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Title: Robin: A Hero Reborn
Series: Batman/Robin #3
Author: Chuck Dixon & Alan Grant
Artist: Norm Breyfogle & Tom Lyle
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Format: Paper Edition
Tim Drake has been helping out Batman after the death of Tim’s mother and his father’s incapacitation by poison at the hand of the Obea Man. Batman refuses to allow Tim to don the Robin costume and tells Tim that disobediance in that regard will be where their partnership ends. Batman is dealing with with random people putting on skull masks and then committing crimes of whim. He tracks down the mastermind but is captured by the Scarecrow and subjected to several of his potions. Tim figures out what is going on and decides that he has to help Batman even if it means he can’t ever be Robin. Tim saves Batman and Vicki Vale and Batman realizes and acknowledges that Tim IS capable of being the next Robin. A new suit is revealed and Tim becomes the next Robin.
Though his detective skills are up to snuff, the physical side of things aren’t as well taken care off so Tim heads off to France to train under the last surviving Sensei of a martial art. While out one evening he sees a girl being harassed by a gang and tries to intervene. He gets his butt kicked, badly. He tracks them down and ends up rescuing Clyde Rawlins, a rogue DEA agent who is after the killers of his family. The gang leads back to Edmund Dorrance, aka the King Snake, the most dangerous man in the world, at least according to Lady Shiva.
Robin takes some street brawling lessons from Rawlins, finds out that Dorrance has gotten ahold of some manmade Bubonic Plague and plans to release it in Hong Kong so the mainland Chinese will get nothing when they take over Hong Kong in a few years. Lady Shiva is involved because she wants to pit herself against the King Snake. Robin takes some lessons from Shiva as well and eventually all 3 of them head to Hong Kong. They assault Dorrance’s HQ where the plague is stored and stop it from being released. Rawlins’ dies at the hands of the King Snake and Robin fights against him as well. Shiva has been playing a long game and tries to turn Robin into a killer and make him her protege, hence one-upping Batman. Robin refuses to murder Dorrance, so Shiva tosses Dorrance off of a 50story building.
Robin returns to Gotham and stops the gang that has transported all of Dorrance’s fortunes. He cleans house and Batman tells him he did a good job and that he’s truly ready to be Robin now.
Before I actually review anything. Buying books is dangerous. When I reviewed the 2 previous Batman/Robin books, I thought that I didn’t own them so I read them in digital format. Well, when I went to pick this volume off of my shelf, low and behold, I saw that I DID own them. Sigh. I didn’t buy it from Amazon, as it’s not in my order history, so I’m guessing I bought it some time with a Barnes&Noble giftcard some Christmas. I just can’t remember. So beware your bookshelves, they might have hidden surprises!!!
There is a quote from Clyde Rawlins that I feels sums this book up perfectly:
“But this is getting too freaky. Killer bimbo’s, nazi plague bombs…
…I feel like I’m living out a National Enquirer headline.”
This was released soon after Jason Todd’s death, as it was felt that Batman really did need a sidekick. So this is chockful of the 90’s. The proto-EU is talked about, the ChiCom’s takeover of Hong Kong, the styles, it was all good! I’m not sure how a young person of today would view that, or if it would just be something they pass over. But for me, it was a good trip down memory lane.
Now, that being said, I was probably 14 or 15 when I originally bought this Robin graphic novel and the next. I can see why I liked it so much. However, since I’ve changed just a little bit since then (my 40th is coming up this year) my outlook has a bit more perspective to it now. The whole training thing? Packing 3 different styles in doesn’t take weeks, it would take years. In comics, that is how it works though, but it was pretty obviously a “flaw” to me this time around. The billionaire blind super martial artist schtick was also on the gimmicky side.
However, I still really liked this. Tim Drake is a careful, introspective teenager who thinks before he reacts and plans as much as he can for the unknown. He doesn’t allow himself to be overcome by his emotions and doesn’t allow vengeance to be his driving force. In short, he is everything that a sidekick of the Batman needs.
The whole coloring side of things worked for me as well. I’m a big fan of bright and splashy costumes and the yellow and greens and reds were outstanding in the new suit. And thankgoodness no more short pants for Robin! It was very much a complimentary suit to Batman’s in regards to what it was capable of.
This was a fun, fast paced adventure of the new Robin coming into his own. I’d highly recommend it to teens and recommend it to any fan of the Robins if they wanted a history lesson.