All the Robins are under lock and key with only Grayson at large to save the day. Will the original Boy Wonder be able to bring down The Court of Owls on his own, or will he need help from an unlikely ally to win the day?
Detective Comics #47 is part 3 of “Robin War”. If you didn’t read Robin War #1 and Grayson #15, which are part 1 and part 2, below is a synopsis to catch you up to speed for Detective.
- Robin War #1: One of the non-primary members of We are Robin gets involved in a Police shooting while trying to stop a criminal from robbing a liquor store. The death of a Police officer motivates the powers that be to enact “The Robin Laws”. Any child seen wearing the colors of a Robin, a mask, or the R symbol, will be brought into custody. Not wanting their movement to be ended, the “Robins” have a mass meeting to see if the “Robin” involved in the shooting will come forward and give himself up to show that they are the good guys. During the meeting, the real Robin (Damian Wayne) shows up and demands that they disperse and give up their foolish crusade since they are pretenders and were not trained by Batman so they can’t be Robins. When they don’t, he proceeds to beat up the entire army of “Robins”. The fisticuffs draw the attention of the GCPD and they call in “Batman” (Jim Gordon). When he arrives on scene, Damian proceeds to defeat and humiliate him as well.
- With “Batman” and the “Robins” put in their places, Red Robin and Red Hood show up to put a stop to Damian’s rampage. They advise him not to fight with other good guys. When Damian won’t listen to them, they inform him that they called Grayson and he is on his way to Gotham to talk some sense into the brooding boy wonder. Finally, we are left with the realization that all of this was somehow orchestrated by The Court of Owls to get Grayson back in Gotham and in the Nightwing persona once again. (Why do they want that…? I have no clue)
- Grayson #15: Grayson, Red Robin, Red Hood, and Robin go about training the “Robins”. Once the cream of the crop are chosen, Grayson sends them all out on missions, accompanied by a former Robin, in order to get one step ahead of the Police. During all this, Grayson has been secretly feeding the “Batman” information. It was all a setup by Grayson to protect the kids and keep everyone out of harm’s way. I’ll let him explain the details to you.
Now that everyone is up to date, Detective Comics #47 review:
Part 3 of ‘Robin War’ is a thinking man’s episode. It still has your obligatory fight scene, because comics, but the real driving force behind the issue is the wide array of perspectives we get to see in regards to the current situation. Whether it’s the viewpoint of the caged Robins or the Police monitoring their captivity, everyone has something to say. By far, my favorite inclusion was Damian’s. I’ve missed that little guy and his penchant for indirectly belittling people who are within earshot of his condescending remarks. He is also the only character who seems to be actively attempting to escape his current predicament, which makes him the primary catalyst for the jail scenes.
While Damian was my favorite for the sheer fun factor it presented, the dialogue between Harvey and Jim was far more provoking. They discuss due process, the mistreatment of minors, and an unnecessary level of security dedicated to nothing more than kids. It’s nice to see the comic acknowledging the reality of over the top situations like this, while at the same time, it really calls into question how multiple police officers allowed an infraction this severe to go on without reporting it to anyone. While Jim may just be finding out about this, Montoya and Bullock are far from being the kind of morally bankrupt individuals who would have just let this fly. I know Harvey tried calling the D.A., but how about some leaked footage to the local media.
Moving on to Grayson and Gordon, I had a few hangups. In Grayson #15, Duke informs Grayson that he is aware that he is in fact Richard Grayson, former Nightwing, former Robin. Now, Jim Gordon is also calling Grayson by his name and openly acknowledging that he was Robin. I get that the identity of Nightwing was outed to the world during Forever Evil, and it bothered me then too, but how is it that more people never made the connection from the Nightwing reveal, that Bruce was Batman. I suppose that you could go with the excuse that since Batman was publicly funded by Bruce, why wouldn’t Batman have utilized Bruce’s ward as well. As an explanation, it works, but things are getting far too convoluted for my taste.
While it is interesting to see Gordon and Grayson openly discussing the past, there is something that just feels wrong about it from a nostalgic point of view. I also found it odd that it took Gordon so long to do the right thing/piece everything together. It’s as if Gordon has relied on Batman and Robin for so many years, that without them, he can’t make the choice/come to the conclusion on his own without one of them backing him up.
At this point in the story, it should come as no shock to the reader that The Court of Owls is behind all of this. Being privileged to this information prior to our heroes means that, while the last page reveal is shocking to them, we can’t share in their moment of revelation. I’d also argue that they should have figured it out sooner anyway. If you look at the custom made prison they are being kept in, it is all very sterile and nondescript. Except, of course, for those giant owl statues in every corner! I mean, what practical purpose could those possible serve that no one decided to question their inclusion. Even if you look at it from the GCPD point of view, you’d think someone would have brought it up. They are too much of a sore thumb not to have drawn some inquiries.
Art for this issue is handled by Steve Pugh. To be honest, I’m not familiar with Pugh. I can’t recall ever seeing his name before and I don’t really recognize his work. Maybe that is because he has not done much or perhaps it is due to the fact that he utilizes a standard house style of comic art that comes off as rather undistinguished. Even when he has a splash page, which is commonly used to showcase an artist maximum potential, it still comes off as unremarkable. Personally, I though Mikel Janin’s homage splash of Batman and Robin from Grayson #12 was far more iconic than Pugh’s.
- The way Robin War is being presented across multiple titles reminds me very much so of the standard that comics were utilizing back when I was a kid. If you had a huge story you wanted to tell, but didn’t want it stretching out for several months, you simply used all the ongoing books to tell the story in a couple of weeks. Although, it had the potential to get very confusing if you didn’t keep up with comic news. Let’s say for instance you didn’t know there was a “Robin War” story coming up and you weren’t a reader of Grayson. You would not have known to pick up the Grayson issue ahead of time, and even then, wouldn’t really know where to go to get part one and two. At the end of this book, you know to go to We are Robin #7 next to continue the story, but there is nothing in the story itself to tell you where to go to get the previous parts, i.e., Grayson and Robin War. Your only hope was an advertisement that would point you in the right direction. Keep in mind that I am talking about a time before the Internet existed. Just trying to introduce you to the pain of comic collecting you will never know.
- You wanna see Batman and Robin back together again (in a way).
- You like when an issue focuses on character interaction and dialogue.
- You’re collecting all the issues of “Robin War”.
Of the three parts of “Robin War” that have been presented thus far, I found this one to be the weakest of the trio. While the script delivered by Ray Fawkes had plenty of thought provoking ideas and displayed some wonderful personality quirks of the main cast, it had me asking “why” far too many times.
SCORE: 7 / 10