[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tom Taylor
Penciller: Bruno Redondo
Inker: Juan Albarran
Colors: Rex Lokus
Connor’s cry draws the attention of Ra’s’ followers and they converge upon Harley, Connor and the wounded Wildcat. Team Batman hears the cry as well and Canary, Green Arrow and Batgirl show up just in time to save Harley and Connor.
Back at home, Aqualad and Natasha Irons watch over the Presidential inauguration as Aqualad waxes on Aquaman’s take on what’s going on in the world.
Meanwhile, Batman is still trussed up by Poison Ivy and in order to escape he has to release a perhaps humorous agent – common weed killer. It doesn’t kill Ivy, but it weakens her enough so that Batman is able to free himself and find Alfred.
Upon finding his previously deceased butler, Batman must face his son. Surprisingly, it takes Batman very little time to break Damian’s arm. While Damian taunts him, the up till now vegetative Alfred seems to becoming aware of his surroundings, and a hand stays Batman’s blow from landing upon Damian.
The clean lines and straightforward story telling make this an easy issue to follow. Alfred’s slow awakening is depicted quite effectively, despite being an obvious story moment.
The pain between father and son is palpable. Any animosity between parent and child is tragic, and it is no different here as Damian and Batman apparently see the world completely differently. The most interesting aspect about this is that both points of views are understandable. There is a moral imperative implied of course, but the struggle is believable and the alternative tempting.
Throughout, small character moments make this issue engaging, despite it being a more plot driven issue. However, the best moment of all is Bruce and Alfred’s reunion as Alfred calls Bruce “son”. It’s possibly the most emotional moment I’ve ever read in a comic.
There are no real negatives, it’s just a chapter that moves the plot forward more on story than character.
What could easily be a “phone-it-in” tie-in comic has become an engaging examination of these characters in an extreme situation. How does Batman maintain his moral compass in the given situation? How does one define “greater good?” It tries to paint the difference between big picture vs little picture, which is a moral dilemma one faces in life.