This is the issue that many would have been waiting for if not for DC already spoiling the return of Damian months ago. Even though there was already speculation and plenty of debates online, the fact that it was confirmed so early really took some of the wind out of Tomasi’s story. What could have also been a surprise was the condition in which he’d return but DC was intent on taking that from the fans as well. However if you were lucky enough to have avoided that part I’m not going to ruin it for you here. With that being said, it was tough going into this issue with as much excitement and vigor as there was in the beginning of this storyline.
As Batman finally comes face to face with Darkseid he’s not letting anything else stop him from getting Damian’s body back. So as expected, Tomasi gives us an over the top fight sequence deserving of this beatdown! For quite some time Darkseid has ranked as one of the most powerful villains in the DCU. While Batman is the living embodiment of a Swiss army knife who prepares for everything. So it really was going to be interesting to see how Tomasi would handle this meeting. So if you’re one of the fans who don’t want to see page after page of the two just pounding each other then you might want to skip this altogether because there is a LOT of that! Tomasi actually handles most of the sequence fairly well considering Darkseid’s power level and making sure that the new Hellbat suit at least allows Bruce a fighting chance. What also gives this story a stronger foundation is that even though it’s about Bruce getting his son back, Tomasi touches on the brief history between the two combatants that just adds to the tension.
Since the storyline began, Patrick Gleason has made each issue look wonderful from beginning to end. With the assist from Mick Gray on inks and John Kalisz on colors there’s panel after panel of some great comic book action in here! The fight itself is just a brutal exchange of hate and rage which he captures throughout the confrontation. There is absolutely nothing fancy here aside from some gadget wielding from Batman as the fight just lends itself to several splash pages of action. Plus, a very impressive stomping from Darkseid that puts Batman down for a while. As great as the action is he’s able to turn it right around when the family is reunited in a touching moment between father and son. We even get a humorous moment from both Red Hood and Red Robin in the process. The only moment that seemed too convenient was during the Omega Blast but man, did it look cool!
Regardless of whether or not you liked Damian enough to want him back once we knew Batman had to go to Apokolips, this fight is what readers wanted to see. However, that was pretty much it. Once the reveal had been made it really took the impact from Robin “rising” and just shifted it over to Batman vs Darkseid live on Apokolips! But in the end, Tomasi and the art team were able to deliver a solid issue that was still a fun read.