Robin go boom-boom


I haven’t been reading my Bat-titles as faithfully as I have in the past.  Instead of the top of the stack, the Bat-family has been relegated to the “I’ll get to you in a moment” pile.  You know who I blame for this, and it isn’t Paul Dini, Fabian Nicieza, Freddie Williams II, Peter Tomasi, or Tony Bedard.  I decided to give Robin a chance this week, moving the title to the top of the pile for a couple of reasons.  First, because Red Robin is officially revealed (although observant readers have known for several weeks), and second, I caught a glimpse of the last page of the issue and thought, “Cool! someone’s going to get blowed up real good!”

robin180cover.jpgI have absolutely no idea what DC has planned for Robin after the title folds in February.  While Batman told Stephanie to “make Robin better”, I seriously doubt it was because he is going to become Batman. I could be wrong, but when Robin uses a derivative of Scarecrow’s fear gas to break up a dangerous gang, it looks like he could be leaning more toward the more intense Red Robin role.  Why?  Because that is a more mature character and suits the current change Tim is going through.

Anyone care about the General?  I sure don’t.  It was mildly interesting when he was a punk kid matching military tactic wits with Batman 15 years ago, but all grown up he’s more of a whiny  spoiled brat that knows more about how to rile up the crowd than seriously take down a major player.  So when it is finally revealed that Red Robin is indeed Ulysses Armstrong, I know DC isn’t going to make him the central protagonist in the upcoming Red Robin title.  Or maybe DC will do that, and further alienate readers.

There have been a lot of hints that it is Stephanie Brown, a.k.a. Spoiler, behind all the mayhem and problems Timothy Drake has been experiencing, but the final reveal that another long forgotten foe is behind the shenanigans makes me applaud Fabian Nicieza  and Freddie Williams II.  Who is this mysterious foe?  If you are trying to cause chaos in a city that has been rocked again and again by disaster, Anarchy is the one to do it.

The only long term Robin character that I’m still up in the air about is Stephanie.  I still don’t know if she is going along with Red Robin and Anarchy just to make Robin a better crime fighter, or if she really has turned her back on her former(?) lover.  There’s plenty of distrust between Tim and Steph, and while I would rather see the two clear the air and get back together as a couple, I just don’t see that happening anytime soon.  We’ve already seen Stephanie play the part of Robin.  I would really like to see her back in that role, but considering her short stint and sudden “death” the first go around, I find that highly unlikely.

The writers are still able to add a little mystery and reveal in an issue that features a lot more  background moments than main character focus.  It’s only by paying attention to the television reports and background “noise” of the issue, that the reader is able to follow what is going on in Gotham as the city continues to crumble due to the police strike over the arrest of two corrupt detectives, and the rise of gang violence.  While I found the writing solid, the story flowed rather strangely, as Robin seemed to move through the motions, hitting the beat points at the appropriate time, until the big cliff hanger at the end of the issue.
The cliff hanger?  Robin in a warehouse, discovering Anarchy is behind it, and the building blowing up – presumably with Robin inside.  Is this the end of the teen crime fighter?  Do you really think he’d die in his own title series that still has three more issues to go before folding?  I doubt it, and if you are a fan of the old Saturday morning serials, you know he’s going to survive for a bit longer.

We still don’t know the fate of Robin.  He could indeed die over the next couple of months.  DC is mum on who everyone under the masks will be following the Battle for the Cowl.  I’m hoping Tim Drake is there in a major role, as fans have invested too much time to have him simply erased from the DCU.  This was a solid issue, featured some major reveals that are entertaining for long term readers, and great art by Freddie Williams II.  I’m giving Robing #180 4 out of 5 Stars.



The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. applejack1310
    November 21, 2008 at 9:01 am — Reply

    Personally, I’m one of the readers hoping that Tim DOES become the new Batman. This is all with the hope that Batman comes back in a year or two. Dick was brought in as the sidekick that would “humanize” Batman. He was the “bright side.” Jason (ugh) was brought in to fill a void. Didn’t work. I’ve always felt that Tim was brought in to be trained to be the next Batman. Bruce wanted Dick to grow up to be his own man. I think he wanted Tim to grow into the Batman role, not grow up to become a new hero. Dick has established himself as Nightwing and I think he deserves to keep that going. He’s always referred to as “one of the most respected heroes.” I’d like to see Dick, as Nightwing, take a more prominent role in the DCU. JLA? Yeah, he needs to be there, maybe even leading it. Superman says he’s that good, good enough for me. Don’t take away the history he’s built for himself, only to have Bruce come back (and he will) to become Batman, forcing Dick back into his Nightwing role. I think it needs to be Tim. As angry as Morrison makes me, he said it himself. He wants Tim as Batman. I’m torn on that, cuz Morrison makes me angry, but I’m with him on this.

  2. Ricco
    November 21, 2008 at 9:33 am — Reply

    Taken from : “DC comics for February 2009” in this very site
    “ROBIN #183
    Written by Fabian Nicieza
    Art and cover by Freddie E. Williams II
    A “Batman: Last Rites” tie-in and featuring an “Origins and Omens” backup story! Gotham City has found a new hero and his name is Robin – but with a battle for Batman’s cowl looming, is Tim Drake ready to become something more? Guest-starring Jason Todd and Lady Shiva. And don’t worry, this final issue doesn’t mark the end of Robin – it’s just the start of an all-new beginning!

