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Written By: Lee Bermejo Art By: Jorge Corona, Rob Haynes, Trish Mulvihill, Jared K. Fletcher Cover Price: $3.99 Release Date: March 23. 2016
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
Shit has been getting real in Gotham, but more so in the Midtown district, what with the now defunct Robin Laws and now a no good plastic surgery reject going all Joker on the city. This John Bender...... and no not the one from the Breakfast club, even though you'd definitely identify this character as a "Criminal" as well, has murdered his parents and taken it upon himself to paint his face, start going by "Smiley" and gathering an army of like-minded individuals and I'm guessing Smiley plans on making sure whatever joke he plans on telling is completely on us and the people of Gotham. I love the idea of the Jokerz Gang from Batman Beyond starting here from the We Are Robin movement, but our heroes couldn't have picked a worse time to disband and start screening their calls because from what we've seen of Smiley so far............. it looks like we'll need them more than ever. Let's jump into this issue and see if our heroes can get their act together and throw a little punch-line Smiley's way. Let's check it out.
Our issue begins with Smiley showing off his comedy chops at a local club on open mic night and as any comedian hopes to do in front of an audience.......... He's killing. That's right, the show takes a dark turn when the act becomes all about gun play and since Smiley's all about going right to the top, he has one of his Jokerz film him and the act goes viral, allowing the news to broadcast the developments and we begin are story with all our Robins finding out what's going on in their city. We see that Duke's parents are still suffering the affects of the Joker toxin from Endgame and he's doing his best to make sure that they're comfortable in their new psychiatric facility home, but goddamn do you feel for him when you see that his parents aren't making any progress and that this whole situation is just killing him inside. Izzy isn't much better off because she's sacrificing her education to work in a diner for her mother, who's still acting like her gangbanger son, who was killed by a Talon was the second coming or something and completely taking his death out on Izzy. Riko's having trouble dealing with her emotions over losing her Robins team and because she believes she saw Duke and Izzy canoodling and from that I guess we can ascertain that Riko's got the hots for Duke. Finally, we have Dax showing up at Dre's house and wondering where he's been lately and it's here that Dre let's his former Robin teammate know that he's been rocking a solo vigilante gig and that he doesn't need to be held back by him or the rest of the group.......... but especially Duke...... goddamn do those two just hate each other. The catch-up on our crew is interrupted by the breaking news about Smiley's attacks and Dre being a lone wolf now, plans on going after the Jokerz himself.
So Dre goes out to hunt down the Jokerz and at this point I would love if he had a name because I want to be able to distinguish him from his personal life and his vigilante work, but like most of our heroes of Gotham, one usually becomes the other and eventually Dre will simply be the mask he wears. After a bit of rooftop patrol, Dre comes across a couple of Jokerz on their way to meet up with Smiley and Dre infiltrates the group because as of right now, Smiley's recruiting all the clowns he can get so that he can show Gotham life's big joke. I don't know how funny it will be because from Smiley's rants and raves, it seems that we're about to get some school violence going down.
In the end, the word goes out to the Robins across the city that Dre has gone and done the dumb shit by trying to take down Smiley solo and by going undercover and infiltrating his group. The biggest problem now is trying to get our Midtown Robins to work together again because Riko's pissed at Duke for his so called canoodling and it seems that Izzy is too busy being exhausted from real life problems to even know what's going on in the city or with her friends.......... Too bad too because the attack on the school is underway and Smiley and his Jokerz are heavily armed when they enter Middletown High School........... and as terrible as this whole scenario is, I love Smiley's line that the comic closes with. "All the kids in school asked little Johnny if he believed in the devil. Little Johnny said no, he's just like Santa Claus, I know because they're both my daddy." Just a great dark and twisted line to end this issue with as we hope beyond hope that our heroes can get their act together to take down this threat before anyone else gets hurt.
That's it for this issue of We Are Robin and this title continues to impress me with the type of stories that it's willing to tell because even though we're only dealing with teenage protagonists, they're day to day lives, while at times simply come off as immature teenage angst, also has a ring of truth with just how terrible it can be to be a kid. Add all of that on top of some serious violence and how uneasy it makes people to talk about shootings at school and you have yourself something that could possibly be one of the most real superhero stories that we've had in a long time. Everything is just deadly serious now that this Smiley character is involved and my eyes are glued to the page to see what Lee Bermejo will bring us next. It's a damn shame that this series isn't selling better and won't be brought into Rebirth because this is seriously the best book to come out of the DCYou, from it's realistic interpretations of teenage dialog and what it would personally mean to all of these characters to dawn masks to protect their city, coupled with a perfect style of art to accompany it. I love this book and I can't wait to see what the rest of this story arc brings.
Bits and Pieces:
Lee Bermejo continues to "Wow" us with his We Are Robin team as shit gets real for these heroes when they're confronted by their polar opposite contemporaries. This story is so real and disturbing at times that it's hard to imagine that our heroes are only teenagers.......... but after something like this, I think they're about to grow up real quick. With great art throughout, We Are Robin continues to be one of the best titles that DC is putting out right now.