REVIEW: ‘Robin and Batman,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Batman and Robin #1 - But Why Tho

Robin and Batman #1 is a flashback comic published by DC Comics. Written by Jeff Lemire. Devin Nguyen provides both the artist and the colour artist. The letterer is Steve Wands. Set very early on in the career of Robin, the story is set just as Dick Grayson is adopted by Bruce Wayne. He has been trained by Batman, only just being allowed out in the field. But he is still inexperienced and his opening battle goes poorly. Benching him brings out his fury and spurs Grayson to try and prove Batman wrong. But to do that, he needs a costume.

The plot is set up well. Beginning with a cold open, the concept is gathered quickly. The timing and setting dictates this historical look at the early stages of the partnership between Batman and Robin. The conflict is also shown early, the petulant young Grayson struggling to cope under the tutelage of Wayne. This flashback concept is one that has been explored many times before by DC, which is to be expected from the most famous partnership in fiction. And for much of Robin and Batman #1,  Lemire appears to follow that classic story. But it is towards the end where it deviates in an absolutely fantastic turn of events. It adds a completely different layer to many characters. The action is intense and the violence has a realism to it. There is also a powerful heart to the issue laced within the relative darkness of the tone.

The adjustment of the eponymous title suggests that Robin is the main character in the comic, and that is certainly the case. Grayson shines in this opening issue, although not necessarily recognisable. In the first scene, the reader may be excused for think that Damian Wayne was the Robin in this book. It has been so long since we have seen Dick as a boy and as Robin that this reviewer forgot the anger he had. There is a beautiful and important new take on his origin inside this issue. Crucially, this comic explores the creation of his costume and the adoption of the name. It may seem a small detail, but it is a pivotal and fascinating aspect of his life. 

There are two characters included in the title, and Batman is also treated excellently. It should be noted that whilst Robin is young and raw to the life of crime-fighting, Bruce is also inexperienced. He’s not had a partner before and is new in regards to training him and looking after him as a young child. He makes mistakes, and that is a rare occurrence for the Dark Knight.

The art is unique and remarkable. Nguyen has a fascinating style. The thin lines that overlap each other give the comic a sketch quality. It’s rough, but there is a beauty to it. Pointed shapes, for example, a Batarang or Batman’s mask, look sharper. The fight scenes look scruffy on purpose. The expressions of anger and pain on the faces of the heroes are more intense due to the direction of the lines. There are some superb close-ups, Nguyen’s design of Batman particularly brilliant. 

The colours are superb. For much of Robin and Batman #11, the world is greyscaled. Batman’s cowl features so many shades of black and grey, a monochromatic vision.  They look like smudged, painted markings, adding to the scruffy image. The colour only brightens when Robin wears his new costume, intentionally looking out of place. The shade of Batman’s cape is much darker and sleeker than anything else on the page. Shining and jet-black, in can resemble a night sky when flowing behind him.

The lettering is impressive. Wands instils a dynamism to the text, the bold words adding much drama to the dialogue being said. Batman and Robin both have narration boxes, but they are easily identified.

Robin and Batman #1 adds new details to an old tale. Lemire seems to still find new stories to tell about this character, but by digging into his past. Focusing on such a specific element actually opens up a rich vein to explore. It also allows the writer to revisit the troubled chemistry between Batman and Robin, breathing new life into their world. But there is also awesome action, incredibly clever twists and a distinct art style that will absolutely draw attention.

Robin and Batman #1 is available where comics are sold.


Robin and Batman #1
4.5

TL;DR

Robin and Batman #1 adds new details to an old tale. Lemire seems to still find new stories to tell about this character, but by digging into his past. Focusing on such a specific element actually opens up a rich vein to explore. It also allows the writer to revisit the troubled chemistry between Batman and Robin, breathing new life into their world. But there is also awesome action, incredibly clever twists and a distinct art style that will absolutely draw attention.