We begin back in the cave with Bruce and Alfred watching Damian train. If last issue wasn’t a strong enough hint that Bruce doesn’t fully trust Damian, their conversation should tell you so right now. Bruce considers Damian “broken” and that it is up to him to “fix” the kid. Kind of makes me feel sad about Damian in the last volume under Dick’s Batman, for though he had problems I would not have considered Damian a “killing machine” or “broken” like Bruce is. At least Alfred is kind enough to remind Bruce that he’s a father and not something else. And at least this scene does fully point that Damian is still Talia’s son and was still raised in the League of Assassins. It even reuses a couple images from pre-relaunch stories that feature Damian. Still, we see Bruce also doubting what will become of Damian without him around? Again Tomasi, you’re making me feel like you don’t care about anything Dick did for Damian here! I really hope you just meant this start of Bruce just over-worrying and not fully sure how to be a parent than actually undermining Dick’s work as Batman and Damian’s growth as a character.
Anyways, after a quick note that Alfred is home schooling Damian, the duo head out in an older (the non-flying) Batmobile and quickly stop a gun shipment. Man, it is still odd seeing Bruce being the one to say you shouldn’t use too much force! Right after the two leave with the guys tied up, up shows Nobody from last issue but not sure) and murders the criminals Batman and Robin just took out.
Back in the cave Bruce gets more scolding by Alfred on how he’s basically failing to be a father, and that is followed shortly by a rather odd scene. As Alfred watches Damian (after Bruce leaves), the kid grabs a bat and crushes it in his hand. Then after looking at it tosses it away. I really don’t get this scene. Yes Damian has always been a bit violent and at times took it out on training dummies or criminals, but I really don’t recall him ever killing animals like that before. Seems Tomasi is suddenly writing Damian into much more of a psychopath than he ever was.
With a jump to a farm, we see Bruce getting a Great Dane (Ace?) when someone named Morgan shows up to chat with Bruce. We soon find out Morgan was the mysterious guy in this issue and that Bruce already knew about him and what he did. I’m not familiar with Morgan, but he mentions Ducard (Henri Ducard I’m assuming) and that the man would not be happy with Bruce’s “Batman Inc” or even how public Bruce has been as Batman. Still, Morgan claims this nearly as an “intervention” but its clear he’ll really go after Bruce and his Batman Inc. soon if Batman Inc at least isn’t shut down.
So I’m a bit torn on this issue. I enjoyed the meeting between Bruce and Morgan at the end (a nice hanger to lead into next issue), plus Alfred giving Bruce parenting advice and even Bruce and Damian’s short fight against the gun runners. I really was not happy though with how Damian got treated in this issue, or for that matter how it inadvertently treats some of Dick’s run as Batman. I mostly stated why on those parts though, so will just state I’m a bit conflicted in how I want to feel on this issue, though am somewhat put off by Tomasi here.