Robin #175 Review
Robin #175 review by Hugo Bravo
Written by by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Joe Bennett
Batman R.I.P. is barely at the halfway point, but anyone following Grant Morrison's latest arc in the Batman books can pretty much figure out that the Caped Crusader has finally gone off the deep end. The Black Glove seems to have gotten the best of the Dark Knight, taking over his home, his identity, and his sanity. Bruce Wayne has lost his memory and his wandering the streets of Gotham. Nightwing has been drugged and thrown into Arkham as a patient.
So where does that leave Tim Drake? Bruce Wayne's third adopted son has had problems of his own recently, with his former girlfriend Stephanie Brown, the Spoiler, coming back into his life after her 'death' during War Games. Tim Drake has been a contender to be the next Batman ever since Infinite Crisis, and the cover of Robin 175 gives a cool foreshadowing of the using the classic “Death in the Family” cover as inspiration. It's clear that Robin will be affected by the outcome of Batman R.I.P. in a big way, and this issue is a new beginning for the Teen Wonder.
Fabian Nicieza is currently developing a great understanding of Batman's supporting cast. Not only is he in the middle of a great arc in Batman: Confidential, focusing on Barbara Gordon's first encounter with Catwoman, he is also the new writer for Robin's solo book, a position abruptly abandoned by Chuck Dixon.
This issue of Robin is enjoyable for two main reasons. First, it gives a small peek of what the Batman family was up to during the events of 52. It's pretty cool to see Robin in his old green uniform, for one last time. Second, and much more important, it also gives yet another look at Tim Drake as a possible heir to the role of the Dark Knight. Whether this idea becomes a reality remains to be seen, but this issue definitely opens up the possibility. Robin's characterization stays consistent with earlier depictions, and it's what makes Tim Drake the best and most interesting Robin. Drake's ultimate loyalty is not to Batman or to Nightwing or even to himself. This was proven in Bruce Wayne: Murderer when he rightfully had the most doubt of his mentor's innocence, which led to conflict between the two former Robins. More than anyone in the Batman's circle, Drake is committed to justice. Here, he gives a rookie police officer access to Batman's secret note files, noting that giving the notes to a trusted face like Commissioner Gordon might not be too wise. Also, Drake understands that if Batman has truly gone crazy, he will need to take his boss down by any means necessary. Joe Bennett's art looks great at the moment this is established, firmly establishing Robin entering the next step in his superhero career, at least in form. He gets some extra points for his great Penguin and beautiful Spoiler, too.
Much like the tie-in issues to The Return of Ra's Al Ghul, this issue of Robin isn't really necessary to enjoy Batman R.I.P. Still, this is a good side story; just don't expect mind-blowing revelations to the main book. Like Robin may be preparing for his future role as the Dark Knight, so is Fabian Nicieza beginning his role as Robin's writer. As of this issue, they both are on the right track.