Writer: Keith Champagne
Artist(s): Derec Donovan and Jason Pearson
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: Someoneís carving up more than pumpkins this Halloween. Robin is determined to find out who.
Commentary: I bought this comic thinking it would be a significant contribution to the overall storyline, ďThe Resurrection of Raís Al GhulĒ. Being an annual and all I thought it would be something important. I donít normally read Robinís solo book and remember the days when the annual for a regular series provided a blockbuster story which was important to the continuing run of the main book. Alas, those days; along with so many others seem to be gone from the comicsí world. I believe Marvel did away with annuals all together a few years ago but has brought them back. Again, Iíve yet to read something in them thatís memorable or integral to any ongoing story. What DC and Champagne do here is take advantage of the fact that itís Halloween and so darnit letís give Robin a Halloween themed story to have an excuse for an annual! And, while weíre at it letís just tag on a little tease regarding ďThe Resurrection of Raís Al GhulĒ just to make it enticing to folks who are in to Morrisonís run on Batman. Well, it worked. I got suckered in.
Having gotten over my initial let down in regards to the contents of this annual Iíve decided itís not a bad story. Itís really not. Itís just not a great one. Itís not worthy of ANNUAL status. Champagne does something here which the best Robin writers over the past few years have done with the character; that being, emphasize his gifts as a detective. Of all the Robinís, Tim Drake is the one whoís developed most in the direction to equal and perhaps even rival his mentor, Bruce Wayne. Timís battle with the female fiend at stories end is well choreographed and drawn by Derec Donovan. His scenes of characters in action are much better than those of the characters standing still. Robinís anatomy is a bit bizarre while heís standing in the Batcave talking to Alfred. Champagne gives us a quick thinking and decisive teen wonder in Tim Drake who makes the decision to injure someone and draw blood without killing them in order to end a conflict. Heís still a teenager and not a man with the physical prowess and weight of Bruce Wayne. He doesnít pretend to be something heís not. He just knows what needs to be done and does it. We get a nod to the finale of the original John Carpenter Halloween at stories end. Again, I had to groan at this.
The backup story with Damian serves as nothing more than a reiteration of his personality and make up. Heís callous, uncaring, fearless and ruthless. Itís nothing we didnít know before. Keith Champagne again uses the Halloween theme to test Damian by having him encounter and combat supposed ghosts in a graveyard. He tackles them with a typical superiority and disdain heís shown before when battling Batman or Robin. Damian doesnít fear the living or the dead apparently. Heís the Ďanti-Robiní devoid of conscious or compassion. Jason Pearsonís art is passable. We learn that the whole graveyard melee was a set up by Raís to test the boyís mettle and take his measure. Personally, Iíd like to have seen this in the main Batman title and handled a different way.
Final Word: Two OK stories written to take advantage of the Halloween season but not necessary or important to current storylines in the Bat-universe.
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