Robin Issue 1 Review: “Versus the World”

Robin Issue 1

Robin issue 1 finds son of Batman, Damian Wayne on a new mission. After a fallout with his father and a brief meeting with his mother where Damian learns about the League of Lazarus, Damian decides to head out on his own. His goal? To prove that he is the greatest fighter in the world!

There will be some spoilers below.

Robin issue 1 is the continuation of a story that started in the backstories of Batman #106 and Detective Comics #1034. But, if you have not read those stories you will not be completely lost as we the reader know as much about the tournament and Lazarus League as Damian does. However, reading the two-part pre-story to this comic will give you a fuller picture of what’s going on, and honestly, Gleb Melnikov’s art is too good to pass up!

Robin issue 1 begins with Batman, Nightwing, Robin (Tim Drake), Spoiler, Black Bat, and Oracle searching for Damian. Damian is smart though. If he doesn’t want to be found, he’s not going to make it easy. Bruce knows that he’s made mistakes with Damian and that Damian is not always easy to deal with. He knows Damian can take care of himself, but that doesn’t mean he should have to. That’s right Bruce; Damian is 14! Find your child!

Needless to say, Damian has gone off the grid and is looking for answers about the League of Lazarus, something that both his parents had kept from him. He first faces the King Snake who is Bane’s father. Damian takes him out easily. Winning that fight along with passing a more personal trial provides him with a token he needs in order to enter the League of Lazarus Tournament.

Damian remains cocky as he encounters more of the contenders entered into the tournament. He is totally confident in his abilities as a fighter. He was raised and taught by the best after all. But, does Damian truly know what he’s getting into? Ravager who is also in the tournament tries to warn him that maybe there’s more to this than he knows, but Damian doesn’t listen. All of this leads to a very surprising ending! I know I didn’t see it coming.

Robin issue 1 is written by Joshua Williamson. It is very clear that Williamson loves Damian as a character and is looking to take him on an important journey. He understands that Damian isn’t just a bratty kid as so many choose to see him. He is noble, brave, kind, and full of heart. People just need to look beyond his prickly exterior. Also, with this comic we now know that Damian reads Shoujo manga! Something tells me the book he is reading will reflect what he is about to go through.

The art is done by Gleb Melnikov. I honestly can’t say enough good things about his work. He’s been sharing snippets of his art for this comic on his Twitter for months now and I was excited to see the final product. It doesn’t at all disappoint. Melnikov’s style works so well for the Robin comic. His design for Robin’s new costume fits Damian’s personality and just plain looks cool. Melnikov’s art is reminiscent of Japanese comics and totally fits with the overall tournament theme. Plus, everything he draws is such a pleasure to look at.

I would be remiss if I did not comment on Troy Peteri’s lettering. Everything is so dynamic and fun. His letters make it obvious that this is a fighting themed comic. And kudos to the style change during the manga portion. Manga lettering is different in style to American comics and I was happy to see that reflected here.

Robin is already turning out to be such a fun comic. My initial reaction right after reading was, “Robin #1 is just so… cool. It’s great. I love it!” As someone who grew up watching hundreds of episodes over the various Dragon Ball series and playing way too many hours of Tekken in college, this comic was so up my alley.

It’s also very reminiscent of Mortal Kombat and I think it would be enjoyable to people who like playing fighting games in general. It’s a great mash-up of fighting games and martial arts anime and manga that works so perfectly for a character like Damian Wayne’s Robin.

I highly recommend picking up Robin issue 1. It’s such a fun comic that is truly enjoyable to read with a killer cliffhanger. You’re definitely going to keep wanting to read this series and I know I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Author: Jessica Rae

Jessica has a BA in music with an emphasis in voice and spends her day typesetting, editing, writing, and moderating webinars. Jessica primarily reviews anime and comic book series. She also offers insights on various movies, books, games, and other geeky topics.


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