So, as I stated last week I’ve actually been breaking down a little bit more in consideration of purchasing some books from the Big Two, but mostly from DC. Even though the release of this new series was actually a month ago today, one of the books I eventually did end up purchasing was We Are Robin. This comic is written by Lee Bermejo with art by Jorge Corona, Rob Haynes, and Khary Randolph, and I have to start by saying that the stunning visuals and the unique concept for this new story are what really drew me into purchasing this book. While the reveals for DC’s cinematic universe are what initially got me interested in buying a few of their comics, I understand that this particular series is a completely new spin on a classic Batman character and most likely won’t fall into any main stories or generate even an animated film, but it may still be worth the bucks I spent on it depending on how it progresses.
The story begins with Duke Thomas engaged in a fight on a public basketball court with several other teens over a girl. In the first few pages we learn that Duke is orphaned, extremely athletic, somewhat of a delinquent and an adrenaline junkie. After police are called to break up the fight, Duke is brought to his social service worker, who is less than pleased with his continued delinquent behavior. The audience soon learns that prior to the opening of this story Duke’s parents were affected by the release of a “Joker toxin” that apparently drove many people in the city mad, and while Batman rescued Duke among others and resolved the crisis, those affected are now missing, possibly living in shelters or sewers with lingering effects from the poison. Soon after meeting with the social worker, Duke is placed in a new home, unaware that a group is watching him and tracking his movements in shadow. Displeased with his new living arrangements and convinced that he can find his parents faster than the police can, Duke sneaks out to check the Gotham sewers where he finds an underground cult of sorts who are being rallied by their leader in preparation to storm the city aboveground. When Duke is identified as an outsider, members of the group attack him, but the group of teens who were observing him, all bearing the symbol and claiming the moniker of “Robin”, quickly come to his rescue.
I actually have to applaud DC, or DC YOU, in their new rebranding strategy. While it is pointed out that the Marvel Universe is doing the same revamping with the Secret Wars event to do away with the old superhero models and stereotypes, I feel that DC really took a big step with this series alone. There is a diverse cast of teenaged heroes and this series is really changing the old “sidekick” that we are used to seeing paired with Batman. Seeing the potential of this series, it’s obvious why it is described as a cross between V for Vendetta and The Dark Knight Returns (I personally would also like to point out Kick-Ass 2), as we get to see an army of young heroes inspired to defend their city by one vigilante. It actually would have made this book an excellent spin-off had the Sons of Batman from The Dark Knight Returns actually declared themselves as the “Army of Robins” or something along those lines. The second issue of this series has recently been released and after reading an exclusive interview from Lee Bermejo himself and seeing the profiles for the main cast of heroes, I just might continue to buy these books.