Much like the feeling I had last week closing the final issue of Nightwing, I had today when I finished the final issue of Robin. A feeling of sadness. I have no doubt in my mind Robin will return to a solo series in the near future, once Battle for the Cowl wraps, but until then, the current chapter of Robin's life comes to a close with Fabian Nicieza and Freddie Williams II providing the respectful closing bow.
Most of the ongoing plot threads throughout Robin are closed here in issue #183. We have Tim breaking up with semi-girlfriend Zoanne Wilkins, coming to a mutual agreement about Jason Todd's fate on behalf of Bruce's dying wishes, an attempt to smooth things over with Stephanie Brown, and a one-on-one confrontation with an old nemesis which shows just how much like Bruce Tim has become. Uber-preparedness in a sense. While I have no affinity for Lady Shiva, having only brief exposure to the character, I did find Tim's struggle with her engrossing thanks to Fabian Nicieza's inner monologues about what someone would do if they knew it was their last night alive. But that isn't the only part of Nicieza's script I enjoyed. I loved how he easily put into the context Tim's current affairs in regards to the rest of the Batman cast: His creative use of the now famous "Robin Dies at Dawn," his foreshadow to Bruce's final wish of Jason Todd without outright saying it, and finally, Dick popping in to reassure Tim everything will be alright.
The only part that felt tacked on, and rightfully so, is the "Origins and Omens" section of the issue. Obviously not Nicieza's fault, DC editorial is to blame there, but Robin just can't have much to do with "Blackest Night" and forcing Nicieza to dedicate six pages to it is just plain dumb, especially when it's the final issue of a series. I'm sure the "Omens" foreshadows Tim's involvement in Battle for the Cowl but I would have preferred more summing up of Robin in those six pages than seeing, yet again, a Guardian bleed more black tears.
Moving onto the art, Freddie Williams II's contribution to Robin for the last year or so has been fantastic. I've really enjoyed the way he draws Tim because he successfully turned him into a badass. He also draws some pretty kickass long haired superheroes, which is the look I prefer for both Tim Drake and Dick Grayson. The only sore spot in the art department this issue seems to come from a color mistake on Guy Major's part. During the scene with Tim and Jason Todd talking about what Batman's hologram told Todd as a last request, Major botches the coloring of Tim Drake's domino mask and mistakenly colors it red as if it were Jason Todd. Upon reading the scene you can easily tell that line of dialogue is meant for Tim, it's just the color of the domino mask that throws you off, cause it's wrong. But oh well, small complaint for an otherwise pretty comic.
It's sad to see titles like Robin disappear when they seem to actually be telling worthwhile stories. But that's how editorial rolls sometimes and we just have to roll with it. Robin will be back, in some fashion or another. And much like Tim says on the closing pages of Robin #183; "What comes next? I've been waiting for it. Guess I've lived for it all this time. I want it so bad. But I won't tell anyone how much it excites me. Soon...it'll be time to meet the new Robin."
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