Robin is a fun, gorgeous, brutal, colorful character-driven series that showcases its full love for all of the characters and every part of the Batman world that it touches. Damian Wayne’s latest series is a character and world-defining series that will resonate for years to come.
After months of build-up, including lots of brutal and hard fights as well as some great character moments, the Lazarus tournament has formally begun.
Right from the beginning of this series, Joshua Williamson, Gleb Melnikov, and Troy Peteri (with colorist Luis Guerrero joining along the way) have not shied away from the fun and cliché nature of any fighting tournament-style story. This is clear within this issue as well as right from page one we were dropped into a space that showcases several brutal, and in the case of Damian super short, fights for these deadly fighters that have been awaiting this moment.
Melnikov, Guerrero, and Peteri go all out through the issue but especially so at the beginning and through all the action scenes of the books. The double-page spread with bone borders full of brutal fights with colorful and varied SFX is perfection. It’s a montage scene in vivid comic book color format, the type that reminds us just how fun and amazing comic books can be. You can’t help but have fun when one of those panels has twins facing off and the SFX declares ‘Twin Fight!’’
The action, including the brutal portions, are well defined and have a fun air to them that stands alongside the brutality. At the same time, none of the pages or panels becomes routine, as Melnikov eschews all standard paneling in order to do what works best for the moment. Whether that means tons of white space usage and characters existing outside the panels or panels within panels, it all works and adds so much to the series. Damian doesn’t play by given rules, and the best kind of art does the same.
Melnikov colored himself in the first issue, but the addition of Guerrero brings a similar look with even more bright pops to it. Brighter but also still residing with the shadows and darkness that comes with this sort of story, straddling the lines in the smoothest of ways. There are so many gorgeous and striking colorful character shots that fill these pages. In fact, there is one with the final 8 competitors that is amazing and would be awesome to have as a poster or print to put up on the wall.
As mentioned above, Peteri has a lot of room to really use every tool in his lettering box when it comes to the plethora of SFX that dot these pages. They are colorful with personalities, as they bring visual life to the sounds in a way that we can’t help but ‘hear’ them. At the same time, none of the dialogue from the characters looks the same, minor changes and shifting emphasis is given to make sure you always know just which character is speaking. Also, the fact that any mentioned fighter has their own logo nameplates when mentioned is freaking fantastic.
Action is important, but the heart of this book is the character moments and development that has occurred in just these few issues. Damian and Flatline bounce off one another so well, this issue giving us some intriguing glimpses into her past, forming an interesting quartet when Ravager and Hawke are thrown back into the mix. A character like Respawn often can become a bit grating to fans as their identity stays a mystery for months or years on end, but Williamson makes it work by making the character more and more intriguing as time goes on.
Even the mystery of who Mother Soul is and what the League of Lazarus is really up to is super engaging alongside the more video game/fight tournament trappings. Through these six issues, Williamson has shown such care and love to the overall mythos and characters, big and small, tied to the Bat-line as a whole. This bodes quite well for the fact that he’ll soon be taking over the main Batman series come the end of the year.
Robin #6 is now on sale in print and digitally from DC Comics.