Thursday, September 27, 2018

Throwback Thursday: We Are Robin #1 Review (2015)

When Can I Be Robin?

Written By: Lee Bermejo
Art By: Jorge Corona, Rob Haynes, Trish Mulvihill, Khary Randolph, Emilio Lopez
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 24, 2015

Review by: Eric Shea

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

I was really interested in this title when it was announced because funny enough, one of the things I love most about Batman...... is Robin.  That's right, I'm more of a Robin fan than the Dark Knight himself and the title of this book really captured my imagination.  Then I saw the Sneak Peek and saw all the texting going on and simply dismissed this as another series that DC was trying to incorporate "things that the kids do" as a way to get new younger readers instead of just telling an intriguing story.  Hopefully, I'm wrong and this is a story that will be remembered for a long time as the era that inspired the people of Gotham themselves to become the sidekick to the Caped Crusader and do what needed to be done in the Batman's absence.  Let's check out WE ARE ROBIN and find out.

Explain It!:

Our story begins with a boy out in a schoolyard, getting the holy hell beat out of him because apparently, he was dating his assailant's sister........... and I guess he didn't like that.  Let me tell you though, even with this beginning bit where we find out that bitches are bitches...... because this girl sent her brother after her boyfriend because she was told that he was seeing another girl....... I am immediately invested in this story because it involves Duke Thomas.  Did I just not do my homework for this book?  I had no idea that Duke Thomas, the boy that helped Batman in Zero Year and who we'd see as a future Robin in the Batman and Robin Futures End tie-in would be featured in this title.  So yeah, Duke Thomas realizes that he needs to date better women and shows off a couple of sweet moves to take down his attackers before getting hit from behind and arrested when the police show up.  It's at this point that we realize that things haven't been all pinatas and RC Cola for Duke over the last couple of months.  Ever since Endgame, when Duke's parents were infected with the Joker toxin, they've been missing and Duke being a normal teenager is angry about it and gets into trouble as he's passed from foster family to foster family as he tries to track his parents down and reunite his family.  

Another great piece to this story is the inclusion of Leslie Thompkins as Duke's caseworker.  Yeah, it's the same old Leslie, simply inspiring those to be greater than the ordeals they've faced, but I just love having that character be a beacon of light in this dark city, who occasionally pops up to remind us that there are decent people in Gotham.  Leslie keeps Duke out of jail and places him in another foster home which kind of sucks because Duke's new foster parents are obviously terrible people, who only take kids in to get a check at the beginning of the month, but Leslie isn't Batman and has to work through the system as it's set..... you know because she's an everyday superhero and she can't simply punch things to make situations better.  Of course, Duke takes the first opportunity, even though he knows Leslie will be disappointed in him to blow that pop stand and get back to tracking down his parents and after hearing that people are still being found disoriented in the Gotham sewers after Endgame, Duke has his first lead.

Throughout this book we have intermittent cuts showing us that whoever put this army of Robins together has great interest in Duke and sends out the word that Duke is to be watched and hopefully initiated into the fold and in the end, Duke finds an entire city of people in the depths of Gotham, ruled by an insane man who wants them to tear Gotham apart..........because they're bums and the people who live on the surface aren't........makes sense to me.  Duke gets spotted, but before the cult of misfit bums can begin their beat down, Duke is saved by a group of Robins............ but that's not all!  We have an epilogue to this story where we see that the mysterious person calling himself "The Nest", who's been sending these kids on their missions, has himself a little command center where he watches everything from and as the epilogue ends we also see that he's got an entire room full of Robin gear, that I would expect he hands out to new recruits............. that or he just has a Robin fetish and once you become a collector it's hard to stop.

That's it for this first issue of WE ARE ROBIN and I'm beyond impressed with what the creative team did on this issue..........especially because of initial misgivings.  First off, I had no idea that Duke Thomas was a part of this story and his inclusion just makes the whole thing work even better in my mind because of his connection with Batman and it doesn't hurt that we've already met him before.  The story just really packed an emotional punch because of how well written Duke is to his teenage angst and his emotional problems due to his family being taken from him and I really never expected that going into this book.  Yeah, we still have some bullshit texting going on but it wasn't heavily used and the story really outweighed the gimmicks here and turned out wonderfully.  Even the art which is an exaggerated style, that I normally don't enjoy works great in this book and because of it and the tone of the story this really feels fresh and original even though we're dealing with the name Robin and events from Batman in Gotham City.  As for a first issue, the creative team have really made something special here and certainly made it their own.

Bits and Pieces:

I'm shocked that I enjoyed this book as much as I did because after the Sneak Peek I simply dismissed this as another gimmick to lure younger readers in, but Lee Bermejo and Jorge Corona have certainly won me over and I take back all preconceived notions I had about this title.  I certainly hope that they maintain this tone of the book because it is one of the best new titles that have come out in the DCYou.


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