“I thought this would be a dream come true. A fantasy. I mean, there are monsters and there is even a Knight.”
Robin & Batman #1
Jeff Lemire (@JeffLemire)
Review by Chris Ceary
Content warnings/trigger warnings: Violence
Dick Grayson was the first child to pick up the mantel of Robin, and because of that, he was the one who defined what being a Robin means. Lemire and Nguyen take us back to those defining moments in Robin & Batman #1. They explore the origins of the costume, the rocky start to vigilante training, and the even rockier start to Dick’s dynamic with Bruce. It is back to the beginning with this tale.
Anyone who listens to Gotham Outsiders knows, I am a Robin fan. Beyond my love of Batman, the many boys (and girls) wonder are what draws me back to Gotham over and over. Whenever I see a Robin-centric title hit the stands I am there. Unfortunately, this first issue did not exactly get me in the Robin feels. It felt familiar and not in a positive way. If you are new to Batman, this may serve as a place to begin learning about the Robin legacy. If you have been a Gothamite for a while, you are unlikely to find much new here.
It was not bad. There are no problematic themes or flaws in the storytelling. It was also not particularly good. There was not much to excite discussion in this first issue. Toward the end of the issue, there were some hints dropped about the direction the story is going toward which are intriguing. Robin & Batman may well be taking readers on an interesting journey, but that remains to be seen. On a positive note, it was fun to see Dick Grayson in his old role again. If you are looking for a returning to this era in Batfamily history, this may appeal to you.
Where the story really shines is with Nguyen’s art. Robin & Batman uses a watercolor style of art that is lovely and somewhat surreal. The Robin costume pops against the darkness of the Gotham landscapes. The visuals more than anything else, are likely to pull you from page to page.
WAIT AND SEE. The story has potential, but there is nothing particularly exciting in the first issue. This may be a run that will benefit from a binge when it is complete, but only time will tell.