Finally, the world of DC Comics Animation has arrived in the Scott Snyder era of Batman’s story lines.
Batman Vs. Robin begins with a vignette about Batman (Jason O’Mara) and Damian as Robin (Stuart Allan) taking down the Dollmaker (Weird Al Yankovic). On one hand, it establishes the dynamic between Batman and his biological son (via Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter, Talia) where the elder calls for justice without vengeance and death, while the younger thinks that extreme prejudice is the answer. It’s apparent that the level of trust isn’t there between the two, as Batman blames Damian for the Dollmaker’s death (he’s killed by an Owl) and the two part ways. The Owl’s lure to “embrace his nature” shows the battle that Batman fights for Damian’s soul in every instance, the struggle between Ra’s training of the boy versus Batman’s counter efforts.
[Ironically, there’s something in the sick, twisted world of the Dollmaker, who seems more of a Grant Morrison character, that bears noting, too. Anton Shott, who became the Dollmaker, kidnapped kids and made them ‘dolls’ to protect them, because they couldn’t be hurt as dolls. His own childhood tragedy and abuse obviously lead to a life of tortured sickness.]
But, to the main story: Snyder’s creation of the Court of Owls shows a longstanding battle between the Waynes and the Owls, who seek to control, corrupt, and destroy in Gotham. Like their casting of Yankovic, the producers for DC hit well by casting Jeremy Sisto as Talon. Fans of this particular installment in the home division of DC’s animated films will want to check out not only Snyder’s run in Batman, but also the specific Talon series as well.
While Marvel may be winning the box office war, the animated work by DC blows the animated Avengers et al. away. Here, the story is fantastic (the Owls are fascinating, and earn their own background vignette in “Gotham’s City Secrets”) and the animation based on Greg Capullo’s work is tight. Add in a sneak peace to Justice League: Gods & Monsters, and you have a pretty sweet package.
From a plot perspective, I love Snyder all day. Throw in that this one nets a Nightwing versus Damian battle, that it gives us flashbacks pre- and post- Wayne family murders, and that it brings the “kill or don’t kill” debate to the forefront, and I’m hooked! Wildly entertaining and designed to provoke questions about how we pursue justice, I consider this a must own for fans of Batman, DC Comics, and animated superheroes in general. Rating: Buy it