I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.
I read 6 comics last week: Grayson #9, We Are Robin #1, Superman #41, Marvel Zombies vs. Age of Ultron #1, Daredevil #16 and Batgirl #41.
The best comic I read last week was We Are Robin #1.
We Are Robin had some tough acts to follow in terms of navigating the terrain that is Post-Endgame Gotham City. It follows a re-tooled Batman, a continually strong Batgirl (excellent again this week, by-the-way) a very solid Detective Comics and a steadily improving Grayson (to say nothing of Robin: Son of Batman and Gotham Academy). That’s a lot to live up to, to be sure.
We Are Robin does so in much the same way these books have succeeded: by being different. Though there are some resonances of Marvel’s “The Carol Corps,” no one will argue that Carol Danvers has the cache of Robin. The two simply aren’t in the same league. The idea that many young people have banded together to fight crime in Gotham City as a platoon of Robins is a very cool one. I wonder how Damian Wayne will feel about this in the inevitable cross over.
I was not familiar with artist Jorge Corona before this issue. I would guess I am not alone in that. I would also guess that comic book readers are about follow his career with great interest. His work here is very good, a solid combination of cartoon-ish action and clear line work, the style has movement and energy and serves the story well. His characters are distinct and recognizable and he has good panel composition. He’s a good compliment to the title.
Writer Lee Bermejo is a rookie here, far better known for his realistic renderings of comic book characters, like the very cool cover to We Are Robin #1, than for his writing (a quick aside about that cover – his Duke doesn’t look much like Corona’s Duke, but that’s a minor quibble). He hits all the bases in this issue one and lays a solid foundation for stories to come. As this is a book about teenagers, Bermejo is smart as he opens up some storylines specific to them, like high school bullying and the foster care system. What he will say about those things in issues to come remains to be seen, but I enjoyed where things began here. I also liked his take on Duke and what’s become of him since Endgame. He’s clearly meant for great things in the DC Universe – a future history showed him as the only Robin – and Bermejo has a good handle on him. I also liked his re-imagined Leslie Tompkins, though I think that this rewrite makes it impossible that she sheltered a young Bruce Wayne once-upon-a-time.
We Are Robin was a great issue and one that has me looking forward to the second installment as well as the rest of the series.