REVIEW: ‘Robin’, Issue #5

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Robin #5

Robin #5 gives us a brief and amusing Robin War plus more energetic action. Joshua Williamson pens this issue and the series, with Gleb Melnikov returning as series illustrator. Luis Guerrero is the colorist, and ALW’s Troy Peteri letters this issue published monthly by DC Comics. Last time around, Damian Wayne was off Lazarus Island, getting schooled by Ra’s Al-Ghul and tracking the intersection of the League of Lazarus and the League of Assassins. He found them, trading with each other in lost tomes and secrets. But on the way back to the boat to take him to Lazarus Island for the tournament, Robin is sidelined by, well, every other Robin.

Nightwing, Red Hood, Robin (Tim Drake), and Batgirl (Stephanie Brown) arrive to bring Damian back home. As per his nature, the newest Robin never communicated to anyone why he left or his mission. Just as well, for when he does, none of the former sidekicks of Batman has ever heard of the League of Lazarus, let alone a fight competition to the death. This scene is very well written. Each character feels and reacts right, and their interactions are very passive-aggressive yet familial. Our young hero agrees to go back with them…if they can catch him. Interestingly, they agree to this rooftop chase. While it might seem odd for the concerned family to not just drag a smarmy kid back home, it points to the inherent playfulness in the personas of everyone ever to be called Robin, even in Red Hood. The chase begins.

Meanwhile, Ravager, a character that is worth getting panel time, awakens from the death handed to her by Respawn in the last issue. Furious, she goes off to attack him, only to get slowed by Flatline. Here comes a curious piece of background, in that every combatant for the tournament had to die once before it could even begin. This drops as the arena forms before the eyes of Ravager and the other fighters, a greenish construct out of thin air. Though it looks like something out of Green Lantern, it definitely foreshadows the League of Lazarus is packing some serious and disturbing power. It hints that they may now have a sinister grip on each warrior in their fatal game. 

Williamson is branching out with books across the DC Universe, and Robin is just one title showing how he has serious writing skills. He recognizes character and steady pacing of the plot are crucial in a story that places much of its emphasis on action. Sure, fights alone would make for a great read with amazing art by Melnikov and Guerrero, with Peteri as usual feeding readers a healthy dose of word SFX, but eventually, that would tire out. In every issue, we are given a morsel of intrigue, centered around Swan and her enigmatic Lazarus Island, that catapults the story to one worthy of any of the best Batman mysteries. Adding to that, Damian’s emotional and mental state, and this is a great exploration into a corner of the Batman world that adds a new step to every issue. 

Melnikov has come back to grace the panels with his strong lines and anime speed runs that capture the essence of action and danger while maintaining overall animated quality. Guerrero and Peteri accent the panels to offer a comic akin to the classic days of brightly colored characters but with additional pigments to enhance the vision. The letters throughout are large and feel strong without being a distraction from the artwork. Also, there is a nice back and forth with inks in terms of black or white panel borders to highlight certain pages.

Robin #5 gives us a highly competent Damian Wayne and opens him up to face what is to come. There is a lot to experience in this issue alone, and the fate of all the fighters, not just the main protagonist, will be a wild ride.

Robin #5 is available now wherever comic books are sold

 

Robin #5
5

TL;DR

Robin #5 gives us a highly competent Damian Wayne and opens him up to face what is to come. There is a lot to experience in this issue alone, and the fate of all the fighters, not just the main protagonist, will be a wild ride.