REVIEW: ‘Robin 80th Anniversary 100-Page Spectacular’

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Robin 80th

Robin 80th Anniversary is a 100-page special celebrating the history of Robin. The anthology features stories of every Robin, from Dick Grayson, to Jason Todd, and even Stephanie Brown. Writers include Marv Wolfman, Adam Beechen, Chuck Dixon, James Tynion IV, Devin Grayson, Amy Wolfram, Judd Winick, Tom Seeley, Tom King, and Robbie Thompson. Pencils and art from Tom Grummett, Freddie E. Williams II, Scott McDaniel, Javier Fernandez, Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund, Damion Scott, Mike Janin, Jorge Jimenez, Dustin Nguyen, Ramon Villalobos, Tamra Bonvillain, and Rob Hunter. The issue also includes colors from Protobunker, David Baron, Hi-Fi, Brad Anderson, Jeromy Cox, Alejandro Sanchez, John Kalisz. Robin 80th Anniversary also includes letters from Carlos M. Mangual, Troy Peteri, AndWorld Design, Tom Napolitano, Rob Leigh, and Steve Wands.

The issue contains ten stories featuring Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, Jason Todd, Stephanie Brown, and Damian Wayne. The anthology explores the legacy of each character as well as how they came to hold the mantle – and eventually leave it. The first story in the anthology, “A Little Nudge,” follows Dick on one of his last nights as Robin before he leaves the mantle behind. The story does well to show the tension between Dick and Bruce.

The anthology brilliantly moves chronologically. Dick Grayson stories, including one by Dixon titled “Aftershocks,” being in the front and stories about the most recent Robin, Damian Wayne, closing out the issue. The best part about “Aftershocks” is the art from McDaniel. The story is a throwback to Dixon’s Nightwing run that still remains one of the most well-known runs from the character. It is, however, one of the more boring stories in the anthology, though not out-right bad. The same can be said for the story right after, “Team Building,” that showcase Dick’s time leading the Teen Titans.

Robin 80th Anniversary

One of the strongest stories of the bunch, “More Time,” centers around Jason Todd, the Red Hood, and explores his relationship with Bruce and how it has changed from when he was Robin. Between Winick’s writing and Nguyen’s delightful artwork, the story is a stand-out. It is clear this creative team, like many fans, has a deep emotional connection to Robin. This is most evident in Tynion’s story “Boy Wonders.” Tynion has stated multiple times online and in interviews that Tim Drake is one of his favorite characters so seeing him write him once, previously he wrote him in detail in Detective Comics, again to perfect is fantastic. The story is also one of the few in the anthology that features most of the Robins interacting today. Unfortunately, the art of the story, by Fernandez, is a struggle. Close-ups of faces just look off.

The biggest qualm I have about Robin 80th Anniversary is the lack of women on the creative team. Additionally, the exclusion of Carrie Kelley and Duke Thomas, who made his comic book debut after taking up the mantle of Robin with many of Gotham’s children in We Are Robin. I also would have like to see more stories focusing on the former Robins interacting as a whole. The best part of We Are Robin, Battle for the Cowl and even Batman Eternal was seeing Dick, Tim, Jason, Stephanie, Damian, and even Duke working together as a team.

Robin 80th Anniversary is a must-read for fans of the character/mantle and Batman fans. The long history of the character is beautifully told through the various stories within the anthology. That being said, I would have liked to see more focus on interactions between the Robins and seen stories focusing on Carrie Kelley and Duke Thomas. If you are a die-hard fan though, the oversized issue is definitely worth the price.

Robin 80th Anniversary is available now everywhere comic books are sold.

Robin 80th Anniversary 100-Page Spectacular
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TL;DR

The long history of the character is beautifully told through the various stories within the anthology. That being said, I would have liked to see more focus on interactions between the  Robins and seen stories focusing on Carrie Kelley and Duke Thomas.