Batman and Son (Hardback)

Author: Grant Morrison
Artist: Andy Kubert
Titan Books
RRP: 16.99, US $24.99, Cdn $29.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 429 6
ISBN-10: 1 84576 429 3
Available 23 November 2007

The mysterious Talia, daughter of archvillain Ra's al Ghul and Batman's one-time love, returns with a boy named Damian and claims the child is Batman's son. Stunned, the Dark Knight takes the child in, but the boy, raised among the brutal dictates of the League of Assassins, has his own agenda. Soon, both Tim Drake, Bruce Wayne's newly adopted heir, and Alfred, Wayne's faithful butler, find themselves targets of this genetically perfect and very angry child. Is Damien really a young misguided boy trying to prove himself to his father - or have long years of Talia's indoctrination left him an operative solely designed to destroy the Batman?...

Batman and Son is a pretty impressive addition to the Batman series of graphic novels. It's also a little odd in that it takes us out of the universe that we have grown used to and knocks the reader for six.

The first tale sees Batman discover that he has managed to father a son after one night of passion with Ra's al Ghul's daughter Talia. Overly confident and aware that he is a superior combatant, Damian proves more than a handful for Bruce Wayne, Alfred and Tim Drake. That in itself would probably be problem enough, but now man-bats (and ninja man-bats, at that) are wreaking havoc in Gotham. Does Damien really want to learn from his father, or is his appearance merely part of a more cunning plan set in motion by Talia?

Next up is a text based illustrated story entitled The Clown at Midnight, which sees Batman having to deal with his greatest nemesis, the Joker, as he enters Arkham Asylum.

This is followed by a two-part tale which follows Batman as he investigates the brutal slaying of the city's prostitutes. What he discovers is an enemy as powerful as Bane, and in order to bring his foe to his knees, Wayne must face his inner demons.

And finally we have a story set in the future, a future in which Bruce Wayne's son has taken on the mantle of the bat to become Gotham's vigilante. The only problem is, this Batman is having to deal with an enemy that isn't even human - a creature that is the root of all evil.

This collection is one of the best Batman graphic novels to have been released in recent years. The mix of tales is diverse enough to ensure that you get a very different kick out of each, and the artwork is breathtaking. Batman fans need to add this to their collections.

Nick Smithson

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