A Robin has fallen. What effect will their loss have on the greater Robin movement? Your Major Spoilers review of We Are Robin #4 awaits!
WE ARE ROBIN #4
Writer: Lee Bermejo
Penciler: James Harvey
Inker: James Harvey
Colorist: James Harvey & Alex Jaffe
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Mark Doyle
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in We Are Robin: After transferring to a new school, Duke Thomas found himself the center of a particularly unusual brand of attention, a group of costume heroes (and/or hero groupies) who prowl the streets of Gotham City wearing the colors of Robin. Joining their ranks, Duke found that his new associates were just kids like himself: Riko, who loves band and cosplay; punk rocker Dax; gymnast and martial artist Isabella, headstrong hardcase Dre; and football hero Troy. Of course, since they’re just well-equipped teenagers, they may not be ready for the reality of the vigilante lifestyle, leading to Troy’s death in the field…
IN THE WAKE OF TRAGEDY
With last issue’s tragic ending (and the revelation that the man behind The Nest) is Alfred Pennyworth, Batman’s longtime majordomo, this book is at a turning point. We open with news reports on Troy’s death, including the important information that Batman (currently Jim Gordon) has come out against the Robins activities before transitioning to Riko, having a deep conversation with Batgirl about the seriousness of their activities. It comes as a bit of s surprise, though, as they’re having it in the middle of her literature class, and also Batgirl isn’t actually there. Riko is our central character, this issue, and is in fact the only one of the Robins to appear, following her as she goes out patrolling alone. Encountering a group of “cape catchers”, kids who commit mischief in the hopes of drawing Batmans’ attention, she ends up teaming up with the REAL Batgirl, who gives her a well-timed pep talk, and reminds her that their costumes make them symbols of something greater than themselves. There’s also a truly adorable moment where Riko stops and pokes Batgirl to make certain that she’s actually having the conversation, a lovely character touch in an issue full of character work.
I really enjoy the art this time around, as James Harvey gives us a style of art that is both modern (reminiscent of “indy” art styles, and well-suited for an adventure guest-starring Batgirl, as it compliments her own book’s current style) and retro, with a trully impressive coloring job that evokes the printing processes of old. Riko’s Robin uniform features what is clearly a band jacket, which is another lovely touch, and the sequences showing her (and Batgirl) in action against the vandals is impressive. I actually like this issue’s art more than any previous on the title, especially in it’s use of what feels like multimedia collages in several places, but while still giving us impressive facial expressions and great fight choreography. The downside of the issue comes in the use of social media (“Facespace”) tweets to help convey portions of the plot, which starts to get a little overwhelming as the issue goes one. I understand why Bermejo has chosen to tell the story this way, though, and admit that it may not be an issue for everybody.
THE BOTTOM LINE: SOLID CHARACTER SPOTLIGHT
All in all, this is the most approachable issue of this book so far, giving us real character depth from Riko, an analysis of why the Robins are doing what they’re doing, and featuring a lovely crossover with Batgirl (whose tone clearly influences this book, from the earliest stages.) We Are Robin #4 is a lovely effort, the kind of book I want to see more of, with a truly great coloring job, strong art and good scripting, earning a very impressive 4 out of 5 stars overall. If this is “Batgirling”, count me as a fan…