Robin Issue 4 Review: “Training Day with Ra’s al Ghul”

Robin Issue 4

Robin issue 4 picks up where the previous issue left off. Connor Hawke who first appeared to be friendly with Damian threw him off a cliff. At the last moment, he was saved before hitting the rocks and waves below. Ra’s al Ghul has something to do with the rescue, but what is his angle? What does he want from Damian?

There will be some spoilers below.

Robin issue 4While Robin issue 4 does not have much in the way of action, the plot moves along with only more mysteries and questions. What is the League of Lazarus truly looking to accomplish? What secrets are they keeping and what are they hiding from the contestants of the tournament? Why was the League of Lazarus kept from Damian? According to Ra’s there is a lot that Damian doesn’t know about their family’s past. Will Damian get the answers to any of these questions? Will he solve these mysteries?

Robin issue 4 begins with a full page of the Shoujo manga that Damian has been writing. I was happy to see that again since it was something we didn’t see in the third issue. These manga panels are a dream though because Robin himself shows up in a panel in a terrifying way. I continue to firmly believe that the manga panels in this series give us insight into Damian’s mind.

Damian wakes up because his pet dragon, Goliath is licking his face. Damian hasn’t seen Goliath in quite some time, so they have a cute and brief reunion before Damian leaves the tent he woke up in to look for answers. He encounters his grandfather, Ra’s al Ghul, whom he is not at all happy to see. Ra’s tries to warn Damian against competing in the tournament. He says, “No good can come from you being in that tournament.” But Damian isn’t willing to listen. “After everything you’ve done to me. My Father. My Mother. Who are you to give me any life advice?!”

Back on Lazarus Island, Ravager notices that Robin is missing and attempts to find him. No one has seen him since the party on the beach. When she tries to question Connor, he ignores her. When Rose is unable to find Damian after some time, she goes off to a cave by herself to try to communicate with someone. Unfortunately, Respawn shows up and calls her out on trying to being in communication with someone on the outside.

On Ra’s al Ghul’s island, Damian finally sees his window of opportunity to leave, pulling a “Batman” on his grandfather by leaving quickly and without a sound. He doesn’t even leave any footprints in the sand. Impressive! But now Damian has even more questions than answers and just who is tailing him?

It’s obvious that writer Joshua Williamson is truly writing a hero’s journey for Damian that is full of self-discovery. Damian may like Shoujo manga, but his story is quite a bit more Shonen in style. At least for now anyway. As with the previous issue, Williamson excels at not just action, but exposition as well. He makes the reader not just care about the story, but the individual characters too. We get insight into who they are and what their motivations are.

The artist for this issue is Jorge Corona. (Gleb Melnikov did the cover art and will be back on interiors for issue 5.) Jorge does an excellent job of keeping with the overall feel of the previous issues of the comic. This looks like Shonen manga. It looks straight out of a fighting game. His characters are expressive and full of life. And Jorge is also apparently responsible for the design of what many people on Twitter call “attractive Ra’s al Ghul.”

Robin issue four gives us more questions than answers. To me, it looks like it’s promising us some insight into the al Ghul family history. I think we will learn more about not only Damian’s family but Damian as well while he discovers more about himself. Plus, with a certain someone dying their first death mid-issue, that means that the Lazarus Tournament has now truly begun!

Overall, I found Robin issue 4 to be mysterious and intriguing. I’m looking forward to seeing Damian’s story progress. It’s certainly a process! I think my only real complaint is that all of these issues are just plain too short! Also, I’m super excited to see how Damian interacts with the group of people who caught up to him at the end of the issue. I definitely 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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