Friday, March 27, 2020

Comic Book Review - Robin 80th Anniversary 100-page Spectacular

I've been a fan of Robin since I first saw him star with Batman in their Saturday Morning Cartoon adventures. I collected the issues with Tim Drake becoming the third Robin and followed his three mini-series and solo series for several years. And now he's 80. He still looks like he's in his 20s. Why can't I age as well?

Robin 80th Anniversary 100-page Spectacular is a one-shot comic featuring several Robins over the years with stories by many different teams. It is available as a comic with several variant covers and as an eBook. It is appropriate for most ages.

The Good

A Little Nudge. This story explores Robin as he literally leaves the nest of Wayne Manor to go out on his own. Marv Wolfman and Tom Grummett write and draw a very classic tale in a very classic style. There's nothing stand out here as it plays out exactly as you expect it too, but for those who like their classic Robin, this is your cup of tea.

Aftershocks. This story is a brief incident during the Cataclysm story line that preceded No Man's Land. Chuck Dixon and Scott McDaniel write and draw like they're still on the original Nightwing title in 90s, so for those who were reading comics then, this will be a nice trip back to the past.

Team Building. This story features Nightwing leading The Titains fighting bad guys and makes a pretty obvious statement about team building and leadership. The art is very stiff.

The Lesson Plan. This story features Dick Grayson as Agent 37 during his Grayson faze. It's basically a long fight scene where Dick shares the lessons he learned from Bruce with his newest partner. The contrast and parallels are well done. The art is not the best.
More Time. This story features Jason Todd as Red Hood remembering a time when he was Robin and finishes something he started back then. The art is scratchy, but it fits the tone of the story.

Extra Credit. This story features Tim Drake in High School speaking with a guidance counselor about his future while contrasting it with his nighttime activities as Robin. This was my favorite story, because it does the best job of getting inside Robin's head and exploring him as a character in an everyday situation. The art was not my favorite style, but well done.

My Best Friend. This story features Damian writing a report about his friendship with Superman's son. The art and fight scene that make up the story are very weak and uninspired, but the narration and exploration of the Super Sons' friendship is really good and what saves this yarn.

The Bad

Boy Wonders. This story takes place in the present and features Tim Drake as Red Robin talking to each of the other past and current Robins for advice about what path his live should take. While the idea was good, the art and execution were very poor.

Fitting In. This story features Stephanie Brown, the least interesting of the Robins and is the weakest of the stories in concept, art, and storytelling. It basically shows her struggles to fit in as Robin and the problems she has with the suit and the legacy. Very prosaic, obvious, and disappointing.

Bat and Mouse. This story features Damian Wayne, Batman's son. The story basically shows the conflict between father and son and that there are secrets between the two. The art is weak. The writing tries too hard. The story doesn't succeed very well.

What I Would Like to Have Seen

Where was Carrie, the Robin from Dark Knight?


Robin 80th Anniversary 100-page Spectacular collects several stories from several different teams about several different Robins over the years. Being an anthology, there are some real gems and a few misses. The best stories are the ones that explore Robin as a person in an everyday situation. The art isn't the best, but there are a few stories that shine. I  recommend this book and give it 4 out of 5 eReaders.

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