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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 8 comics last week: Cyborg #5, Star Wars #13, Action Comics #47, All New All Different Avengers #2, Robin War #1, Doctor Strange #3, Invincible Iron Man #4 and Batman and Robin Eternal #9.
The best comic I read last week was Robin War #1.
Tom King knows how to write Dick Grayson. Anyone reading Grayson understands this. He gets the character and he has completely nailed the voice, motivation and spirit of Grayson, one of the oldest of all the DC characters. It cannot be particularly easy to write a character with a history spanning over 75 years in terms of doing something new and unique with it. King manages this feat month-in-and-month-out in the Grayson title.
Fantastically and not surprisingly, King’s facility with the former Robin carries over to this first issue of Robin War, a story line that will run though all the “Robin” associated titles this month.
He accomplishes a lot in this issue, clearly laying out the stakes of the story while constructing set pieces that feature all of the current and former Robins. It’s a lot to juggle – Tim Drake, Jason Todd, Damien Wayne, the current “We Are Robin” crew – but King handles it brilliantly and manages to also tie in the terrific Court of Owls as antagonists.
King has set up a story with great potential and I hope that the subsequent issues playing out throughout the month meet this high bar. The cliffhanger gives me hope that we may see a certain character return… I am excited to see if that teased conclusion is where we’re headed.
If Robin War suffers from anything, it suffers from an inevitable comparison with Batman and Robin Eternal, a weekly series also in publication right now. Though I personally cannot get enough of the Robins, I do kind of wish these stories were more spread out.