Robin Rises: Alpha #1 review

It’s funny, isn’t it? Robin Rises: Omega was the start of this arc and the word “omega” refers to the end. Here, we have Robin Rises: Alpha which refers to “the beginning” which is actually the end. Trippy, huh? A working subtitle could be: “The beginning of the end.” It’s meaningful enough to hint at anything, yet obscure enough to fly below the radar. Like a horoscope. And you know, speaking of horoscopes and telling the future, there is nothing about this comic that you, the reader, don’t already know. If, by some random chance you’ve lived beneath a rock for the past three months, you don’t know what happens, then please, do not read any DC comics from last week or this week as THEY SPOIL EVERYTHING about this arc.

If you checked out my Batman and Robin #37 review, you know how miffed I am about having this entire arc ruined. Having this oversized, overpriced, special, one-shot comic kind of miffs me too.* We are essentially buying a comic that tells us nothing we don’t already know, very little we haven’t already seen, and are paying for an extra comic this month just for DC to “officially” show us. Batman and Robin #37 could have easily been enlarged to a book this size and told all of it plus Robin Rises: Alpha. It’s because of cash meeting wallets that stories like this are told in multiple books.

With all that being said, as frustrated with DC as I am, I enjoyed this comic overall.

The story picks up at about the last third of B&R #37, retelling Bruce and the gang’s arrival back to Earth. I have to hand it to Andy, he makes this look great. There just seems to be so much more emotion in Bruce’s face, the agony of the Chaos Shard, even the brief badassery of the Hellbat suit, than what’s found in #37. Not that Gleason did terrible. I think Andy Kubert had more time and wiggle room to tell his take on the story. It does take 12 whole pages (not including the title page) to recap what happened. If you’re a numbers guy or gal as I am, that’s 30% of the book spent on recap.

You’ve seen that giant splash page in the back of every other comic for two weeks now, right?

Damian Kalibak

Well, the next 17 pages (42.5%) of the comic are spent on the teased fight between Kalibak and the BatCrew. You think you might know the outcome? You think that Kalibak had any other reason to show up on Earth than to help reveal how powerful Damian has become? I guess you’ll have to read this book to find out!

Of course Kalibak gets beat up by Damian and thrown back to Apokolips. Of course this was just an excuse to show Damian has super powers. Of course it was cool to watch the throw down actually happen.

Between the recap that we already saw and the fight we already knew would happen, about a third of the book is spent with various people talking about Damian being alive. We’re left with one of my favorite splash pages in a while, similar to Jim Lee and Frank Miller’s All-Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder cover. It’s a gem.

I’ve thought long and hard about Andy Kubert’s art. I enjoy almost every aspect of his style, but there’s always been something I never cared for that I could never place my finger on until tonight. If you look at the way he draws faces, I think you’ll see. The ratio of jaw width to mouth width is often terrible. The mouths are almost always too small while the jaws are flared out like they’re actually fish gills trying to breath. I made this with the assistance of my Pic Stitch app on my iPhone:

Wide Face

If that’s my only complaint though, I’m doing good.

Really, it’s a decent comic. I enjoyed reading it. There is fun, fighting and family: it goes well with Tomasi’s overall view of the characters and slant he’s taken with this series. It’s mostly things outside the pages of this comic that detracted from how well I enjoyed this issue. If I were scoring DC’s editing and promoting of this arc, I’d give them a 4/10. My score for this issue, no matter how arbitrary our scores really are, is not based on my displeasure with DC, but rather on the hard copy issue I have sitting on my desk. And I enjoyed it.

*Miffed is slightly better than pissed, but worse that “irked”.

Recommended if:

  • You didn’t believe DC when they told you about Damian. (See, I won’t even spoil it for you here.)
  • Andy Kubert. That’s really all I have to say. It’s (mostly) fantastic.
  • You love Damian Wayne.


Essentially, you don’t have to read this issue to know what happens. You already know. As much as I don’t want to promote DC’s money grab or terrible promotion department, I enjoyed this issue. It has heart, yet stays fun. It has depth, yet stays light. It’s a good end to a fantastical arc with one of the classiest/coolest final splash pages I’ve seen in a while.

SCORE: 8/10