It seems as though Tim Drake has abandoned any pretense of seeking out a life that is in any way shape or form separate from his identity as Robin. While the writing seems to embrace this idea it must still finish the painfully contrived mystery narrative that is pulling the strings behind the scenes. Though this issue seems to be very close to ending the mystery once and for all!
I’m happy to say that my reviews for this series are no longer flooded with awful people! Hopefully that keeps up and I don’t have to address it any time soon. This also means we can skip straight to the fair criticism I’ve heard about this series from others. While many people argue that this person or other should’ve been the love interest, writer, artists, etc… for this series I feel like we only have what is already made and so I’ll be focusing on the comments about what has been made instead of what could’ve been. So for the representation that Tim brings to the bi community the real takeaway is that the writing of the relationship feels very hollow and that making Tim have a gay insider in the police force works to “rainbow wash” the police. Instead of having an issue with Tim’s sexuality the desire is to see Tim both retain anything from his previous incarnations as well as have a deeper homosexual relationship that isn’t written in a pandering or superficial way.
We’ve been having a stunning amount of comments on this series that (for the most part) I’ve really enjoyed relaying in my reviews so if you want to see your voice heard then don’t hesitate to leave a comment below! Now onto my own views about this comic where I try to talk about this third issue in isolation from previous works and Batman lore.
While I do find this third issue to be refreshing I also think that, as usual, there are some glaring problems with everything contained between the front and back covers. This series has been inconsistent and poorly executed and I can’t talk about everything I think could be improved here but I’ll try to name some important and less important flaws.
I’ve heard before about how Fitzmartin shows off her knowledge of Batman in very contrived manners but the opening pages where Tim Drake lists his opinions about the different Robins of the past takes the cake. The internal dialogue seems very inconsistent as though multiple Tim Drake’s were commenting on each Batman in their own narrative style. You have the investigative Tim Drake who is more interested in their past, the cool kid Tim Drake who says things that will make him relatable to “the youth” and the Tim Drake who actually has an interest in winning the fight. That last Tim Drake is all we need. A much better way to have Tim Drake introduce his feelings about the other characters is to have it be relayed by the way that he interacts with them, how he chooses his words in their presence instead of just shoving it in our faces from the get-go. This is done decently between Bernard and Robin so maybe this will be more consistent in the future. I feel like the fight also doesn’t get resolved by these revelations which is a common issue I have in this series. The characters say they are going to do one thing in order to help them win and when it happens it just feels so forced, like the only reason it worked out that way is because the writer wanted it to work out that way.
So why did I say this issue was refreshing? I can imagine people enjoying the fight between Tim Drake and the other Robins because of how Tim positions himself as a reluctant crime fighter, the idea that he was completely prepared to murder his family could even be the kind of dark story elements that Batman fans usually gravitate towards. We’ve also dropped most of the detective callbacks that were handled really sloppily and are just focusing on internal Batman lore. Even better, we start to see the interactions between the people in the Marina and Robin which is a great way to have Fitzmartin make her own mark on the world of Gotham.
As for Rossmo’s mark on the world of Gotham, A LOT of people are just not enjoying their work in this realistic setting so to have the villains be made out of clay could actually work quite well for the style. However the characters that aren’t made out of clay have an insane amount of variation in the way that they’re drawn. The backgrounds and layout of the world is quite solid throughout but Bernard for instance seems like five different misshapen clones roaming the pages of this comic. I also am usually a fan of the panel composition that Rossmo does but the end of this issue is just so confusing to follow from a visual standpoint. I am super confused by the vial’s placement at all times and apart from Robin I have no idea who is being talked about and who is being talked to. For the most part though the layout of pages is just barely intuitive enough to not feel overloaded. Sadly when combined with the writing it has its high points where the danger of a massive Robin is relayed by simple dialogue and imposing art or it has its low points (pretty much everything else).
I do really like the colors by Lee Loughridge and I think the variety of soft dark colors and muted light colors presents a very calming and nostalgic feel to the comic which plays into the amount of self referencing and callbacks this comic engages in. I also really like the touch of having the Tim Drake Robin be more bright than the other Robins in order to emphasize the idea that he is both at the center and standing apart from the rest. Visually this could’ve been a great way to incorporate the themes of renewal and separation that this story completely failed to bring to the table.
While I don’t have much to say about the lettering by Tom Napolitano I just wanted to nitpick the fact that the letter Bernard wrote is written in the same lettering style as Tim’s internal thoughts which makes it confusing to tell who is stating what as Tim reads the letter.
- The amount of comments under these reviews is giving you fear of missing out
- Tim Drake fighting other Robins is exciting
- Dark family dynamics aren’t downright disturbing
This issue has shed some of its worse features and immediately taken on a whole new set of problems. The writing is poor and too in your face, the art is inconsistent and can be very unintuitive and anything interesting is watered down like a mocktail you ordered by accident. Except for instead of having a sweet alcohol free beverage you get served this bitter disappointment…
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.
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