Sunday, July 26, 2015

Robin, Son of Batman #2

How do you not notice the printer put the cover art in upside down? Come on, DC!

I rewatched In Bruges yesterday. It's one of my favorite movies and one piece of entertainment I won't spoil even though it's eight years old. The movie has some problems but I think they're more problems on the way I'd like things to have turned out rather than problems with the film. Intellectually and thematically, I can understand why things happen the way they do. If you haven't seen it and you haven't heard anything about it, just watch it without digging around to see what it's about. It's currently on Netflix. And while it's definitely not the kind of movie that everybody is going to like, I think Colin Farrel and Brendan Gleeson turn in some absolutely spectacular performances. I saw it when it came out (at the Laurelhurst Theater in Portland, Oregon, of course) mainly due to the trailer. That trailer should be studied by most movie studios. It was simultaneously engaging whilst still managing to keep the real plot of the movie a surprise. Highly recommend. Would see again!

That has nothing to do with Robin, Son of Batman. Neither does this: in the two issue miniseries "The Pink Mink" featuring Wolverine and Doop, Doop says, in his secret language, "Gene Simmons is a fag." What the fuck was that about, Peter Milligan?! Maybe Milligan didn't script that at all. Maybe the letterer lost his girlfriend to Gene at a Kiss concert?

This issue begins with Damian Wayne acting cocky and/or arrogant. Whenever I want to add more flare to my writing, I'm going to use synonyms and link them by "and/or"! It'll be my thing! When people discuss Grunion Guy's writing in college classes years from now, students will write essays about me with titles like "Why the Fuck Do I Have To Read This Shit?" and "Grunion Guy is Garbage and/or Shit."

The scene in which Damian is acting arrogant is a practice skirmish with his mother where he believes he's beaten her but then she smacks him in the head and tells him he'll only beat her when she's dead. I mean, he won't whale on her corpse! He'll have defeated her only when she's dead. So that's her main lesson to her son: kill your enemy. And dad's main lesson to Damian is this: "Son, you must beat the ever loving crap out of your enemy but don't kill him because that's even more humiliating and kind of funny too. Especially when they come after you for revenge and you get to humiliate them a second time! So much more satisfying than killing them!"

After the flashback to Damian's initiation into The Year of Blood, the comic continues in South America where Damian is completing the first task of the Year of Atonement.

I hope Robin completes four or five tasks per comic book or else this comic series is going to take thirty years to complete.

The Guardian awakens once it regains its head and flips the fuck out. Since it's now attacking Damian and Goliath while screaming for more bricks for the temple, Damian feels justified in beating the crap out of it. Hopefully he won't take off its head to defeat it. Does the atonement still count if he immediately repeats the sin?

While Robin is being turned into a stone creature by The Guardian's "reality-warping, hypno-hands," he gains the ability to see Nobody Too watching him from atop a bottle cap shaped billboard. She springs into action to save innocent bystanders from being crushed by the buildings being knocked over by Goliath and the Guardian's battle. Once the Guardian's powers knock out Nobody Too's cloaking ability, she decides to abandon secrecy and just dive in to help Damian.

Aw, she's thanking him! They'll be best friends in no time.

Damian, Nobody Too, and Goliath wind up in the grip of the Guardian and can't break free. That means it's time for Damian to remember what happened on the first day of the Year of Blood to get some clues on how to defeat the Guardian. I bet it has to do with bricks!

It doesn't have anything to do with bricks. Damian gained possession of a magic sword protected by the Guardian. With that sword, Damian took the head off of the Guardian. I'm not sure why he needed the head of the Guardian though. I guess it was just a challenge to see if he could survive doing it. While defeating the Guardian, Damian learned from the villagers that they will have no protection against the cartels now. Damian declares that he doesn't care and leaves. That's when he realizes he must defeat the cartels because they're there because of Damian.

Once Damian and Nobody defeat the cartels, the Guardian judges him worthy of living (even if he still has the Guardian's sword). Day One of Atonement is complete! But it'll take more than one day worth of atoning to convince Nobody that Damian has changed. Not that Nobody cares! Nobody wants to see Damian atone for every day in the Year of Blood so that she can kill him then. I bet they become best friends before that day takes place in thirty years!

Like a well? Maybe of souls?!

Nobody lets Damian know that she'll be working with him to help me make amends. But not because she thinks he's cute, tee hee! It's because Damian is an arrogant little punk who needs to see how much damage he's caused. Damian seems to understand that he was a really terrible kid and he doesn't want anybody to see him that way anymore. Intellectually, he understands right versus wrong and how to go about at least trying to fix his reputation so that his father (and his father's Super Friends) will be able to see him as a hero without any caveats. But emotionally, Damian Wayne is a stubborn, arrogant prick. He's calculating and manipulative with his emotions even if he thinks he's being sincere. He's a sociopath doing the things he believes people with emotions would do, like when he gave his father one of the pearls from Martha Wayne's necklace. Now, I don't truly think he's a sociopath because that doesn't make for an interesting character. It's just that he's never known true emotion and can only simulate it through calculated actions. His journey into truly feeling his emotions is what will be interesting. You can see his inability to truly understand the pain he's caused when Nobody confronts him about the murder of her father.

He is lackadaisical in the idea of an apology and simply doesn't care about being forgiven. Right now, he cares for nobody. Before this is over, he'll care for Nobody.

Robin, Son of Batman #2 Rating: No change. Patrick Gleason has a solid framework built to tell the story of Damian's redemption. In atoning for his past crimes, he'll see first hand the repercussions of his actions. He'll meet people he's hurt along the way who will forgive him, and be thankful, even though he was the initial cause of all of their problems. He'll meet people he wants to help who won't give him their forgiveness and, at first, I'm sure he'll brush it off and not care. But it will begin to grate on him that people aren't acknowledging his redemptive actions which will hurt. He'll be doing a lot of self-examination during this comic series although it won't be easy. I'm sure we'll have a lot more arrogant, uncaring Damian before we see much movement toward emotional understanding.

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