Writer: Jon Lewis
Artists: Pete Woods and Andrew Pepoy
To put it simply: Robin is a book which does everything a solo book should. Throughout the months, writer Jon Lewis has used his interpretation of Tim Drake's character to facilitate the coming of age story of a young superhero in the shadow of a legend. But you won't find a dark, over-serious spectacle which loses itself in oddities and progressiveness. Instead, Robin is the rather engaging and positive story of Tim's adventures. That doesn't mean there's not struggles, but one thing this book has done is create a status quo that is more welcoming than most in that it respects the character. Mr. Lewis clearly gets the reader behind young Robin in what he does, and makes him someone you want to follow. It's this straightforward sense of adventure which is most active in the title, and one that you should be reading, no matter how old you are.
Robin currently finds himself the subject of a message from the future. It comes from Alfred in the year 2012, in which he says a "friend" has made Gotham power hungry, and will demand in this future that all power be regulated to him (the "friend") and his allies. The message cuts short of revealing the subject, but Tim suspects it is Batman being talked about, and does not mention it to Bruce the next time he sees him. As this occurs, Tim is being followed by a stalker, which will be explored next issue.
Before I picked up #116, I had little idea of who Robin was. Sure, I knew he was Batman's sidekick, the boy wonder, but now I know who he is. There's very few titles that make me smile these days, but this has certainly been one of them. And it's not just because the story is fun, it's as I said earlier---there's a great deal of respect for the character. It's as if Mr. Lewis doesn't feel the need to drop thirty tons of villainy and pain upon Tim, and still writes of thought-provoking inner conflict and adventurous journeys. This also serves as a dark contrast to Batman, which makes this title a nice addition for fans of the caped crusader as well. I don't welcome the news that Bill Willingham will turn this into a title where Robin has to "earn" his place as Batman's apprentice. Sure, it will be a thoroughly new take on the character, but I will miss Jon Lewis' brighter portrayal.
A story like this calls for art which is real, lightly exaggerated, and bright---Pete Woods nails it. He draws Tim Drake in a manner which matches Mr. Lewis' script: young, handsome, and intelligent. Most of the speaking in the book actually is not done by Robin, but of the supporting characters, while he mostly speaks through the first person captions. Mr. Woods' style allows the characters' prominence as speakers to shine through, while Robin receives in silent detail. It's a spectacular narrative to accompany the words.
I like to think of this title as another hidden wonder in the "All Ages" category that most people over 15 wouldn't be caught dead with. But it's stories like these I long for more of, and it is my every wish and intention that these creators find suitable work after their departure from this title. It sure has me hooked.
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