My 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!
With Tim Drake being the titular character it’s normal that many people who are invested in the character would speak out about his misrepresentation in the series. Tim in previous comic series had shown time and time again incredible detective skills which many commenters say have fallen by the wayside here. The examples given were about him not closing the curtains when he changes costumes or the fact that he stopped keeping tabs on the monsters responsible for traumatizing Bernard. He also assumes a lot of random observations about Batwoman’s gloves and lets her leave them on for far too long before giving them a scan.
When it comes to the other characters, commenters are feeling like apart from Bernard there aren’t really any other characters at all. The complaints have been about Darcy coming into Tim’s life without any real background info as to why he trusts her, about Stephanie only appearing to congratulate Bernard for dating her ex or all the off-panel character moments between Batwoman and Robin. And don’t forget about Sparrow, a character you’re probably not even able to picture right now. You can? Ok. What color is her hair?
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! Also, her hair is blonde.
The mystery of the bloody gloves continues as Batwoman and Robin try to unravel the damning revelation declared by the last issue’s villain. Is Batwoman actually a child murderer? If not, what are the gloves about? Can Tim Drake spend a single issue in his boat without having the windows wide open? These questions are, sadly, not answered in this issue, but with only one more left to go in this series I’m sure every plot point is going to be perfectly resolved next time!
I can understand spending an issue to have Robin and Batwoman go searching for clues but the execution here has a lot to be desired. I think the conversation Meghan Fitzmartin wrote between Bernard and Tim is actually really tense for reasons I’ll get into later but the information isn’t there and it looks like after all this useless searching the answer basically kidnaps Tim into the right setting.
Needless to say, he attracts a lot of unwanted attention in this issue and interactions with people I don’t want to read about. The two previous issues did a better job of tightening the world to a manageable cast of at most four characters at a time. This issue is almost the same for about 80% of the time and then out of nowhere forces an awkward interaction with Pie. Someone zero readers will have any interest in apart from how bad he makes Tim look. Honestly I wouldn’t even be surprised if Pie turned out to be the villain.
Speaking of people you might not recognize. Bernard is acting quite unlike himself in this issue. I really like that. He’s actually dealing with his emotions in a way that the reader can see. Not just a spineless yes-man to Tim but someone who has boundaries and a need to cope with his trauma. While this is a step in the right direction I’m afraid it’s too little too late. There were just too many issues where Bernard was nothing more than a passive talking head and this one punching bag scene isn’t gonna do much to change that.
I was somewhat a fan of the art in the previous issue. I mostly talked about how it was a shame to have such a different art style already. Overall Nikola Čižmešija really outdid himself here. While the art does waver a bit at certain times, kind of constantly shifting between stunning art to passable sketches, the final product is maybe the best looking Tim Drake: Robin issue yet. I even see some clear call backs to the previous issues’ stylistic choices to make the art feel less jarring for a reader who wants to experience the series all in one go.
Good art in a comic can really make the writing hit a lot deeper. One excellent example of this is the discussion between Tim, Bernard and Batwoman as Bernard is going at it with his punching bag. The punching bag becomes a visual anchor for the setting and serves as a release of tension for Bernard. The bag is also a metaphor for the memories that he’s suppressing and actively fighting against. As the conversation goes on, the pressure rises until the bag is about to hit Tim. Čižmešija shows us that Bernard will not let this conversation go any further.
Even more than that, you have Batwoman piercing the punching bag right in between them as she shifts the focus of the conversation to what she wants. This weapon could be a way of showing that Batwoman is not afraid to unravel those memories even if it means piercing Bernard or getting in between Tim and Bernard. Batwoman in this conversation actually relates to Bernard because her memories are also suppressed (though for different reasons) and by attacking the metaphor for his repressed memories she basically calls out Bernard for not wanting to dig through the bad things in his life.
- You want to see some more of Batwoman
- You’re curious what Tim Drake: Robin looks like at its best
- Dropping this series now sounds like quitter’s talk
The art is really noticeable in this issue because we’ve become so used to seeing nothing but mediocrities being the pinnacle of what this series has to offer. While the issue does improve a bit with regards to Tim’s love interest, there’s just nothing I could see the final issue delivering that could make the multiple issue story of this final arc worth it for me. I wish the final issues could have been more like an anthology but I guess Fitzmartin had no idea her series would get canceled and probably had this story in mind.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.
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