Robin’s penultimate issue returns the series to where it began in many ways by showcasing all the character, heart, and deep moments that made it such a delightful series to follow. Damian’s future isn’t quite clear at this point with the series about to end, and an upcoming mini, but this series has put him on such a great trajectory as he’s been developed more as a character than he has been in quite some time.
With the Shadow War over and the cold war between his parents mostly dealt with (for the moment), Damian Wayne has a few final loose ends to deal with before the end of his current solo title and before he heads off to take on his father in Batman vs Robin in September.
This is a series that has gone through quite a few genre/focus changes in its short life but has managed to maintain the same fun energy and character development ideal through almost the whole run (the crossover issues were a different beast). In some ways, this is Joshua Williamson tidying up a few loose ends as well as setting some things up for what comes next for some characters but done in a way that is still a delight to read. Some creators can take the checklist-like stories and make them some of the most fun comics.
It’s a giant shame that we’re not going to get like a whole series that is about Damian and Connor and others existing on this island and finding their way as they try to start new lives. I hope we see tons more of Robin and Hawke teaming up, and hopefully, Flatline continues to appear somewhere, as they are a great duo bouncing off each other. Sons of superheroes, both trying to atone for their sins and find their way in the world after tragedies and issues.
Roger Cruz, Norm Rapmund, and Luis Guerrero do fantastic work as usual and get to really showcase a variety of settings, characters, and concepts in this issue that bounces around quite a bit. There are a lot of great action sequences or back-and-forth talking pages, but one of the things that really always stand out is the great emotion-focused closeups of characters. From the slowly decaying dream Respawn to Damian slowly waking up to the end with Lord Death Man and Mother Soul. These are panel sequences of closeups that allow us to travel through the formation of a character’s emotions or feeling in the moment and they are so good.
Bright colors are popping, especially in the island and Tokyo sequences, but there are also still plenty of shadows and toned-down tones added to keep the story fun but heavy at the same time. Last issue there was a note in my review about loving how authentic night felt, and here the same can be said of the scenes with Lord Death Man, Hawke, and Robin in the temple where the villain is being kept. We can see the colors of the costumes but the number of shadows and the darkness it creates around them is authentic in the heavy darkened feeling and that just adds so much to what is going on.
Colorful fun but also a lot of seriousness is the heart of this series, and it’s even felt in the lettering still handled by Troy Peteri. Lots of colors are added to speech bubbles such as Lord Death Man’s black bubbles or the use of larger/smaller fonts to really showcase when a character is being louder or softer in their speech. Along with all those fun colorful varieties of SFX that not only appear on a page but make themselves heard and felt every single time in the best way possible. I mean how can you not like a speech bubble just filled with bright red “?!” to showcase Damian’s surprise at Flatline’s appearance.
Comic books are fun and the ones that remember that with the colorful outlandish fun elements often are the best ones.
Robin #16 is now available from DC Comics.