Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.
Batman and Robin #23 by Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray, Mark Irwin, John Kalisz, Carlos M. Mangual, Darren Shan, and Rachel Cluckstern
“Acceptance”. *sigh* This issue came six months (!) after Damian Wayne/Robin was murdered by his clone in the epic battle between Talia Al Ghul and Batman (as seen in Batman, Incorporated, specifically issue 8). In this issue, for the past three days, Batman is using virtual technology to prove he could have saved his son, so Alfred calls Dick Grayson in to talk his mentor out of this futile exercise. But because Dick knows Bruce so well (and in many ways, better than anybody), he doesn’t talk Bruce out of it, he joins him. Together, Batman and the former Robin are able to save Damian, allowing Bruce to reach a form of acceptance. But there is another man who’s needs to reach that stage of grief: Alfred. He runs a simulation where he prevented Damian from leaving Wayne Manor in the first place, thus preventing his death. Bruce then tells Alfred he is sorry, “I was too selfish to realize we both lost a son.” Reading that again after six years still gets to me.
This volume of Batman and Robin is one of the best Batman series ever. Gleason, Tomasi, and the others paint a haunting portrait of a man who lost a son and cannot really move past it. Yes, in this issue, Bruce does come to a form of acceptance, but it is a only a step that allows him to move to a different obsessive stage, setting up the next story arc.
The art in this issue is spectacular. We see some events of Batman, Incorporated #8 retold in ways that make the story even more poignant and personal for Batman. The one panel of Batman on the ground, unable to save his son as we hear the sickening sound effect of “SHUNNK” and the look on his face, especially his one exposed eye, is SO DAMN GOOD. It’s a feint, because Nightwing is the one stabbing Robin’s killer, saving the boy in this simulation, but I also read this as Bruce’s reaction to Nightwing killing to save his son. Imagine how Batman must feel to see his first son kill to save his younger son? It’s a part of the story that goes unexplored, but only serves to highlight how good of a comic book series this is to me.
If you have not read this volume, I highly recommend it.