Saturday, February 21, 2009

Robin #183 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Freddie Williams II
Colorist: Guy Major

Story - Robin Dies at Dawn

After 183 issues and a couple mini-series that preceded this series Robin finally comes to an end. Though I have not collected the whole series, since I have dropped this title only to pick it up again every once and a while, it has been interesting seeing the evolution of the Tim Drake character on this title, as well as in Teen Titans. Even though Dick Grayson is one of my favorite DC characters, and have been able to read many stories of him as Robin through back issues of Batman and Teen Titans, I have actually grown up with Tim being the Robin of my childhood. So seeing how much Tim has actually changed from that first mini-series to now has been an interesting experience for me.

Just like last weeks Nightwing this issue of Robin really felt like a final issue of a series. Fabian Nicieza did a nice job with all the interactions, or non-interactions, Tim has with his supporting cast to make this feel like a closing chapter of a book. Also Nicieza left the door open for future stories involving some of the characters in this book for what ever book Tim is involved with after Battle for the Cowl is over.

Nicieza made a wise choice having Lady Shiva be the final villain Tim faces off against in the final issue of his series. After all Lady Shiva was one of Tim's original teachers when Bruce first sent him abroad to train to be Robin. Through this confrontation we can see how dark and methodical Tim has become since his early days training under Lady Shiva. Through the short fight Nicieza was able to show that while Tim still has a long ways to go before he can compare to Lady Shiva, Bruce, Cassie, Dick and all the other top DC hand-to-hand fighters it is his mind that is able to make for the difference in skill and experience all those other fighters have over him.

A few months back I wrote a post that talked about the various roles I think that all the Bat-characters will take after Battle for the Cowl (read here) and from the final page, before the Omens and Origins back up, seems to confirm some of those predictions. From what Tim says at the final page it seems that when he says that "Soon it'll be time to meet a new Robin" he is talking about himself becoming Red Robin. And I really hope that Tim does become Red Robin since he has really made the Robin character his own and it is fitting that he keeps Robin as part of his identity and not just pick up a new one that has nothing to do with Batman.

What will be interesting to see is what Bruce message to Dick, Tim, and Jason were since we know everyone in the Batfamily had there own personal message though we have only actually seen the message Bruce left for Alfred on screen. From the dialogue we got from Tim and Jason I am actually thinking that the message Bruce left for them has something to do with Dick taking up the mantle of Batman. From all the Nightwing issues, the Dennis O'Neil two part Batman story, and the solicits of Battle for the Cowl it is clear that Dick will go in to BFTC thinking that Batman died along side Bruce and that he can protect Gotham, along with the rest of the Batfamily, as Nightwing. So I am actually thinking that the reason Jason picks up the mantle of Batman in BFTC #3 (as seen in the solicit) is that Bruce told Jason that he needs to try and make Dick to accept the fact that Gotham needs a Batman and that Jason needs to sort of be that final push for Dick to become the Batman Gotham needs.

The Origins and Omens back up story that we get in this issue didn't really work as well as it should have. The premise for the back up is actually really good with Tim going to get revenge on Obeah Man for killing his mom. The problem is that the story would have been much better serve as actual story arc with in Robin instead of only being four pages of story. It is to bad since the story just feels like wasted potential for what could have been a stand out story in this series.

Issue Rating
Story: 8.7/10 - Nicieza provided some quality dialogue that made it sad to see how Tim, like Dick in the final issue of Nightwing, is seemingly detaching himself from his normal life by ending some personal relationships to focus completely on be Robin.
Art: 8.2/10 - Freddie Williams II provided for some excellent artwork in this issue and it is great that he was able to draw these final issues of this series since he is one of my favorite artist that has been on this title.
Overall: 8.35/10 - Though the back up story was a lost of what could have been potentially a great story arc this was a good final issue that sets Tim up for the role he is going to take in Battle for the Cowl.