“Assault on Precinct Nine”
Writer: Adam Beechen
Artist: Freddie E. Williams II
Publisher: DC Comics
Of all the titles to leap ahead One Year Later for DC, Robin was the one title I wasn't expecting much from. As far as I was concerned, the best part of what Robin was going to present was Karl Kerschl. Well, unfortunately, Kerschl is no longer a part of the Robin creative team and Freddie E. Williams II has replaced him. And in this issue, Williams hits the ground running. I don't know much about Williams' previous work, but based on this one issue of work, he's not going to remain “unknown” for very long.
Williams'S artwork exhibits a lot of energy. Even in the quiet moments, I find myself admiring the amount of work he's putting into it. At first glance, you think Williams is just another artist whose art is “cartoony.” But the more you look, and I mean really look, at what he's drawing, you'll be surprised. There's a lot of subtle detail in his work. So while I may be slightly disappointed in Kerschl no longer being on this title, I think DC made the right choice in giving this assignment to Williams. Based on one issue's work, Williams might actually be a better choice, especially when it comes to interpreting Adam Beechen's high-energy script.
And speaking of the writing by Adam Beechen, I didn't intentionally ignore his efforts in the beginning of this review. Let's face it, he was very much the unknown quantity on this title's OYL leap. Also, Robin has not exactly had the best track record when it comes to using unproven, new writers. Well, two issues in, and I can safely say that I like what Beechen is doing so far. He's taken a character that can be very tough to write and is beginning to put his own mark on him.
In the last issue, Beechen put Robin right in the thick of danger from the get go. First in having him accused of murder and then eventually having him forced to infiltrate a GCPG station in an effort to find the truth. As this issue picks up, the pace certainly does not lessen. If anyone is looking for an appropriate example of “from the frying pan into the fire,” read this issue. Robin is put into the situation of having to avoid the GCPD within their own station. And this is where Beechen's writing ability shines. His dialogue for Robin just flows. Never once did it feel too over the top, which can easily happen when someone tries to “over explain” what's going on. Beechen also has nice little subplot going on with who is trying to frame Robin.
Unfortunately, it's not all quite perfect. Beechen took an “easy out” in an effort to move the plot along quickly. He has a character come in out of nowhere to give Robin a key piece of information. Up until that one moment, Beechen had an incredibly solid story going. I much rather Robin had discovered this information out on his own instead of having it handed to him. It cheapened the story a bit as far as I was concerned. Here Beechen is setting Robin up as a detective on par with Batman, and he treats Robin like this. Yeah, it was a tad irritating.
Overall, Robin is definitely on solid ground here. This title has a very good creative team, and it appears that it'll only going to get better. I like the direction this title is headed. The OYL leap definitely helped this title. Robin is finally starting to get his own identity and out of the shadow of Batman, while still retaining that connection. DC has tried for years to make Robin this stand alone character, without much success. Every time they start to get the separation, they pull him right back to being the sidekick. I think issue finally showed how strong of a character Robin can be without Batman.
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