ROBIN #1/ Script by JOSHUA WILLIAMSON/ Art, Colors and Covers by GLEB MELNIKOV/ Letters by ALW’S TROY PETERI/ Variant Covers by RICCARDO FEDERICI, ANDY KUBERT, BRAD ANDERSON & JEEHYNG LEE/ Published by DC COMICS
Born of two of the deadliest people on the planet, Damian Wayne’s upbringing has been anything but conventional. Raised as an assassin by his mother, Talia Al Ghul, he was later sent to stay with his father and came to adopt his methods and his creed of non-lethal violence as a vigilante. He even led a Teen Titans team for a time and befriended the son of Superman.
But that was in better days. Before the death of Alfred Pennyworth. Before Bane’s plot to destroy Gotham City. Before the Joker War accomplished what Bane could not. Now Damian Wayne has left Gotham and both his parents behind him, seeking a way to prove himself as more than the son of the Bat. It is a path which leads him to the League of Lazarus and a tournament to find the world’s deadliest warriors.
It took a long time for Damian Wayne to grow on me as a character. While Dick Grayson and Tim Drake still run neck-in-neck for the position of my favorite Robin, I no longer view Damian was the psychotic affront to all things good and decent that he was written as early on his career. Even so, I probably wouldn’t have given this new Robin series a shot were it not for the fact that Joshua Williamson was writing it. I loved Williamson’s recently ended run on The Flash and was curious what he could do with a character I didn’t care about that much.
While Williamson hasn’t quite managed the trick of turning me into a Damian fan, he did drag me into this narrative with his usual flair. The current status quo of the Bat-books and why Damian is on the run from his family is explained well enough. What captured my attention, however, was how the story has worked in some characters I was not expecting to see including, dare I hope, a Rebirth version of Connor Hawke, along with some old favorites from Nightwing like Double Trouble. Such is the magic of Williamson’s writing that he revives many classic characters and naturally introduces them into his stories along with smooth exposition and brilliant character moments. I may not like Damian much, but this issue does a great job of showcasing who he is.
The artwork is as strong as the story. Gleb Melnikov is a master of visual story flow and the many combat sequences in this issue are well choreographed from panel to panel. The colors are well-chosen, with different tints being used to punctuate key moments. There are also some great sound-effects, courtesy of ALW’s Troy Peteri.
If you’re looking for a good action-packed comic series, look no further. Yet beyond the martial arts mayhem, Robin #1 is a fantastic introduction to one of modern DC Comics’ most interesting characters and the current state of the Batman universe.