Art by: Robson Rocha, Daniel Henriques and Rob Schwager
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: August 21, 2015
While I thought that the "Suicide Blues" arc ended on a strange note, the addition of Calendar Man really got me excited. I enjoy him as a villain normally, but I love him in the Arkham video game series. His Easter Egg in Arkham City is one of my favorites of all time and I can't wait to see how Tomasi uses him in this book. I think I'm going to have to wait a couple of weeks at least because this week kicks off a two-part story called "The Apprentice" and if the awesome Francis Manapul cover didn't clue you in, it's a Robin story. More specifically, it's a Tim Drake Robin story. Did the beginning chapter get me excited for more to come, or does this arc seem like filler before getting back to the main story? Let's find out...
I'll admit it for the hundredth time, I'm not a huge Tim Drake fan. I know he has a rabid following (which each Robin does in their own right), but he ranks fourth for me on the all-time Robin list. Don't hate me because I'm honest. All that being said, when I opened up this issue I got pretty pumped. There was Tim Drake staring at me, looking all badass and delivering one of the best inner monologues I've read in quite some time.
Now, I told you that I wasn't a fan of Tim, but I am a humongous fan of Robin and Tim's exposition really gives you an idea of what it is to be that character. As he's fighting three of the biggest and baddest villains ever (Bane, Croc and Clayface), he tells the reader what it's like to be the sidekick to Batman. If you ever felt like second best, you will eat this up.
So I don't forget, the action that takes place during all this was awesome as well. How could it not be? Tim is simultaneously battling three of the heaviest hitters in Gotham and holding his own...for a while. The fight ends with the flick of a switch and Tim again nails it when he expresses his frustrations about being more of an errand boy than an actual Robin. I am telling you right here and now, if Tomasi keeps this up, Tim may climb up a spot on my best Robins list!
So, after all the complaining, Tim heads off to his day job at Robinson Academy. Batman may not trust him to roam the streets alone at night, but he's a pretty cool teacher. After proving that fact by playing a practical joke on his class, it's off to Wayne Labs for a school trip. They are going to find out about Wayne's work with the Titan chemical so nothing could possibly go wrong, right? Of course, things do go wrong and it looks like Tim will get a chance to prove himself next issue.
I really, really, really enjoyed this issue. I usually hate it when a book takes a break for a side story like this, but this start is so good, I'm already upset that it ends next week. If you are already a Tim Drake fan then you will definitely love this issue, but if you aren't fond of the character, this may change your mind a bit. By the way, if you haven't been reading this series or playing the game, don't worry, this issue is new reader friendly and a great way to jump in and decide if you like what you see. I promise you will and will then go back and read the entire series. You have been warned.
Robson Rocha's art this week was incredible. The beginning training sequence had a more detailed, realistic look to it which was so good and then the second half had a more classic comic book look that I loved as well. It all added up to one of the best looking issues this series has seen. Kudos to Daniel Henriques (inks) and Rob Schwager (colors) for their great work as well. Also, I mentioned it above, but I will again...Francis Manapul's cover is just awesome.
Bits and Pieces:
I usually don't like side stories and I'm not a big fan of Tim Drake, so this issue should have fallen flat for me. Oh boy, it didn't! This issue was so great and I beg anyone who loves Tim Drake, Robin or a great story with awesome art to check it out. Peter J. Tomasi may make a fan of Tim Drake out of me yet.