It’s been the year of Robin, and to round it off we have the big crossover event Robin War, uniting all the former and current Robins from the different Bat-titles. It’s great to see such a focus on the different Robins (especially with the real Batman being out of commission), so let’s discuss Robin War #1!
Non-spoiler thoughts first: Interesting first issue! If you haven’t been following the other Robin titles, you won’t be too confused at all which is good. The basic premise of the story is that a group of Robins have begun circulating Gotham, trying to save the day. One such Robin, in an attempt to stop a robbery ends up killing the robber and the cop trying to defuse the situation. What proceeds is a law, criminalising all individuals who identify themselves with Robin.
In a Dark Knight Returns-esque intro, we see how society is reacting to Robins which leads to the creation of the law. Issues of justice, police brutality and the validity of law is raised in the issue. Eventually the original Robins all unite in Gotham as the mystery of Robin War continues. Basically if you’re a fan of Robin (any one of the many there are), you’re sure to enjoy the issue. Without Bruce as Batman in Gotham anymore, it’s up to the Robins to keep the order!
Okay spoilers for Robin War #1 follow now!
I have to say the first half of this issue was very powerful. Tackling real world issues with what’s happening in the comics right now made the comic quite enjoyable. The matter of the fact is that there really is no order in Gotham without Batman. Sure Jim Gordon as Batman is around, but he doesn’t represent the same force Bruce did.
In a way Bruce was neutral. He didn’t work for the law, but he worked with them. He wasn’t hired by anyone in society, but works to protect Gotham. Jim Gordon on the other hand is a Batman who works under the GCPD, so that neutral force in Gotham is no longer present. It widens the gap between authority and civilians, and the idea of justice is skewed. Batman balanced out the morally ambiguous, confused and corrupt officials in Gotham. And without him, things are turning to crap.
That’s why there are now a group of Robins running around the streets, and it’s why the new Robin law is in place. In a series of great panels we see the law escalate to no bounds, as children are electrocuted, beaten and arrested for no good reason. We see that Duke even gets arrested just for wearing red shoes.
Jim Gordon as Batman doesn’t have the power or control to stop this situation, as he is obliged to follow the law. He can’t be like Bruce and question the validity of some laws, instead he must blindly follow the law, which is a big problem, because a lot of the time the law in Gotham either doesn’t make sense or isn’t enough.
To help with the situation Jason and Tim unite and Damian returns to Gotham. Damian has always been a love/hate character with people, personally I loved him in Robin War #1. You can’t help but love his bluntness and determination, and his reaction to meeting the new Batman was pure gold! And of course within a few minutes of being in Gotham, Damian starts a fight with a group of Robins and Batman!
Calming Damian down is hard, but there is one person he would listen to. Enter Agent Grayson! Dick returns to Gotham from one of his Spyral missions to help the Robin War, and this is where the mystery sets in.
Masterfully interwoven in the panels of Robins getting brutally arrested are panels of Councilwoman Noctua, the woman responsible for the laws, eating a fancy feast. It turns out that Noctua is working with the Court of Owls (they’re baaackk) who want to start this Robin War.
By the end of the issue we see the Robin we met at the beginning get killed by a Talon. That part of the comic is especially emotional. We see that although he created quite the mess, and killed two people, becoming Robin was something he did out of the best intentions. He was inspired by Dick Grayson, who saved him when he was Robin.
Yes we know that Batman has an impact on Gotham, but as Robin War #1 demonstrated, so does Robin. And the imagery of the Robin bleeding out on the pavement, no longer a daring young man, painfully showed that with all goodness and hope Gotham breeds, there is always darkness that follows it.
And in this case the Court of Owls, who seem to still be very interested in Dick Grayson. As we found out earlier, Grayson was initially supposed to become the next Talon, before he was adopted by Bruce. Now it appears they want him back again, but what’s interesting is that they stated that “the Nightwing will rise again”. Why do the Court of Owls want Dick to be Nightwing again?
Overall, it’s always good to see Jason, Tim, Damian and Dick unite. It’s interesting that this Robin War has been manufactured by the Court of Owls, the question now is what exactly do they want? Whilst crossovers can be annoying, as the whole having to read a bunch of different titles can be hard, it is great that DC are showcasing the legacy of Robin. Batman may be important, but so is Robin. 8/10.
Robin War will continue in Grayson #15.
Robin War #1 Written by: Tom King Art by: Khary Randolph DC Comics
Categories: comic books