“Easy to get, easier to use. The problem with easy is always the same. You have no respect for it. You don’t have to fight to earn it. Any superstitious coward can believe in its power. Stand on its shoulders and feel tall. But only the courageous stand in front of it defiant. We aren’t punks. We aren’t bullies. We aren’t criminals.”
Shown above, are several excerpts from the story pertaining to Duke’s personal perspective on guns. For me, this is hands down the most important element in the entire story, and perhaps, the most meaningful thing that has come out of the entire “We are Robin” series. Taking a stand against guns and gun violence geared towards youths is a very important topic that shouldn’t be glossed over. Every time there is a shooting at a school, movie theatre, or other public venue; people are shocked and it gets a massive amount of public interest. But after time, it disappears from the public consciousness until the next major disaster. We take note of it when it’s here, but don’t do anything in the interim to prevent it from happening again. Personally, I’m not advocating for the eradication of all firearms. That would be irresponsible. But greater gun control is definitely something that should be taken more seriously.
The fact that Bermejo uses this comic to target an audience that may eventually fall prey to the seduction of the gun, is a very admirable use of the platform he has been given. In the wake of the Batman v Superman movie, it has become very clear to me that there are plenty of people out there that think killing is “cool”. And to be honest, I find it sad that as a society we still embrace such barbaric activities as entertainment. We aren’t living in the year 80 anymore and watching gladiatorial matches. We’ve had two millennium to evolve. We should have been beyond this by now.
After addressing such serious real world issues, it seems almost peculiar to focus on the trivial details of a fictitious world, but that is what we are here for, so…
Bermejo’s subject matter doesn’t just make us reflect on our own world, but helps cement the world of Batman. Once again, in the wake of Batman v Superman and the decision to depict Batman offing criminals left and right, it was nice to see two separate examples from the comics this week taking a stand against such a portrayal. In Batman #51, Scott Snyder told us the story of a criminal who wasn’t killed by Batman, and because of this, he was able to reform himself into an upstanding citizen. Here, we are presented with the mindset as to why Batman doesn’t use guns/kill. Now maybe this is a coincidence, because I’m not entirely sure how far out from a release date comics are finished and ready to go, but I’d like to think that this commentary about Batman was in some way inspired by these comic writer’s revulsion to Zack Snyder’s vision. Actually, it’s even more valid if it wasn’t simply a knee jerk reaction to the film. Having not one, but two separate stories address guns/killing in spite of the film, shows that it isn’t just some vague rule that can be jettisoned at the discretion of the writer. It’s an integral part of the character that gets addressed regularly.
At it’s heart, this is just a story about a group of people doing the right thing to help others. It ends up not stand on the shoulders of any brand names or symbols to make itself relevant. You could easily take this story out of Gotham, and it would be just as meaningful. I kept expecting the “Robins” to suit up. It is a super hero comic after-all, and I think there is some pressure to deliver upon certain expectations. But to be honest, I’m glad that it boiled down to people doing the right thing and not some larger than life hero. It shows that we can save each other if we try.
- The subject matter of this tale obviously reminded me of Batman: Seduction of the Gun. It’s been many years since I read the story, so I’m not sure how it has held up over time, but I remember it as being very impactful. If I recall correctly, the government in the real world was trying to crack down on guns at the time. Pro-gun campaigns were saying that, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” In a line I’ll never forget, Batman mocks the campaign slogan saying (and I’m paraphrasing), “Years after my father’s death, I met the man responsible. Without a gun, Joe Chill would never have been able to kill my father. So yes Robin, guns do kill people.” Batman is the perfect poster-boy for an anti-gun campaign. I’m genuinely unsure what the real world anti-gun campaign was at the time, but if they weren’t using Batman, they made a huge misstep.
- Is it just slipping my mind at the moment, or is this the first time it’s been mentioned that Dax is a Chill! As in Joe Chill…the guy that killed Batman’s parents! Is Dax the son of Joe Chill?
- To be fair, DC already published a story about the son of Joe Chill. But that was from another continuity, so I guess it’s all good.
- You want to read a story that stands on its own merit without the need for flashy suits, symbols, or brand names.
- You like when a story makes you reflect on the world around you.
Instead of using this comic as a platform to present meaningless entertainment, Bermejo admirably tackles some very serious real world issues that his target audience may very well someday face. While the subject matter does make us reflect on our own world, it also helps to cement the world of Batman. But this isn’t just another book depicting larger than life heroes, this story takes the time to show us that ordinary people doing the right thing can be just as important as a man in a cape.
SCORE: 9 / 10