Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Robin Rises: Alpha #1 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Peter J. Tomasi
Art By: Andy Kubert, Jonathan Glapion, Brad Anderson
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: December 24, 2014


When we last looked at Batman and Robin we saw Bruce go to hell and back to retrieve the body of his son Damian and with an endeavor that big, you'd be crazy to think that others in the Bat Family would let him go it alone.  So we had Red Hood, Red Robin, Batgirl, Cyborg and Titus go to Apokolips to retrieve the boy that was taken from us too soon and after an epic battle with a rejuvenated Darkseid, our heroes made it back home and for whatever reason Bruce took the Chaos Shard that was fused to his Hell Batsuit chest piece and stabbed it into the body of his son............ and somehow this made Bruce's craggy rock skin he had gotten on Apokolips go away, it had stopped his Hell Batsuit from exploding and most importantly, it made Damian come back to life.  When we left that issue we were given a tear jerker moment where father and son were reunited before given us a WTF? cliffhanger where it looked like Bruce had collapsed dead.  So let's see if Robin Rises: Alpha gives me any answers about how or why Bruce stabbing Damian with a Chaos Shard did all the things I mentioned or if they get ignored completely and we just go right in with superpowers.  Let's check it out.

Explain It!:

The issue begins with us seeing Alfred holding the fort while our heroes are away and it's actually really entertaining to see him talking to Alfred the cat and Bat-Cow about how well Batwoman and Batwing are doing on their own.  The sweetness of this opener though is quickly replaced with badassery when the computer says that an energy anomaly is being detected and Alfred gets up, puts on his jacket, combs his hair and grabs a big freaking energy weapon out of the armory, waiting for whatever baddie that might emerge from the opening boom tube..... Then it becomes a quick recap like I just gave you above but here we see some stuff that wasn't in the last issue of Batman and Robin.  Apparently Cyborg has been damaged to the point where he can't close the boom tube that brought them home........... That sounds like it could lead to some bad news.  So before anyone can get crazy about Batman collapsing, Kalibak comes through the boom tube and now it's a fight between the Bat Family and the son of Darkseid............ Oh and Batman is okay again............ I don't know, just go with it.

Most of the issue now becomes Kalibak kicking the shit out of everyone and Damian and all of us realizing that he has superpowers and that he can actually fight the god.  Even with the powers though it's still touch and go about who will win but when Cyborg gets control of his body again and can close the boom tube, we find out what Batman has been up to this entire fight........ He was getting the Bat Wing ready so he could hit Kalibak with a jet to send him back through the boom tube.......... Yeah, that's pretty freaking cool.  So the threat is over and we all have a nice moment where we acknowledge Damian being alive and well......... and with superpowers.

In the end we go back to normal with Bruce and Damian, where Damian wants to patrol and Bruce has to be the father and tell him that he wants to run more tests on him to be safe but as Alfred says as the three look at the once grave of Damian Wayne, "Is one night too much to ask?"  The signal beams in the sky and Batman and Robin go back to being Batman and Robin............ Oh and we see that Talia is alive again for some reason so the entire ending to Batman Incorporated was for nothing.  To give you a slight feeling of relief about Talia coming back and picking up where she left off we see that she has amnesia.......... But still we really just wiped the slate clean and gave Damian superpowers.

What You Talking Bout DC?

While this was a decent story, it doesn't feel like much of an issue.  It's more of an epilogue to the last issue of Batman and Robin and it kind of fails there too.  Well fails is kind of harsh, all I'm saying is I really wanted to know what was up with that Chaos Shard and how it magically made everything that was going wrong in the end of the last issue of Batman and Robin okay.  I'm even fine with it giving Damian superpowers but what about the rest?  Did we really just skip over some really important information to showcase superpowers?

That's it for this one shot and the end of the Robin Rises story arc and for all the excitement I've had leading up to this issue, I have to say I'm a bit underwhelmed.  Yeah, I'm happy that Damian is back and the addition of superpowers might make for some fun storytelling in the future but now Talia is back and everything that was going wrong like the Hell Batsuit exploding and Bruce really looking like he might die is just thrown under the rug.  This issue just really felt like a way to showcase Damian's new powers and less of the family reunion I had hoped it would be.  I did enjoy Andy Kubert penciling this title but I just can't seem to get over the fact that I just wanted more........... So I guess I'm just a Negative Nancy.  Even with all my mopey bullshit I just talked about I'm really looking forward to getting back to Batman and Robin actually being Batman and Robin.  So at least there's that to look forward to.

Bits and Pieces:

While I did enjoy this issue more than the last chapter in Batman and Robin it still suffers from not answering any of the questions that last issue brought at the end........ Hell they even have the entire ending to that issue at the beginning here and we still ignore how and why things happen.  Even with my unanswered questions though I couldn't help but feel giddy at Damian's return and while this is more of a chance to showcase Damian's powers than a real ending to the story, it's enjoyable for what it is.


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