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'Batman and Robin' #5 will appeal to YA readers
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Comic Books

‘Batman and Robin’ #5 will appeal to YA readers

Damian must prove his principal is evil, or face the fact that he’s dead wrong.

People keep saying American comics need to learn a thing or two from manga, and it’s becoming clearer that Batman and Robin are considering some of those lessons. Even though Batman’s name comes first in the title, this series has leaned more heavily into Robin’s perspective and even dropped him into grade school. In Batman and Robin #5, Damian is sure his principal is also a woman who helped train him when his mother had high hopes for him in the League of Assassins. Assuming she’s a villain with a nefarious plan, he goes undercover as a normal high schooler and may learn something.

Joshua Williamson plots a good issue here, opening the issue unexpectedly as we see Bruce carting around pancakes to help earn money for the soccer team. Smash cut to Batman and Robin chasing Orca, which then directly leads back to the previous scene, and there’s a good sense of energy and excitement right off the bat. Outside of some noticeable exposition-heavy chatter between Batman and Robin, the issue is well-written and keeps things moving.

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The core of this book lies with Damian, who is too smart for school but also socially incapable of meeting people. Batman says he wants his son to meet kids his age, but that doesn’t seem too much of a concern for him. That is until he realizes joining the soccer team could help him crack the case and prove the principal is a villain. Meanwhile, when he follows them, Damian must navigate bullies during the day and deal with their barbs at night.

DC Preview: Batman and Robin #5

Bruce serves pancakes now.
Credit: DC Comics

That isn’t to say Batman isn’t present. He is, and he’s basically the most wholesome dad anyone could ask for. It’s great to see Williamson play that element up, as he’s not the cold and calculating Batman but just a guy who truly cares about his kid.

The manga vibes are strong with this issue thanks to the central focus of teenager Damian–and the awkwardness that comes with it–but also in the art. Nikola Cizmesija draws a great soccer sequence. I could see younger readers gravitating towards this issue thanks to the well-drawn dribbling of the soccer ball as Damian evades opponents and goes for the big shot. The Orca chase is also great, and longtime fans will appreciate Cizmesija putting Batman in a different water-based costume.

The idea of throwing Damian in all black with sunglasses while in school is also a fun idea. All the school scenes could easily come off as boring, but Cizmesija makes them interesting. A montage of Damian monitoring the principal captures the fact that Damian doesn’t fit in, nor is he getting any intel he can use.

Props should go to the creative team for making Batman and Robin accessible to younger readers, with its focus on Damian in high school. I can’t prove manga has had an influence on how this reads, but it certainly feels present. All ages can enjoy this, but young adults will adore it.

'Batman and Robin' #5 will appeal to YA readers
‘Batman and Robin’ #5 will appeal to YA readers
Batman and Robin #5
Props should go to the creative team for making Batman and Robin accessible to younger readers, with its focus on Damian in high school. I can't prove manga has had an influence on how this reads, but it certainly feels present. All ages can enjoy this, but young adults will adore it.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.5
The high school centric plot works well
Nice plotting keeps the pace up with action here or there
Nice to see a wholesome dad in Batman
Cizmesija draws a hell of a good soccer scene
A bit of a clunky exposition heavy moment early on
More of a Robin comic than a Batman comic
8.5
Great
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