Red Robin #14 Review

July 11, 2010 at 7:33 PM | Posted in (All Posts), Comic Reviews, Reviews | Leave a comment
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Red Robin #14
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Penciled by Marcus To

Red Robin has placed Damian Wayne on his apparent “hit list” of villains, and his half-brother isn’t too pleased.

Red Robin. This has been a series I’ve really looked forward to each month since it debuted last year. Even the issues that were written by Chris Yost were ones that I certainly enjoyed, but I have to admit that “Fabian Nicieza” (say that 5x fast) really has started a great storyline.

Tim Drake-Wayne AKA Red Robin is back in Gotham City after going on a global search for proof of Bruce Wayne’s existence. With the rest of the DCU now believing that Bruce is indeed lost somewhere in time, Tim has established himself once again in Gotham City. Red Robin has created a “hit list” of villains and threats to the city and is apprehending them one-by-one.

Issue #13 — the first issue of Mr. Nicieza’s run — saw Red Robin take on Lynx as his first target. Lynx was taken down at the end of the issue, only to plead with Red Robin to stop because she claimed she was actually an undercover police officer. Considering the circumstances and the gang war situation in Gotham, Tim decided that it would be better to go ahead and turn her in — proving a point to other villains.

This issue opens up with Damian hacking into Tim’s computer system to find out just who is on this “hit list” of villains — only to find a separate list of individuals that Tim is keeping an eye on — and Damian is not happy about his presence there.

Tim continues on his nightly routine of searching down these rogues, and in fact makes quick work of a villain named “Brutale”. However, the female sidekick of Brutale manages to escape.

Meanwhile, Dick Grayson is off on a certain Justice League mission, leaving Robin without a Batman. Even though Damian is quite capable of taking care of himself on patrol, the others feel that either Tim or Dick should be with him when he goes out. If you’ve been reading any Batman series since Damian’s introduction, you’ll know that Damian and Tim — despite both being “sons” of Bruce Wayne — are NOT friends. Thus, Tim has been putting off patrolling with Damian as long as he can. He makes a promise to Damian that if Batman hasn’t returned by the following night, Robin and Red Robin can go out and patrol together.

Tim is hot on the trail of some corrupt detectives in Gotham, and his daytime life as Tim Wayne leaves him with some advantages. His “pretend” fiancee, Tammy Fox (daughter of Lucious Fox), and her sister Tiffany call on a press conference to address the Wayne Enterprise connection to these corrupt officers. Vicki Vale is hot on the scene at the event, and makes her awkward presence known by not only bringing up Tim and Tam’s engagement, but also teasing that she may know of the crime fighting life that the Wayne family leads.

The second night comes, and Batman still hasn’t returned. Red Robin and Robin take off into the night, making for an unusual scene of a different Dynamic Duo. Everything seems to be going well. They come up on the trail of Brutale’s partner, but as Red Robin swings off a rooftop for a closer look, he notices a “throwing R” cut his line — the work of Damian.

Tim angrily confronts Damian, and Damian retaliates. He claims that Tim has and never will accept him as one of the family, and he also states that Tim is jealous of Damian’s ability. For Tim, this is the boiling point. He has had ENOUGH of Damian’s attitude and disrespect.

I’m a fan of both characters, but the tension between the two has been growing ever since Damian’s debut. Seeing these two finally get to fight one another was just — in a word — awesome.

I won’t tell you who wins and I won’t tell you the aftermath, but the fight was not a letdown. The ending was quite unexpected, to be honest. Damian’s final “reaction” really took me by surprise, and it made me have a lot of compassion for the whole situation. Even though neither one is a real “son” of Bruce Wayne, they both technically have him as a father. The animosity that they have towards one another is both of envy and jealousy. Tim is not happy with the presence of Damian because he doesn’t trust him. Damian is jealous of Tim because of his position and experience, but also because he truly knows that Bruce has been more of a father to Tim than he has been to Damian. It’s superhero brother against superhero brother — that’s the best kind of drama you can find.

I have to be honest — when Damian Wayne was first introduced, I hated the character. I’ve always loved Batman and the entire legacy that the franchise has built up. When Damian was introduced by Grant Morrison as Bruce’s “more or less” offspring, I found it rather arrogant of Mr. Morrison to do so. So many comic book superheroes have found out that they are fathers, and to me, it’s just a stupid storyline. Any good writer can make a seemingly lame character useful, but why even bother giving someone a son — especially out of wedlock? We have Aquaman with Koryak. We have Green Arrow with Connor Hawke. We have Wolverine with Daken.

I could go on and on. And now Bruce Wayne has Damian? What? Three wards — with one of them becoming his official son — wasn’t enough? I guess not. And not only that, but just as he introduced Damian, Morrison pretty much locks him into the future of Batman with issue #666 (which takes place in the future) where Damian has taken over the Batman cowl in the future.

My point is this: for the longest time, the concept of Damian Wayne irritated me. I just couldn’t help but feel it was Morrison’s way of trying to make a Robin “cool” and “gritty”.

But I think was wrong.

Reading his Batman & Robin series, I’ve seen the concept of a lighthearted Batman and a shadowy Robin work — and it does. Damian definitely is an interesting character, and I think it’s really cool that we have this brooding boy who wants nothing more than to fit in as the boy wonder. He WANTS so badly to be Robin. He respects Dick Grayson as Batman. It only makes sense that he would see Tim as a rival considering it is his older brother.

I realize I’m going off topic a bit, but where I’m leading to is that I’m finally starting to see the appeal of a character like Damian, and through writers like Morrison (and especially Nicieza) I see this character evolve.

Red Robin #14 really dives into the brother relationship of Tim and Damian, and it’s something I was wanting to see for a long time.

Overall — I give Red Robin #14 an “A”. I love this series. I was quite upset with Chris Yost left, but Fabian has not let me down yet. I like the direction the series is going in and I think this is a really intriguing first storyline that should help build Tim into the Red Robin identity even more-so than before.

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