Robin 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular has a whole host of amazing writers, artists, colourist, and letterers involved. I will be looking at the stories individually and will credit along the way. I’ve split the issue into two posts given how long it is.
What do you need to know?
Not a thing. The book is made up of ten stories which follow different iterations of Robin.
What do you need to have read?
Nothing. But you should check out my thoughts on the first half of this issue.
Tim Drake, Robin III in “Extra Credit
Adam Beechen (W), Freddie E. Williams (A), Jeremy Colwell (C), Rob Leigh (L)
The art for this episode is very pencil heavy and so it stands out in comparison to the rest of the book. You can decide for yourself whether this is a good thing or not. The story focuses on Tim at school and plays on the fact that he is living a double life through a trip to the school guidance councillor. This, perhaps more than any of the others, reminds me of traditional comic strips, which is fun but it lacks depth. We do get a bit of characterisation for Tim through exposition, which would not be my first choice for method of delivery but it’s better than nothing.
Tim Drake, Red Robin in “Boy Wonders”
James Tynion IV (W), Javier Fernandez (A), David Baron (C), Carlos M. Mangual (L)
This is the first time in this whole issue that we get to see the whole BatFamily together which is so exciting. The idea is that Tim is trying to work out where he wants to go next and what he wants to do. To do this, he gets advice from his bothers which showcases their philosophies. I love the family dynamic that we see here and think that it’s an underrated element of BatFam stories. Because of this, it is one of the more enjoyable stories even though it lacks a traditional bad guy-plot.
Stephanie Brown, Robin IV in “Fitting In”
Amy Wolfram (W), Damion Scott (A), Brad Anderson (C), Andworld Design (L)
There were plenty of Robin’s that I had never read when I started this issue, but I was excited to see a female Robin. It was disappointing. To begin with, this is my least favourite in terms of art. It’s very exaggerated, almost to the point of a carnival mirror, and I found it distracting. The main plotline is Stephanie struggling with her Robin uniform, as they have always been made with a boy in mind. I appreciate that the writer is trying to get across a message about change, though this storyline I was just very bored by all the talk about clothes. I appreciate what she was trying to do but it just missed the landing for me. Also, at the end of the day, her uniform does not look very practical. When I’m working out, granted I’m not leaping of Gotham’s skyline, but I favour leggings and a t-shirt. I can’t imagine a situation where I would want a strange dress/tunic combo. All that said at least the story does a have a full arc, even if I didn’t enjoy it.
The Super Sons in “My Best Friend”
Peter J. Tomasi (Story and Words), Jorge Jimenez (A), Alejandro Sanchez (C), Rob Leigh (L)
After hating the previous art, I was glad to move onto a new style. The art in this story felt like it was influenced by Anime but only in certain panels, so overall it was inconsistent. The story itself was interesting because it’s told from the point of view of Jon Kent, Superman’s son, rather than Damian Wayne, Bruce’s son and current Robin. It was quite nice, and Jon is waxing lyrical about his friend, but it didn’t tell me anything I did not already know. This is even more surprising given that I don’t typically read from either of these characters.
Damian Wayne, Robin: Son of Batman in “Bat and Mouse”
Robbie Thompson (W), Ramon Villalobos (A), Tamra Bonvillain (A), Tom Napolitano (L)
For the final story in the book, the perspective is split between Damian and Bruce. It explores not only the relationship between Batman and Robin but also between father and son which I very much enjoyed. It makes great use of parallels between the two, but it has no resolution. Instead, the story is continued elsewhere which is a little frustrating. The art style is very illustrative which made for a nice change, and by this point, I was just relieved that it wasn’t overly annoying to me.
I was pretty disappointed in this little anthology. There are so many great Robins and so many great stories about them and yet nothing was exciting about this book. It is as though, on Robin’s 80th birthday, they have run out of things to say. I could have forgiven it if the issue had felt like it was indulging fans, but it didn’t even feel like it was catered to them. Instead, this felt like an introduction to the BatFam rather than a celebration.
Coming Soon… Batman: The Adventures Continue #2