Batman and Son
Written: by Grant Morrison
Illustrated by: Andy Kubert, J.H. Williams III, Tony S. Daniel, and Various
Publisher: DC Comics
Format: Softcover, 6.5 x 10, 384 pages, Full Color, $19.99
You know you have an epic Batman story in your hands when the first couple of pages has Jim Gordon hurt, hospitalized, and telling Batman, "Joker thought he had you. Funny when you think about it. Everything's funny when you think about it. . . . . . snicker . . . . . . . so funny it hurts."
Is the ever-reliable Jim Gordon finally faltering? And, if-OMG-so!, why is this graphic novel entitled Batman and Son? You might as well give up asking questions and wondering whether or not you should read this graphic novel, for with that kind of beginning the Force will turn the pages for you. Stellar with both words and images this graphic novel is a must-read. From the first page to the last page I cannot think of anyone I know – of any age or background – who wouldn't enjoy this story; it is well-researched and perfectly timed to shed new light on the Caped Crusader and his ever-growing generational legions of fans.
Despite what I have written so far I want to end this review right here and admit that for the very first time in my life I can honestly say I am in love with a graphic novel. Out of respect and admiration for the writers and artists who offer us this treasure, then, I only want to set the stage for you. And hope that you then run or type as fast as you can to get your own copy.
Setting the scene: Jim Gordon sacrifices himself to save some kids, and per norm, Batman perfectly times his entrance in order to save them all. With Gordon injured, Batman startlingly breaks his all-important rule and the Joker is left for dead. Later, back at Wayne Manor, with most of Gotham's criminals behind bars Alfred convinces Mister Wayne that he take some time off and attend a charity gala in London. Reluctantly, Mister Wayne agrees and off to London we go; but it's been awhile. Playboy Bruce Wayne has been working too hard and is now out of touch with how to sell his original and notorious name and accompanying reputation. Just like riding a bike though Mister Wayne doesn't take too long to have a drink and some lady friends in the palm of his hands.
When the ninja Man-Bats attack, however, the short-lived charade is over. Batman must make his London cameo. Just when it seems as though the Man-Bats might defeat the Batman they suddenly show mercy and Batman senses someone would rather talk to than kill him. For now. Unexpectedly, Ra's Al Ghul's daughter appears on the scene and admits to drugging Batman years ago and taking advantage of him. Seeking the perfect human prodigy for herself and in her father's honor Batman is then introduced and told to raise his son, Damian.
If I were you I wouldn't waste another minute. Stop reading this review. It's time to go get your own copy and prepare for one of the most entertaining and memorable Batman stories to join the superheroes' legendary reputation.
Elements of Story
Plot: Raised by the League of Assassins Batman finds out that Ra's Al Ghul's daughter secretly drugged him years ago, and, unbeknownst to him purposely impregnated herself with what she sees to be the perfect genetic heir to the future League of Assassins. Batman's son. Ra's Al Ghul's grandson. His name is Damian. Without a tear or a care in the world Talia hands over the preteen son to his father and walks away while informing him that she’ll be in touch.
Major Characters: Batman, Alfred, Robin, Talia, Damian, Jim Gordon, Joker, the League of Assassins / ninja Man-Bats, the Black Glove, henchmen
Settings: Wayne Manor, Gotham, London
Themes: Identity, Family, Teamwork and Individualism, Tradition and Change, Heroes and Villains, Mentorship
Recommended Common Core Standards
Key Ideas and Details
1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
3. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
Understanding the pieces (or key ideas and details) of the puzzle in this Batman and Son is not only engaging and memorable, but also key in order to make inferences and fully comprehend the story. Thus, the two pie charts below focus first on plot and then on character development; ultimately, the goal of each pie chart is for students to first identify the key aspects of the plot and then, second, take that plot information and analyze how those plot sequences influence character development over the course of reading the graphic novel.
It would be wise to both identify and briefly explain each of your plot and character selections. For instance, "Why did I list this specific plot event?" and "Why is this character important? And what happens to him or her to make him or her so significant to the story and to the other characters?"
BATMAN AND SON GRAPHIC ORGANIZER: PLOT PIE CHART
BATMAN AND SON CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT PIE CHART
Dr. Katie Monnin is an Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of North Florida. Besides the joy that comes with reading comic books and graphic novels, Dr. Monnin enjoys a Peter Pan-ish life of researching and writing her own books about teaching comics, graphic novels, and cartoons: Teaching Graphic Novels (2010), Teaching Early Reader Comics and Graphic Novels (2011), Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning (2012), Teaching Reading Comprehension with Graphic Texts (2013), and Get Animated! Teaching 21st Century Early Reader and Young Adult Cartoons in Language Arts (2013); Teaching New Literacies in Elementary Language Arts (in press, 2014). When she is not writing (or sitting around wondering how she ended up making an awesome career out of studying comics and graphic novels), Dr. Monnin spends her time with her two wiener dogs, Sam and Max.