Batman and Robin Volume 2: Pearl

Batman and Robin Volume 2: Pearl
Batman and Robin Pearl review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: DC - 978-1-4012-4089-9
  • Volume No.: 2
  • Release date: 2013
  • UPC: 9781401240899
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: Superhero

As Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s Batman and Robin series is part of DC’s 2011 reboot, all previous Robins are healthy and active, which is something that rankles with Damian Wayne, who feels a compulsion to prove himself the best of them. While his respect for his father was established in Born to Kill/Bad Blood (depending on which edition you prefer), he has no respect for his predecessors, and his conflict with them forms one part of Pearl.

The other major consideration is a new villain who’s gathered several others beaten by Batman in the past and left with scars from the experience. They institute a particularly gruesome form of revenge. Tomasi over two volumes now has ignored the so frequently seen regular Gotham villains and come up with his own, which is welcome. They’re intriguing for being unknown, and well enough conceived to sustain that interest.

While a few artists contribute a couple of pages at a time and Lee Garbett draws the opener, the bulk of Pearl is drawn by Patrick Gleason in his shadowy style. The superhero moments have the necessary force and impact, but perhaps a better indication of Gleason’s talent is a sequence toward the end involving an eclipse. It’s an eight page conversation between Bruce and Damian under unusual circumstances, and Gleason makes it look amazing. It’s the subtle colouring from John Kalisz that first catches the eye, but look beneath that and Gleason’s imagination maximises the potential. Tomas Giorello is the most prominent fill-in choice. He’s suited to the creatures he draws very nicely in an illustrative style.

While some problems remain sustaining disbelief about the capabilities and vocabulary of Robin aged ten, the emotional bolstering of needing to feel he’s the best Robin transmits more realistically, and the reactions of the others make for some plausible moments also.

Tomasi and Gleason’s version of Gotham is either unpleasantly violent, or alternatively a more mature approach to showing the consequences of violence. You’ll know yourself how you feel about the graphic nature. Otherwise it’s another entertaining slab of Batman and Robin action and psychological drama. The title may be cause for some head-scratching, seemingly bearing little relation to the content, but have some faith in Tomasi as it all makes sense at the end. The series continues with Death of the Family, or the entirety is available in an Omnibus.