The DC Comics miniseries Batman vs. Robin by Mark Waid and Mahmud Asrar has chronicled a lethal duel between the Dark Knight and his own son Damian Wayne, escalating to put the entire magical community of the DC Universe at risk. Robin was revealed to be manipulated to attack his father based on the machinations of the ancient demon Nezha. During the intervening crossover event Lazarus Planet, the story flipped the script, with Nezha taking control of Batman’s body and Damian desperately searching for a way to extract the demon without harming his father.
With Batman’s life force fleeting, Robin turns to Zatanna to help him channel the life force of others inspired by Batman to give his father enough strength to fully purge Nezha and safely recover. The strategy echoes the iconic Spirit Bomb technique from Akira Toriyama’s enormously successful Dragon Ball Z manga/anime series, which has its heroic protagonist Goku draw life force from his immediate surroundings to power a devastating energy attack. Damian’s call to arms for those connected to Batman even shares clear similarities with Goku’s usual declaration to those around him to share their energy to give him the vital power he needs to prepare the attack.
Ultimately, Damian’s gambit is successful and Batman is saved from his demonic fate while the father-son Dynamic Duo end up closer together than ever, especially after their harrowing duel. And while Waid and Asrar’s conclusion feels like it’s coming more from a place of recognizing the communal inspirational aspect of Batman and Robin than an actual Dragonball reference, it is amusing to see how closely it aligns to Toriyama’s signature finishing move for Goku, with both heroes looking beyond themselves for the final push to emerge triumphant.
The Caped Crusader may have survived his latest showdown with Nezha but, with this magical new technique, how well would he fare against Goku’s longtime nemesis Frieza?
Written by Mark Waid, illustrated by Mahmud Asrar, colored by Jordie Bellaire, and lettered by Steve Wands, Batman vs. Robin #5 is on sale now from DC Comics. The Lazarus Planet hardcover collection is on sale Aug. 8 and currently available for preorder.
The Joker's wild (because his vacation is ruined) in this exclusive preview