With the Lazarus Tournament over, and Mother Soul outmatched there isn’t much left to do but wrap up the loose threads hanging around Robin and the rest of the tournament fighters. And what better way to do that than with a family reunion and party?
Robin is one of those books that I love to read. I eagerly await access to each issue and read it as soon as I get my hands on it. It’s fun, paced well, has an engaging plot, and more than anything really seems to both get and respect its cast. All of that is true in this issue, and much like issue #4 it leaves you grinning through most of its pages.
The book’s main concerns are wrapping up tournament threads such as Mother Soul and Master Dusk and in touching on a number of personal notes for each character. The first of these the story tackles is Mother Soul. With Ra’s, Talia, and their own league members crashing in at the end of last issue there are more than enough characters around to firmly put an end to any remaining plans she might have. It feels a little like the adults showing up to finally take charge of a group of rowdy kids with Ra’s and Talia so neatly dealing with the League of Lazarus members, and even the tournament fighters who aren’t in Damian’s core group, but I don’t mind it. It’s nice to see some resolution instead of leaving many of those characters to run off unchecked.
Ra’s and Talia are the stars of this issue. Williamson does a lot of great things with the rest of the cast, but it’s utterly delightful to see him write Ra’s and Talia together, on their own, and around Damian. They’re both competent characters in their own rights, and have this perfect and odd vibe of being a family but also a family of assassins. You can see some of the previous distance in Damian and Talia’s relationship as she’s surprised he has friends, then later awkwardly praising them and Damian. Then there’s more serious interactions between Talia, Ra’s, and Mother Soul or Talia taking charge of the League members. I’m really glad to get more of Talia in general in this series, I wasn’t the most thrilled with her way back in the Batman backups that preceded this series and I’m happy to see Williamson giving her more page time here because she really gets to shine.
Once Mother Soul and the remains of her league have been taken care of, Damian, Rose, Flatline, Respawn, and Connor head off to keep Master Dusk from escaping. He’s run off to the near island of Corto Maltese. It’s during this chase Williamson wraps up a few more threads–well I say wrap up but really we don’t learn a ton. Respawn at last reveals himself to Rose, but not the audience, and they leave to keep him safe. This feels less like a real resolution to their portion on the island, and more moving them off field to take part in the upcoming Shadow War event, and I’m a little disappointed we too don’t get to learn his identity just yet especially since it was hinted at so often. As long as we get resolution to it in Shadow War, I won’t be too upset.
Williamson also uses the time on the island to set up some future events with Connor, answer the ever burning question of why Lady Shiva didn’t bother with the tournament, wrap up things with Master Dusk, and give everyone a chance to relax. It’s the relaxing that I want to talk about next as it’s where Damian and Flatline’s relationship finds some resolution as well.
The relationship between Damian and Flatline is one Williamson has been building through most of the series. From their general animosity early on, to growing closer through the events of the tournament it’s hard not to see the two being pushed together, and here that comes to a head as they’re talking. Now, normally I’m very firmly on the train of Damian shouldn’t be with anyone, but I don’t hate it here. From other characters teasing them, to Damian and Flatline having small moments together, and especially that last fight between them in the tournament, I’ve been convinced over the whole series that they first liked each other, then developed feelings, and now here it’s blossomed into romance. Whether or not that’s a lasting romance, or just the pressure of being close to someone you’re attracted to during life threatening situations I can’t say, but within the writing it works. Especially when I compare it to how I felt about Damian and Djinn way back in Teen Titans. That was a pairing that didn’t feel realistic at all, instead forced and rushed. Here, Williamson has taken the time to lay a foundation and make readers want them to be together, and I for one enjoyed it.
The art around that scene, and the whole issue, is stunning. I’ve missed seeing Gleb Melkinov on art, and I’m heartbroken to hear this is his last issue on the series. His style has defined this book for me as much as Williamson’s writing has. I wish him the very best of luck on his original work, but I’ll be so sad to see him go. He brings so much energy to the issue, from bit shots like the team walking into Corto Maltese in the middle of the city celebrating, to the fight between them and Master Dusk. The scenes feel full of life and energy no matter where you’re looking.
Luis Guerrero’s colors are also gorgeous in this issue. They’re bright, vibrant and a joy to look at. Especially those around the party. The sun is setting and dusk is falling, basking everything in those warm tones that all look really soft. Then the way he colors the lights of the city after dark, and the fireworks are just so pretty I want to stare at them for longer than need be.
The issue firmly wraps up the tournament plot, and seems to send the cast off in different directions. I’m a little sad to see everyone splitting up to go on their various adventures, but it makes sense here. They came to the island for a specific purpose and all have lives to live outside the tournament. Plus specifically taking the time to send off the cast we’ve been with so long gives the arc closure it might not have had if the story had jumped right back to Gotham post battle. I’m eager to see Damian return home, and tentatively interested in Shadow War, but I’m also very glad the first arc of his book had a satisfying ending as well.
- The power duo that is Talia and Ra’s is your favorite thing
- You like it when stories take time to fully wrap up an arc
- It’s fun to see everyone decompress a bit
With the Lazarus Tournament completed it was nice to have an issue mostly about wrapping up loose ends. Williamson does a great job here rounding out the tournament arc while also setting up a variety of tales to continue moving forward like Connor’s journey, and Damian’s own return to Gotham. It especially works to set up the upcoming Shadow War event by bringing together the Al Ghuls, Respawn and Rose, and sending Damian on his way home. It does all this with its characteristic humor and action, and stunning art.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.