REVIEW: ‘Dark Nights: Death Metal-Robin King,’ Issue 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Death Metal-Robin King #1

Dark Nights: Death Metal-Robin King #1 is written by James Tynion IV and Tony Patrick, illustrated by Riley Rossmo and Daniel Sampere, colored by Ivan Plascencia and Adriano Lucas, and lettered by Rob Leigh and AndWorld Design. It is published by DC Comics. Following the events of Dark Nights: Death Metal #4 the Robin King battles Wonder Woman and her fellow heroes, while flashbacks reveal his twisted past. In a backup story titled “The Quiet Ones,” Duke Thomas faces off against a Lazarus Pit-empowered Batman called Quietus.

I have to start off this review by saying one fundamental fact: The Robin King does not work for me as a character. The idea of a dark, demented child version of Bruce Wayne is definitely an intriguing idea and fits with the twisted aesthetic of Death Metal. However, the Robin King embodies one of the worst tropes in Batman stories: the idea that Batman can beat anyone and everyone with the right tools. The Robin King has just about every counter available for our heroes, which saps a lot of tension and gets boring halfway through the issue. Not to mention ridiculous.

To his credit, Tynion does try to give the Robin King a noble goal of sorts. The King wants to inspire the children of his world to rise up against those who hold them down-namely, the adults. We also see him butt heads with the Batman Who Laughs, which is an intriguing element given that most of the other Dark Knights have fallen under the grinning maniac’s sway. I wish the issue had more of this conflict, as it is arguably more interesting than watching the Robin King kill other DC heroes.

Rossmo also brings an impish vibe to the story with his artwork. His take on the Robin King and the Darkest Knight is pure nightmare fuel. The Darkest Knight is a writhing mass of shadow, while the Robin King has a permanently sadistic smile affixed to his face and ghostly white skin. Completing the ghastly ensemble is his crown of thorns and the talon-like blades embedded in his gloves. This is a Robin you wouldn’t want to run into.

Rossmo utilizes a neat narrative trick to depict the chaos that the Robin King embraces. Many of the panels in the book are tilted at an angle and stacked on top of each other in a kaleidoscopic fashion, giving the readers the impression that they’re tumbling into a hole. Not only is this visually inventive, but it also is a great way to represent Robin King’s madness.

By far the standout of the one-shot is “The Quiet Ones”. Patrick has a firm grasp on Duke’s characterization, using his inner narration to set the stage. We also get to see a new evolution of Duke’s shadow powers from Batman and the Outsiders, as he uses them against Quietus. Sampere designs Quietus as a towering, armored monster; the waters of the Lazarus Pit flow through his veins, giving him a sickly green color.

Though its title character is wearing far too much plot armor, Dark Nights: Death Metal-Robin King #1 is a visual treat. Duke Thomas fans should pick it up for “The Quiet Ones” story alone.

Dark Nights: Death Metal-Robin King #1 is available wherever comics are sold.

Dark Nights: Death Metal-Robin King #1
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TL;DR

Though its title character is wearing far too much plot armor, Dark Nights: Death Metal-Robin King #1 is a visual treat. Duke Thomas fans should pick it up for “The Quiet Ones” story alone.