Comic Book Review: Robin #150: One Year Later

I have never collected Robin before. I have enjoyed the character more and more over on the Teen Titans. However, it has never been enough to get me to try Robin’s solo title. Part of that is that my pull list is already very long. The other part is that Robin has not interested me much until lately with Geoff Johns writing him on the Titans. So, when I first saw all the glowing compliments about this title over on the Comic Bloc forums, I thought about checking it out, but was a bit hesitant. However, since there were so many people at Comic Bloc that were praising Robin I decided to pick up the OYL issues starting with Robin #148. Wow! Am I glad I got this title. Issues #148 and #149 were great! What about Robin #150? Let’s find out.

Creative Team
Writer: Adam Beechen
Artist: Freddie E. Williams II

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Total Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: The issue starts with Robin slinking his way through the sewer system in order to break into Blackgate Prison and free David Cain. Robin retells the story of the past few issues that the League of Assassins has left him a message to bring David Cain to Blasdell oil field.

Robin manages to slip past all of Blackgate’s rather impressive security defenses which were designed by Wayne Industries. Robin makes hi way to Cain’s cell and unlocks the cell door. Robin then knocks out Cain.

We cut to a fellow high school student of Tim’s named Zoanne. She is bummed with her first peer tutoring assignment. She drew Tim Drake. She calls him a loser new kid who almost never shows up for school and when he does he never opens his mouth.

We skip back to Robin having hogtied David Cain (That Robin. He can tie a hogtie. Over in the Titans, he carries handcuffs and cuffs Rose in his bed. Yeah, he digs the bondage scene.) Robin interrogates Cain and asks him “Where is Cassandra?” Cain claims to not know what Robin is talking about. Robin then punches out Cain and takes off for the oil field in the Batcopter.

We shift to Killa Nilla who is Robin’s snitch. He is approached by a shadowy figure that tells him to give Robin what appears to be a boomerang. The figure tells Killa Nilla to tell Robin that “I’m looking for him. He’ll know who it means.”

We then hop over to the Blasdell Oil Fields. Robin hops out of the Batcopter and tosses Cain, who is still tied up, to the ground. Suddenly Robin and Cain are surrounded by ninjas! (Yay! Ninjas! C’mon, who doesn’t like ninjas?) And we have a braaaaaawwl! But, it is very short and Robin ends up being subdued by the ninjas. The leader of the League of Assassins then steps forward and it is……Cassandra Cain! (Wow! Big swerve!) Tim is stunned. Cassandra then goes off on a big rant against her Dad. She is furious that her “father” had another “daughter”, Annalea, that he trained. Cassandra rants that there is no Batgirl anymore. No Annalea and soon no David Cain. There will just be Cassandra and Robin and their new life free from everything anyone ever did to them. Cassandra tells Robin that she turned the world against him to show him how fast everything he thought he could count on could be taken away. That there is no justice. Cassandra says that she took over the League of Assassins in order to bring the world some justice, their way. That together they will kill those that really deserve it.

Robin tries to reason with Cassandra by telling her that Batman and Oracle helped her and changed her. That she left all this behind. Cassandra rebuffs Robin telling him that she is a trained killer. She is what her father made her. That David Cain used her just like Batman is still using Robin. Robin retorts that he is not Batman’s puppet. Cassandra counters with why the ultimate loner superhero, who doesn’t trust his JLA teammates, needs a partner? Why a creature of the night would dress a little kid in bright colors and send him out against insane killers? That Batman does this to distract his enemies. To make his job as Batman easier. That Tim and all the other Robins have just been one more tool in his utility belt. Simply bait. (What a great rant. Excellent points.) Cassandra then tells Robin to take the final step and join the new League of Assassins. She puts a gun in Robin’s hand and tells him to kill David Cain and start their new future together. End of issue.

Comments

The Good: This was a great issue! I never thought I’d be digging a Robin comic book so much. This OYL storyline in Robin is what all comics should be like. Well paced, well constructed, full of mysteries, packing a couple of surprises and fun to read.

