“I’m not quite on solid ground yet. Damian can’t see me second-guess myself. There’ll be times when I’ll need to go it alone”
Dick Grayson utters these words to Alfred late in this, the first issue of his tenure as the Batman. It’s a rather blatant patch of conversation for returning Batman writer Judd Winick to differentiate his book from the more noteworthy Batman and Robin, but as effective a mission statement for this book as necessary. After the exceptionally bland non-event that was “The Battle For The Cowl”, this issue provides a nice transition (allowing readers to effectively bypass “Battle…” without feeling like they missed anything) and shows the former Robin’s process getting comfortable with the idea of putting on his mentor’s uniform, and taking his own Robin under his wing. Winick writes some meaty moments here as Dick and Alfred commiserate, and Superman and Wonder Woman stop by to share in their grief. It may sound trite, but it does have sincerity and are the better parts of the book. What works less is the token, extraneous action sequences which, in a regular-sized issue, would have been severely trimmed, but are allowed too much time to breathe, sucking some of the life out of the issue’s pacing. Ex-Justice League of America artist Ed Benes takes on the penciling chores, with Rob Hunter on inks, and they do a passable, inoffensive job, but no one’s going to be deeming him a quintessential Batman artist amidst the Adams and Aparos any time soon.