Everything is not what it seems in Robin: Son of Batman #5 written and drawn by Patrick Gleason, inks by Mick Grey and color by John Kalisz.
Damian tries to continue his quest for redemption, returning to Al Ghul Island to find another artifact to return. But when he and Maya get there and after encountering his “brothers”, Damian finds that the artifact has been stolen: by Talia! Talia, stripped of her madness by a Lu’un Darga sorcerer (who was unable to strip her of all of her memories and emotions as she interrupted and killed him) is in full heroic mode, and intends to stop Damian from returning the artifact to protect him. Damian is obviously, wary: he wants nothing to do with her and is ready to put her back into the ground. She reveals that the Al Ghuls have had a longstanding feud and war with the immortal Den Darga, the so called “first” guardians of the Lazarus Pits. While Al Ghuls had a (twisted) quest for harmony and balance to Earth, the Den Darga are much worse, wanting to cleanse the earth of all humans to protect the Lazarus Heart and the planet. Ra’s had used Damian to collect the sacred objects and sever sites of Darga power and seal them away. By returning and reactivating them, as he has been doing in an act of good will, Damian has let them free. Lu’un Darga then appears, taking control of the last artifact in Damian and Talia. The deadly battle begins.
Gleason’s art is back to the top. Damian still has a gap where his tooth was knocked out and Gleason should never have to do much in terms of purely domestic scenes when his forte is clearly a world of Indiana Jones style mysticism, temples and chaotic action. This issue allowed him to show off his skills with greenery and later, something I consider his specialty (spanning back to his time on Green Lantern Corps); eldritch abominations. While Talia’s speech was a bit exposition heavy, it did it’s job well, the art conveyed her urgency (and hey! Ethnicity too).
Heroic (I guess) Talia is probably the brightest beacon in the issue. In probably one of the smartest and most well done retcons and character revamps “on page” in a while, Talia’s incomplete “cleansing” by the Lu’un Darga sorcerer was an ingenious way to wipe away the villainy that washed over her during Morrison’s arc. Her dedication and love for her son is now first and foremost as it was at one time even under Morrison. She now resembles “herself” or at least the way most people like her: passionate, loyal and god help you if you get in her way. I’m intrigued to see where she will go from here. She sounds like she wants nothing to do with her father (good) and now has someone to fight (the Darga).
There are a lot of good moments in this issue, some amazing character development for Maya, and some rather sad touching moments. Its a big turn for everyone involved and the end is a definite new direction for the book than what we’ve seen so far, so I’m excited to see where this will go.
Very few. I’m enjoying the hell out of this book. This issue had way too many great pages and moments art and story wise. Most books should be envious to have a #5th issue this action packed.
What the hell are you doing? Buy this book!! Its violence keeps it from being a good book for younger preteens but I think this is a great book for teenagers who love action, mystery, spy and Indiana Jones type swashbucklery. This means cameos from the more occult side of DC could very well happen down the line. In general it has all the ingredients. Check it out.