The power in the opening sequence of Batman and Robin: Pearl, is the latent power of comics—the reliance of the medium on the reader to animate disparate images as a logical, coherent flow of information.
Pearl opens with a recap of Robin’s origin, the most recent Robin, Damian Wayne, Batman Bribe Wayne’s actual son.
It’s a timeous move and one that builds a deep emotional investment with Damian on the part of the reader. But what writer Peter Tomasi and artist Patrick Gleason even more deeply, is the emotional investment that comes with intellectual activity, a kind of intellectual activity that is unique to comics.
Think of reading comics as an activity best described by Poe ‘s story “The Pit and the Pendulum”. Reading comics we develop a sense of a coherent story in two ways. First, there’s the Pendulum. There’s the swinging back and forth between a flow of images and a flow of words. But even as we notice the Pendulum, the Pit becomes apparent. The Pit is that great chasm, the ever-gaping maw that we must keep in order to string disparate words or disparate images together in a coherent narrative.
By removing the reader’s reliance on a flow of text to assist in explaining Damian’s origin, Tomasi and Gleason are able to focus on the emotional discord the stark, singular images convey. Damian was raised by assassins, but by the end of this retelling of his origin, we feel every second of that emotional rigidity Damian had to install to simply survive childhood.
Please enjoy our exclusive preview of Batman and Robin, Vol. 2: Pearl.
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