I think that Beechen is doing a fantastic job on Robin. Robin #150 kept the ball rolling and was even better than the previous two issues. I loved the little touches. Like while Tim is skulking through the sewer system he thinks to himself how glad he is that the uniform doesn’t force Robin to wear just briefs anymore. Great little touches like that make the comic book fun to read.

I enjoyed watching Robin break into Blackgate so he could show off just how resourceful he is.

The little scene with Tim’s new peer tutor, Zoanne, adds a little interesting storyline. We have been so focused on Robin, that we need some attention given to Tim and his development as a teenager. And part of that does include high school.

The scene where Robin interrogates David Cain and then punches him out after he can’t get any answer was well done. This scene does a great job illustrating how much more similar Tim is to Batman than say Dick Grayson. Tim has Batman’s attitude and anger in this scene. And like Batman, Tim isn’t shy about inflicting some pain.

The short scene with Killa Nilla was funny. I liked how what we saw in the panels shows a petrified and scared Killa Nilla when approached by the shadowy figure. Yet, the dialogue boxes told from Killa Nilla’s point of view portrays him as being tough and taking no crap from this stranger. Well done. And, of course, the boomerang means we shall be seeing the new Captain Boomerang soon. This should be a very interesting storyline. I can’t wait to see how these two sons react to each other with the fact that their fathers killed each other. This is going to be a very good storyline.

And of course the big hook in Robin #150 was the revelation that Cassandra Cain is the one who has been behind all of Robin’s misfortunes and that she is the new leader of the League of Assassins. Cassandra’s rant about how she has been treated by David Cain was well done. Yet, Cassandra’s rant about how Batman views and treats Robin was even better. That was excellent and it brought up many very valid points. I don’t think that she is very far off from the truth. And then asking Robin to kill David and join her as her partner was a great ending to this scene.

I really enjoyed this scene. I thought that Cassandra’s transformation made sense. She made a compelling explanation for why she has gone down this dark path. Personally, I have absolutely no problems with Batgirl now being a villain. However, it should be noted that I dislike any derivative characters. I don’t like any Superwoman or Supergirl. I don’t like any Batwoman or Batgirl. Spiderwoman or Spidergirl. The list goes on and on. Derivative heroes are lame. They have never interested me at all. Well, there is one exception: Superboy. I’m talking Kon-El. Connor was cool because he as 50% Lex Luthor. That was a neat twist. Therefore, I have never liked Batgirl or been interested in her character. However, Cassandra Cain as a villain? Now I’m interested! Now I like her character. She is her own person and I think she makes a great villain. DC has turned me on to a character that I have never liked before. Plus, I almost always enjoy when a hero turns into a villain. It provides for some excellent drama.

Now, I can totally understand why long time Batgirl/Cassandra Cain fans would be extremely upset by this turn of events. I can sympathize and fell your pain. However, look at the bright side. At least Batgirl did have her head blown off and then her body incinerated. For me, Cassandra becoming a villain totally works. But, I can understand why people may be upset with this new turn for her character.

I like Freddie Williams II’s artwork. Williams’ style is a little cartoonish for my tastes, but it is still some pretty solid artwork. Williams’ works with this comic and does give it an overall nice look.

What I do find interesting is that in Teen Titans, Robin is drawn looking like an 18 year old. Yet, in Robin, Williams draws him like he is 15. Interesting difference. I think I prefer the look of the 18 year old Robin in the Titans to this young Robin in this title.

The Bad: I have no complaints at all with Robin #150. I think this is a great comic book. It is well written. The story is tight and well paced. This OYL storyline is very entertaining. And above all, Robin is what many comic books should be: a fun read. I understand that Cassandra Cain/Batgirl fans will not be happy with this current storyline, but for those of us that don’t care, Robin #150 was a blast to read. Robin is definitely making it on to my pull list.

1 Comments

  1. You ought to preface the review with the fact that the Cassandra Cain in Robin in no way, shape or form resembles the one who had her own series for 73 issues, plus various minis and guest shots. The characterization is far and away the worst I have ever seen and the justification for her role as a villain is horrible.

    Worse, the thing was telegraphed a mile away. Only the people who thought ‘writer wouldn’t dare be that obvious!’ were surprised.

Comments are closed.