5 / 5
IF YOU LOVE Batman, hate spoilers, and haven’t read the last few issues of any Batman titles, don’t read this review.
In the eighth issue of Batman Incorporated, Robin was brutally killed. What makes that more important was that he wasn’t just Robin; he was Damian Wayne, son of Bruce Wayne and Talia alGhul. He was stabbed by one of Talia’s own servants, and the issue ended with Batman cradling his son’s body in his arms.
Now that you’re caught up, you should definitely read Batman and Robin #18. If you’re a fan of The Dark Knight or of comics in general, you owe it to yourself—this book is sheer perfection. Relying solely on its excellent artwork, the book shows Batman silently mourning the loss of his son. There isn’t a single speech balloon, leaving the artwork to convey his anger and sadness, and it performs splendidly—Batman’s feeling of failure is palpable. The book is one of a few that left me to sit and stare in silence at the final page.
The death of Damian Wayne itself is something on which people have many differing opinions. There can be no argument, however, when it comes to this comic. Regardless of whether or not Robin had to die, there could be no better portrayal of the fallout and the hole left in Bruce Wayne’s life in the aftermath.
4 / 5
QUEBEC CITY NATIVE Geneviève Castrée’s latest book, Susceptible, might appear to be a typical autobiographical graphic novel, as it covers all the norms of the genre, such as the trials and tribulations of teenage life. While its subject matter may be familiar, its strengths lie in Castrée’s ability to juxtapose polished, cartoonish art with emotionally raw excerpts of her life.
Chronicling the artist’s upbringing in Quebec from her birth until her 18th birthday, Susceptible manages to hit an emotional nerve that contemporary autobiographical classics like Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Craig Thompson’s Blankets hit years ago. Despite its occasional humour, Castrée keeps Susceptible mostly serious as she details experiences that include living with her often-unruly mother, her rarely seen father, and her overall feelings of ostracization. Castrée develops a love for punk rock and becomes friends with a group of similar misfits, and also shocks the reader with harrowing experiences including brushes with suicide and an unwanted pregnancy.
Susceptible is a rarity in the comic world because it features mostly cursive text. While visually appealing, it can also be a strain on the eyes, especially on pages that are brimming with dialogue. Fortunately, the short length of about 80 pages means that these strained moments are few and far between. Susceptible does feel notably short, and its brevity will leave readers wanting more, but despite its text issues and length, it manages to be a brave work of art that will hopefully put Castrée on the map.