Batman Prelude to the Wedding: Robin vs. Ra’s Al Ghul #1 – Tim Seeley, Writer; Brad Walker, Penciller; Andrew Hennessy, Mick Gray, Inkers; Otto Schmidt, Backup Artist; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Interesting But Not Essential
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: The other weekly miniseries kicking off this week, Batman: Prelude to the Wedding will follow the key members of the Bat-family (as well as Harley Quinn, because reasons. Note: Corrina says ‘money reasons’) as they prepare for the wedding of Batman and Catwoman in Batman #50. All five issues will be written by Tim Seeley and feature an iconic Bat-rogue as well, but in this kick-off, Robin Vs. Ra’s Al Ghul #1, the presence of Ra’s Al Ghul feels almost incidental to the story.
It’s actually all about thirteen-year-old Damian Wayne and his awkward attempts to bond with his future stepmom and deal with what her addition to the family will mean for him. The issue opens with a segment as Selina takes Damian shopping for his wedding garb – and kudos to Seeley for doing the research into a traditional Arab article of clothing. Although Damian has never really shown any interest in that part of his ethnic heritage before, it’s a nice touch. He bickers with the tailor, snarks at Selina, and is overall his usual charming self. It’s fun to see Selina completely out of her element as well, but they split up before long as Damian goes to break into an arcade to work on his high score on a cheese-themed game.
From there, the issue takes a surreal turn as Damian is interrupted in his gaming by the arrival of a new villain, Aion, wearing an odd combination of Batman and Catwoman’s styles. After a brief fight, it turns out that Aion is from the future, the son of Batman and Catwoman, and he proceeds to taunt Damian that he’ll soon be forgotten. This segment of the issue is really weird, as Damian transforms into his Batman #666 version – an angry, bald old man – and battles his evil half-brother. However, I figured out pretty early that this was a hallucination brought on by a villain – and Damian’s own subconscious fears. The confrontation with Ra’s Al Ghul that follows is forgettable, but who can’t relate to a young teenager seeing his world changing around him and being secretly terrifying? The final scene between Damian and Selina really brought the issue home nicely, and I’m hoping we see more of this with Bruce’s other kids in future issues and out of this miniseries (and I can’t be the only person who remembers that Selina is far closer to Steph than Bruce ever was). The backup sets up the Joker’s threat to the wedding, but frankly, I’m not all that interested in that part. Bring on the next awkward family outing!
Corrina: I remain baffled by this view that Selina would be at all into these wedding plans. Wanting to get to know Damian better, yes, but why not offer to take him on a rooftop breaking-and-entering escapade? That seems far more Selina’s style. Not all women care intensely about wedding planning, gentleman, just so you know, and unless Selina is casing a wedding for nefarious purposes, I have no idea why she’d care about having one. If you want me, as a reader, to invest in Selina wanting to help Damian with his wedding plans, with Selina wanting to have a public wedding instead of a small private ceremony, at least attempt to show my why Selina cares this damn much about the wedding because that part of this equation remains a cipher. (This is more a complaint about Tom King in Batman than Seeley, though.)
However, when the focus is on Damian, his hallucinations, and dealing with his family changing, it’s good. I like the bonding with Selina at the end–that conversation seems far more her style than shopping or talking about what to call her. (Note: creators, not all women like shopping either. I bet Selina does but her tastes are probably way more exotic than wedding attire.)
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.