Seattle, Washington, 1969.Â The home of bottomless steak fries
This ainâ€™t your daddyâ€™s Robin, and thatâ€™s because your daddy grew up reading Dick Grayson in the pixie boots, and heâ€™s Batman now.
Even though DC was mum on who was under the Red Robin hood, it was really no surprise to the rest of us.Â Tim Wayne is Red Robin.Â But it isnâ€™t the reveal that is the big part of the story, but rather the how and why Timâ€™s life suddenly went in a different direction.
The inaugural issue finds Tim jetting around the world looking for someone, and in each city he visits ends up finding some crime being committed.Â Since Dick picked Damian to to be his sidekick, Tim dons the Red Robin garb to bring about his new brand of justice. Heâ€™s willing to bring the hurt to get what he wants, and since the Re Robin name already has a bit of tarnish to it, he pretty much has free reign to do what he wants.Â I doubt heâ€™d kill, but the option is open.
I like how Tim has changed.Â Heâ€™s been through a lot, and seen his friends and family die left and right, and then his own adopted brother gives him the heave-ho. Heâ€™s down on his luck and feeling bitter and lonely, and heâ€™s going to take it out on anyone and everyone.Â Throughout the issue it is clear heâ€™s grown up, and proves once again heâ€™s the smartest and most optimistic of everyone in the Batman family as he believes Bruce really isnâ€™t dead.Â And heâ€™s going to find him.Â Even if that means getting the attention of Raâ€™s al Ghul and his league of assassins.
If DC were smart, theyâ€™d keep the hunt for Bruce inside the pages of Red Robin for the foreseeable future, until itâ€™s time to get the other heavy hitters of the DCU involved, at which point I would have no problem with the story jumping into JSA, JLA, Flash, The Outsiders, and so on.Â I like that Tim has become Red Robin: International Man of Kick-Assery.Â If they keep Tim jet setting around the world, it will really help readers follow a specific series without confusing one Robin for another or the trouble of intertwining crossover events.
As this issue kicked off, I was really drawn in with the writing of Chris Yost.Â The first eight pages of the issue almost read like a pulp novel from the grim and gritty golden age of detective stories, and it had me really excited for this change in story. After that, I felt the style slipped back into the more traditional format that readers have become accustomed.Â If Mr. Yost is reading this, I hope he takes these words to heart and brings back the heavy pulpy style.
The pace of the story works well too, with appropriate flashbacks and inner monologues breaking the jump between cities.Â At no time does the reader need to flip back through pages to figure out what country Tim is in either, as Yostâ€™s words help in that transition.Â Likewise, the artist Ramon Bachs takes the time to reference appropriate architecture and geography to make each city come alive.
Overall, the art is kind of weird in places.Â Sometimes there is heavy crosshatching in the shadows, and as the issue kicked off, I thought I was reading a comic book from Europe.Â Pages later, things settled back into a more â€˜merican style, before ramping back up to the look of the opening during the final page.Â Itâ€™s not a huge issue, especially when those change seem to mirror the change in local, but I did have to read the issue credits again to make sure the issue wasnâ€™t completed by a team of artists.
The roller coaster up and down style of the writing and the art, somewhat mirrors Timâ€™s emotional distress during this time as he struggles to find any evidence of his mentor and adopted father.Â It works, and while the change in character might not sit well with many long time readers, I think it works just fine in this new title, earning Red Robin #1 4 out of 5 Stars.