The seventh issues of We Are Robin and Robin: Son of Batman constitute the fourth and fifth installments of the Robin War event, the Batman Office’s second major event recently (the first is Batman and Robin Eternal, which appears to take place before Robin War). The story takes an unexpected turn that is only partly successful, but which certainly sets up important developments for the medium- and long-term future of the Batman Universe.
Lee Bermejo on script and Carmine Di Giandomenico on art turn in an issue of We Are Robin that deftly addresses two of the main issues around which the entire Robin War crossover is constructed: the ethics of young vigilantes and the relationship of the new Robins to Batman’s traditional partners. The story opens with a long dialogue between Dick Grayson and Jim Gordon as they search the home of Councilwoman Noctua, the sponsor of Gotham’s oppressive Robin Laws. Gordon seems unsurprised to find Grayson alive, a sign of how quickly the Batman Office has dropped its poorly conceived plotline of Dick faking his death. That piece of strangeness aside, Gordon’s confession that he felt conflicted and even guilty about Dick’s role as Robin rings true to his recent characterization in most of the Batman line. So does his current unease with the Robin movement, and his disgust with the Robin Laws. As it turns out, the Honorable Councilmember Noctua isn’t much of a conspirator, as she has left owl statues prominently displayed in her living space.
While Gordon and Grayson have their chat, a group of Talons, having seized the imprisoned Robins from Gotham’s ever-corrupt and completely incompetent police (it really does strain credulity that they do not bother to unmask and fingerprint the young captives) force Red Hood and Red Robin to fight to the death for the title of the Court’s new Gray Son of Gotham. To the delight of Damian, and the awe of the new Robins, the two put on an acrobatic display that results in Red Robin vaulting to the upper stories of the prison where he activates the mechanism that frees his compatriots from their cages.
It is truly a shame ROBIN WAR stumbles at such a crucial moment. Just as the story needs to build toward a strong finish, it loses its momentum in a series of sudden, poorly justified plot developments. Still, the main issues of the crossover have been clearly stated, and one can hope for a powerful climax.