Comic Book Review – Batman and Robin – Bad Blood (2018)

DC Essentials – Batman and Robin: Bad Blood (2018) 

Writer – Peter J. Tomasi 

Artist – Patrick Gleason 

The TO Comic Book Club’s latest book selection features the father and son team of Bruce and Damian Wayne as Batman and Robin. A villain named Nobody tries to drive a wedge between Bruce and Damian and put an end to their already tenuous relationship. Can Bruce and Damian find common ground and put a stop to Nobody before he causes death and mayhem on the streets of Gotham? 

When the New 52 reboot debuted, I was invested in reading Batman and Detective Comics and totally missed out on Batman and Robin. When this book selection was announced, I dove into the collection and read it over four days. Tomasi and Gleason are one of my favorite creative teams that don’t seem to get praised enough. Every property they tackle (like Green Lantern and Superman) have stories full of action, heart, and surprises you don’t see coming. Bruce is trying to instill his values and provide a sense of normalcy for Damian. Batman can handle deadly situations and fight tooth and nail against any villain but he still hasn’t figured out fatherhood. He’s trying his best and when he seems to fail at bonding with Damian, Alfred is there to try to help Bruce the best that he can. I always enjoyed the lighthearted interactions between Alfred and Bruce and I have missed them ever since Alfred passed away. 

Nobody is the perfect villain to test the new Dynamic Duo. He tries to prey on Damian’s status as a rookie hero in the field while trying to gain a measure of revenge against Bruce. Nobody’s origin is revealed about halfway through the collection. We also get a peek at Bruce’s journey to become Batman, which I always find interesting. I like the dual meanings of Nobody’s code name – you’ll find out what they are once you read this story. 

It’s been awhile since I’ve read an older Batman story and I really enjoyed this one. One of my main pet peeves about DC Comics nowadays is how a majority of comic releases are Batman or Dark Knight adjacent. If I ran DC Comics, Id have two Bat Titles monthly – Batman featuring the solo adventures of the Caped Crusader and Detective Comics featuring Batman and Robin. That’s it. Once a quarter, I’d run a Batman-centric miniseries or have two miniseries run from May-June and then July-August. They need to trim some Bat-titles and give some other heroes a chance to shine. I love the Dynamic Duo and to not see them fighting together is a travesty. There is no Batman without Robin and vice versa. 

DC Essentials – Batman and Robin: Bad Blood contains the first eight issues of the New 52’s Batman and Robin series and is currently available on Hoopla and your local library. If you are unable to locate it, Batman and Robin Volume 1 – Born to Kill is another option and was the first trade to contain these collections of issues.