons.
This volume also references and continues the stories from other comic book, all of which are detailed below:
- The footage of Robin and Nobody was recorded in Batman and Robin Vol. 1: Born to Kill.
- Damian thinks Dick Grayson is dead because of the events of Forever Evil and because of the plan laid out at the end of Nightwing Vol. 5: Setting Son (Review)
- Damian thinks Talia is dead because of the events of Batman Incorporated Vol. 2: Gotham’s Most Wanted.
- Dick mentions being Batman at one point in time. This happened because of the events of Battle for the Cowl and started in Batman and Robin Vol. 1: Batman Reborn.
- In a dream sequence, Bruce’s “death” is an homage to Damian’s death in Batman Incorporated Vol. 2: Gotham’s Most Wanted.
- The existence of Robin’s “brothers” is discovered in Batman and Robin Vol. 6: The Hunt for Robin. They end up in their current situation due to the events of Batman and Robin Vol. 7: Robin Rises.
- At the end of this book, the events of Batman Vol. 7: Endgame are viewed on a computer screen