Robins #2 is here, and boy howdy is it a book! Full of some of the art, dialogue, and storytelling I’ve ever seen, this book is, definitely!
Throwing Down the Gauntlet
I think the thing that’s bothering me so much about this book (aside from my previously stated gripes with the Round Robin tournament) is that it’s just kind of… fine? The story isn’t anywhere near in par with Tim Seeley’s best work, and Baldemar Rivas’ art flips between beautifully stylized and… well, not so much.
I will say that I like it more often than I don’t, but there’s this one thing I need to get out of the way before I dive into the meat of this story: what the hell is up with Tim’s cape!?!?
Putting him in his classic suit was already a bit of a weird move, but to then turn a long, flowing cape into essentially a poncho? I’m really curious to know what the reasoning was here, because honestly, it doesn’t even look that good. There’s a weird amount of open, brightly colored space on Tim’s body that the black cape would normally cover. The whole point of Tim starting the black cape trend was so that he could be more protected and blend into the shadows, more akin to Batman than his two predecessors. Putting him in this little poncho completely defeats the purpose! And the worst part?
They SHOW HIM IN A LONG CAPE
This isn’t just a weird misunderstanding of Tim’s suit, it’s a conscious choice. One I’m so weirded out by, I had to go on a whole paragraph of tangent about it.
Okay, rant over. Let’s talk about the content.
This issue is designed to give us a look into the “Gauntlets” that shaped each of the Robins, tests from Batman to see if they’re ready. For the most part, they’re pretty good. There’s a couple issues that I have that I’ll put in the spoiler tags below, but overall I like this idea.
A lot of these gauntlets seem kind of grafted onto stuff that would have happened anyway?
Like they’re talked about as if Bruce concocted tests for each of the Robins, assigned them cases that he thought they could handle in order to test them out, but Jason’s “gauntlet” happened on their first patrol after he happened to hear a woman in trouble? The whole scenario that followed showed his character, sure, but acting like Bruce was testing Jason instead of just watching a scenario play out at random and making a judgment call based on the outcome seems really disingenuous.
My second problem is with Stephanie’s gauntlet. Bruce fails her, because he has to, because she was fired from being Robin in past comics, but it’s really weird that her reason for failure was “disobeying orders”. Dick’s gauntlet shows him blatantly disobeying orders, but Bruce seems almost proud of him for it. He adds that Stephanie is getting revenge “on” her parent instead of “for” them, which doesn’t really make much sense. Revenge is revenge, and Bruce explicitly doesn’t want them getting revenge FOR their parents either! I understand that Steph HAS to fail because of canon, but I don’t think this was a good way to convey that.
My third, final, and BIGGEST problem is that Damian’s gauntlet is stated to be Tim Drake. Yeah. Remember that time Damian decided to jump Tim in the Batcave because he was jealous of the Robin mantle?
That counts for Bruce.
There was no criminal stopping, no mystery solving, there wasn’t even a plan to test Damian.
He just. Beat up Robin. And Bruce was like “ok cool guess that was your test!”
The actual plot of the issue follows the Robins as they faff about trying to figure out who is messing with them. There’s a fairly serviceable trail of clues, but that’s being said with a massive amount of disbelief suspension. I think the actual mystery aspect of this book could be handled a lot better. It’s only issue #2, though, so we’ll see.
- You voted for this to win Round Robin
- It’s the Robins. They’re hanging out.
- Honestly I don’t think I want to recommend this yet. It’s kind of disappointing.
I hope this gets better soon.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.