The previous arc was pretty dark at times, and there was a lot going on in terms of character development and story structure. Sometimes, after having concluded an arc like that, it can be nice to take a step back and tell a one-and-done story. Not only does this give Mora, the ongoing artist, a little bit of time to gear up for the next arc, but it also gives readers a moment to relax before the next big adventure starts. Yes, this issue is filler, but the question is, is it also good filler? Let’s have a look.
From start to finish, this is a very fun read. This issue tells the story of Robin and Supergirl’s date, which has been hinted at previously. Waid has chosen a solid structure to tell the story: at the start we find Supergirl and Robin talking to their mentors about the date they just had, and as the story continues, we switch between the date and their conversations with Superman and Batman, so we get to hear both sides of the story.
The character dynamics are also great. When Supergirl sees that Robin is able to save himself while fighting supervillains, she is impressed by his acrobatics and the fact she didn’t have to save him, so she decides to ask him out. The date is incredibly awkward, though. Dick is trying really hard to show off, which makes sense because he’s Robin—all about flashy colors and acrobatics. Besides being a former circus performer, he’s also still young and trying to impress Supergirl. Meanwhile, their conversations are not going very smoothly; they aren’t even sure how to interact, and they can’t exactly walk out yet because they already ordered food and due to shenanigans in the kitchen they have to wait incredibly long for it to arrive. Throw in a stray monkey and a slapstick chain of accidents, and we can safely say that the whole universe is working against them. However, it’s not just a date gone wrong. Even though there isn’t a specific villain in this issue, we do get to see Robin and Supergirl saving lives and stopping the aforementioned chain of accidents from escalating even further.
There are two things that I don’t like as much, but neither of these gets in the way of being able to enjoy the book by any means. The first is that Superman tells Supergirl: “Kara, [Robin’s] human. Humans deal with fears and vulnerabilities we can’t imagine, so it takes some of them more time to open up.” While the insight about some people needing more time to open up is definitely something that can come from Superman, I don’t like how this is phrased. Clark, of all people, should know how hard it can be to open up about things, because of how he grew up in Smallville, having to deal with his developing powers as he got older. While humans are definitely physically more vulnerable than Kryptonians, I don’t think that Clark would claim that he can’t imagine human fears and emotional vulnerabilities just because he is an alien.
The other thing I’m not a fan of is that characters talk very casually about death, from the murder of Robin’s parents to the destruction of all Krypton, and almost do it in a joking manner. I don’t necessarily have anything against the joke itself, it just doesn’t land for me and I think it could have been handled way better.
As for the art, it’s great! Lupacchino provides guest pencils this month, with Von Grawbadger and Rapmund providing the inks. Lupacchino is very good at drawing character’s facial expressions, and that is exactly what the script is calling for most of the time. Some of the scenes are essentially rather static, but the fun character poses and the different angles make even those scenes a lot of fun to read. The superheroics that occur toward the beginning and end of the comic are also great fun. I especially love the sequential rendition of the chain of accidents; it’s a chaotic mess, but well choreographed and orchestrated. To keep the aesthetic consistent with the previous issues, Bonvillain colors this issue as well, and her vibrant and joyful palette is exactly what a fun one-shot comic like this needs.
- There’s nothing better than sidekicks on awkward dates together.
- Monkeys are cute.
- You love seeing how slapstick disasters escalate to the point that it ruins a superhero date.
Overall: In a world where mainstream Batman is always sad and the Big Two can’t stop turning a blind eye to customers’ event fatigue, this issue is a breath of fresh air. It’s awkward and funny and well-drawn, and anyone can pick up this issue without having had to read previous comics in order to enjoy it. I recommend this comic to everyone who’s looking for some awkward comedy in their monthly rotation, or people who are big fans of either Supergirl or Robin. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.