Now the review for the previous issue had an astonishing amount of comments, each one providing fun or insightful viewpoints that I am happy to share here before we start the review!
I feel like my review was blessed by a series of in depth essays tackling the series in their own way and so I’m gonna directly quote the comments more than I usually do because some of these points were just written so well that I wouldn’t want to alter it.
Most of the criticisms I want to highlight have to do with the way that Tim is written and there seems to be a general feeling that this series should have been relegated to an alternate universe. The version of Tim being presented has “stepped way back in his character development as we’re now revisiting all these insecurities he’s already worked through previously, and he’s pushing forward in ways that don’t seem authentic to the character that has been established.” “We’ve seen his detective skills brought down to mid-tier at best, showing us he’s not exactly as smart as he was thought to be.” And crucial parts of his comic book past are mishandled completely like Tim telling Batman that he’s needed or Tim never wanting to be Batman. So when “Fitzmartin tries to be meta it often ends in failure like this because she doesn’t take the effort to fully justify these takes in-universe, instead just telling us these things apply in-universe too even when it doesn’t make much sense.”
A great point made that I feel also touches upon a couple things I said in my last review: “Everything about this series suffers from a severe lack of development, from Tim himself to our villain to Bernard and their relationship to the marina itself and all its occupants. It’s incredibly hard to try and care about anything going on in this series, which is unfortunate because Tim is great.”
Sadly I can’t talk about the comments anymore because it’s about time I start my review but please feel free to write your opinions below! Maybe you’ll be the next person to be highlighted for the next issue!
With Moriarty out of the way we are greeted to a new chapter in Tim Drake: Robin, a one shot story centering around Tim and Bernard’s date. Some of the most obvious changes in this new storyline being the art and narration but there’s so much more! While it’s a slight improvement here and there the story is still plagued with problems.
One of the biggest improvements in the story is definitely that the characters have been cut down to really allow us to focus on Tim and Bernard. Bernard’s parents and the villains Robin fight serve to further develop the couple and especially add background to Bernard. We finally start to get to see what Fitzmartin wants Bernard to be beyond just the yes man he’s been in the past. Now there’s some depth to Bernard’s passive attitude, a combination of being raised with a silver spoon that forced him to swallow any sense of pride for who he truly is. I do feel bad for fans of Tim Drake who will probably be very unhappy with how stupid he seems in this story. Even though the same could be said for Bernard I would still argue that his character is developed in a solid enough way that it’s not as insulting.
The narrative framing of the story is another improvement. The dinner date becomes its own meta device for telling us how Bernard feels about each plot point while at the same time marking the highs and lows of the action. The story’s development is also noteworthy because of how it makes the good luck charm theme come full circle. I think having to make the story start and end in the same issue really allowed Fitzmartin to concentrate on telling us a story in a creative way with character development that actually goes a long way for Bernard.
While I can sort of defend Bernard’s character there is nothing I can say for Tim. He is treated terribly in this issue with only a faint glimpse into his detective genius when he finds out who the other bad guy is. For the rest of the issue he is incredibly unsubtle with little to no forethought to any of his actions. When you see him fighting there’s nothing about his intelligence that actually shines through and the only reason he defeats the villains is because the plot said so. There’s a moment where he escapes from something and when you see it you’ll also ask yourself how?!
The art changing style is a huge deal. Fellow writers in Batman News felt as though Serg Acuña’s style was better fitted for the series. Lots of people were unhappy with Rossmo being picked as the artist for the series and while there were some issues I felt had great art I can also recognize that there were a lot of lackluster pages. This style is like a very western manga and a lot more realistic than Rossmo. The backgrounds of the restaurant and city are nicely detailed but I feel like the fight was incredibly butchered. One villain’s power felt as though it had absolutely no effect and the artists weren’t able to give it any visual impact beyond looking cool. This completely takes me out of the fight. I also feel like the panel composition was very hit or miss. While I like the frame within a frame presented here and there, the framing of the dinner stands in contrast to the haphazard panels scattered along the rest of the pages.
I’m also not a big fan of having such radically different art styles for the series because it removes the familiarity we develop with the world. I think this could’ve been fixed by having some leftover visual benchmarks for us to weave the stories together. While this is a personal problem I can see how the story presents itself as a new arc for Tim Drake and that’s a decent enough justification to have a new artist come along and do as they please.
- Bernard getting some more background intrigues you
- Narrative full circles satisfy you
- You like the new manga art style
We’ve made it to the next part in Tim’s story. This time Bernard’s narration and background development isn’t enough to make this any better for fans of Tim Drake and still has a lot of randomness in both the visual and story departments. I think the issues are quite minor when you compare it to the dumpster fire that was the previous arc so maybe this might feel like a breath of fresh air to some readers?
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.
Come check out my latest short story Sleepy Animals at loosedogmagazine.com !