    Now that we know the series won’t really “end” what I would like to know is how far Tim’ll go to keep Gotham form imploding and what kind of hero he’ll be by the end of the series.

    What’s interesting, to me at least, in this arc is the fact that in Teen Titans he always becomes The Batman in the futur, but one who crossed the line and kills, with a gun no less.

  3. November 21, 2008 at 9:49 am — Reply

    If’n you’re not interested in spoilers, quit reading here …

    The February solicits pretty much explicitly state that Dick Grayson’s the new Batman, per Bruce’s ‘final wishes’. Alfred’s conversation with Batgirl in the latest Outsiders, telling her that she’ll need to get a little friendlier with Dick if she wants to remain a part of the Bat-family, pretty much confirms that.

    The solicits also mention that Tim’s still alive and goes to get training from … Shiva, I think. Either way, he’s still around. Whether he is still Robin or not is up in the air, but he’s still around.

  4. November 21, 2008 at 9:50 am — Reply

    The Robin title in its current form is ending in February – hence that FINAL ISSUE tag at the end. Coming back in a few months is Red Robin, Batman and Robin, and Detective. We know Tim won’t be Batman as he wouldn’t allow Damian to be his sidekick. Considering Dick and Talia have gotten along in the NIghtwing title, it does make Dick the new Batman.

  5. November 21, 2008 at 10:02 am — Reply

    Personally, I’d like Dick to take over as Batman. Robin to ‘grow’ into Red Robin. And, Stephanie to take over the Robin role to Dick’s Batman. Tim and Dick have too much of a ‘brotherly’ role for the Batman-Robin mentorship thing to really work.

    (Actually, this entire post is a lie. I don’t want to see any of that, as I’m perfectly happy with the status quo. However, since change is being forced upon me, that’s how I’d like change to come.)

  6. November 21, 2008 at 10:05 am — Reply

    The cover to Batman and Robin I’ve seen sure make it look like Damian – I’d like to see Stephanie be the new Robin too, but I think that would cause too many conflicts between Tim and Steph. Although…. Tim as Batman and Stephanie as Robin would be a very unique story.

    But I agree with you Jacin. Keep everything status quo, just tell really great stories. Dini is doing just fine in Detective, it shouldn’t be hard to find great writers who can do the same thing without shaking up the whole universe, and flushing continuity across the DCU down the toilet.

  7. November 21, 2008 at 10:51 am — Reply

    When I was most ‘in love’ with the DCU was when, leading up to and following Identity Crisis, everything in the continuity of the entire universe was so closely managed that you had comics referencing events that were going on in other titles that same week.

    Everything was tied together. Everything that happened anywhere effected everything that was happening everywhere else. Continuity was so tight, it was a thing of beauty and it actually made me want to buy more comics and pick up titles I wouldn’t usually buy so that I could find out what’d happened without having to actually make it part of some super-mega-blockbuster event.

    Now, DC’s editorial staff seem to have adopted Marvel’s “Continuity be damned as long as the story is good (or, you know, still two connecting flights from mediocre, but something that we can market the hell out of).”

  8. Ricco
    November 21, 2008 at 11:27 am — Reply

    It’s a sad state of affairs when “Marvel Zombies” has better continuity then the DCU…

  9. Roy
    November 22, 2008 at 11:37 am — Reply

    Tim as the bat and Stephanie as the bird would be interesting, at least from the aspect of the “are they gay or aren’t they” jokes that have always surrounded Batman and Robin…but, I don’t think I like it quite as much as Dick becoming the new Batman. Although, that does put quite a spin on the “Bat-dickness Meter”! Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week.

    But seriously – I think Dick would be the best choice for the cowl. And I will probably need to be in the minority when I say this, but maybe, just maybe…Bruce needs to stay dead. Maybe for good. At least for 15 or so years, ala The Flash after Crisis on Infinite Worlds. Can you imagine? He would be that “embodiment of good” that all of the other characters could aspire to, even Superman. Something to really inspire them all and make them want to be “heroes” again – symbols of what society “could” be. Kill him off fighting the Joker, or maybe even Darkseid, in such a fashion that it really, REALLY means something.

    It probably won’t ever happen. But can you imagine?

  10. Ricco
    November 22, 2008 at 8:04 pm — Reply

    Isn’t Batman supposed to suffer a faith “worse” then death? And did anyone else note that spoilers says Batman is dead, not Bruce Wayne. My guess is that he goes coockoo bananas or catatonic.

  11. November 22, 2008 at 9:38 pm — Reply

    If that’s the case, Ricco, it just goes to demostrate that Morrison has no grasp whatsoever on the character, which given Morrison’s tenuous grasp on continuity in general, wouldn’t really surprise me.

    Think about Superman for a minute. Superman is really Clark, the kid raised on a Kansas farm with the whole ‘truth, justice, and the American way’ mindset. Superman is the costume Clark puts on.

    Batman is the opposite. Batman is not the mask, Bruce Wayne is. In every meaningful way, Bruce died the same night his parents did. He’s just the mask Batman puts on when he needs to go out in the daytime or interact with ‘polite society’. Bruce is about as ‘real’ as Matches Malone is.

    You can’t end Batman. He can’t just hang up the mask and quit. He can’t just walk away. He can’t flip out and cease to be Batman because Batman is the essence of who and what he is. He can’t ‘go back’ to being Bruce because he’s already ceased to be.

    Does that make sense?

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