OK, I wasn't going to buy this...but the preview showing Bruce going into wake up Damian in order to start patrol early on the night of the Wayne's murder sucked me in.
We now know that Thomas and Martha Wayne were murdered on a night in September at 10:48 PM after taking Bruce to see Zorro. Bruce, now a father, has decided that marking that date is no longer appropriate...he would rather remember them on their wedding anniversary, so this will be the last visit to "crime alley". I think he's protected it over the years as a shrine to them, but is allowing it to be redeveloped so that people with dreams of a better life can use the space. He takes a paper program from Zorro (when did films have programs? 1939?), folds it into a boat, and allows it to float away in the sewer under crime alley where his mother's pearls fell. Bruce seems downright optimistic in this story...having a son to look after and seeing how bitter Damian is about the world has forced him to show Damian some hope...even in himself.
I liked it.
Oh...and Alfred is not a hologram in this issue. Whew!
Yep, I'm also glad to see Alfred is still flesh and blood. Not a bad start, though I've had a very hard time liking Damian in anything he's appeared in. The tensions between him and Bat-dad(!) should make for some interesting reading.
Finally, it's about dang time Bruce quit the "My parents are deeeeeadd!" shtick. It's much better to remember their lives than to dwell on their deaths. It came thisclose to reading like one of those "very special episodes" that plagued TV sitcoms back in the day, but it still worked.
I liked this one. Not as much as I liked Detective Comics though.
Going into this I was mostly concerned about the dynamic between Damian and Bruce but it works. I know people Damian has his detractors but I like the little punk.
While Bruce has matured (finally), his relationship with his son Damian has not changed much since Batman #655. It's still antagonistic and disrespectful. Bruce still sees Damian as dangerous and he is, very much so. He has different values and a way different world view. Damian wants to admire his father, to see him as strong but he sees mercy and compassion as weaknesses to avoid. Batfather is still a new role for Bruce, but he can't push too hard for Damian to change lest he pushes him away!
Damian's lack of respect over his paternal grandparents seems heartless but understandable considering what his maternal grandfather's, Ra's Al Ghul, plans for him were!