Writer: Lee Bermejo / Artist: Jorge Corona, Rob Haynes / DC Comics
Listen, we are nine issues deep into We Are Robin and what Bermejo has done to build these characters and the mythos around them is similar to what Snyder has done over in Batman. The only difference is Bermejo is starting from scratch, which in itself offers more freedom. I loved this issue, we’re seeing the “Robins” (Are they? Aren’t they?) out in their civilians. We see each of them going through their own issue — Izzy with school and her future, Dax getting the weaponry right. Duke meets up with Izzy and we’re starting to see the bridge being re-established between the team. My true love of this is how the search for Duke’s parents has come to a close and is starting a different chapter, but this frees him up to focus on the team again. The true gem is we’re finally getting to see more detail into what other members have been up to, their feelings, and the monsters within them.
I say monsters in a good and bad sense. We saw glimpses of Dre’s evolution as a vigilante and we get even more of it this issue. Dre is turning into a beast. The true shine for a good portion of this book comes from Riko. We see Riko having to deal with some emotion, and the way that shit gets unleashed? THE GIRL IS A SAVAGE! That’s all I’ma tell you. That’s all you get, but trust you’re going to love it.
Switching gears in terms of villains, DC has always been big on the Bizzaro version of antithesis types of villains for their heroes (Reverse Flash, Bizzaro Super-Man, Inertia), but in keeping with that the way these new teen Jokers are coming to fruition isn’t coming across as a rehash or corny in the least bit. Smiley, as he is going by now, is influenced by the Joker, but not trying to be that much of an impersonator as he has his own issues driving him.
Word is getting out about Smiley, and a clash between him and the Robins is going to be a new type of danger for Gotham. Bermejo has made Gotham a very big character in this book; actually he’s made a Gotham a new, younger character through the eyes of these teens. Where we have the old, gritty Gotham over in other Batman titles, we have that here as well at times. However, for the most part this Gotham feels like a new, younger character from how the youth describe and interact with it in the art. Jorge Corona and Rob Haynes did an incredible job bringing the visual of Bermejo’s words to life in the landscape and in the characters. There’s so much talk of the choices that Gotham forces you to make before you ever should, and they reflect that beautifully in the art. Their depiction of Smiley is very reminiscent of the Joker, but his demeanor stays his own, which shows in his ideology and his humor being more heavily influenced in sarcasm and a distorted view of social commentary.
I love this book, and this issue really gets things underway as the danger increases for our young vigilantes. You know the band is going to get back together, but the dynamic is going to be something that’s going to take time to adjust to for them. Read this book. We Are Robin is such a fresh breeze into the Bat Family.