The day is here. Joshua Williamson’s final issue of the latest Robin series has arrived. Williamson has done a lot of great work with how he has developed Damian Wayne in and out of being Robin throughout his run on this series. But with Williamson’s schedule being busy with Dark Crisis and other projects we knew he would likely be ending his run on Robin sooner rather than later. That point is here with Robin #17 being Williamson’s final issue. Let’s see how things turn out.
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Roger Cruz
Inker: Norm Rapmund
Colorist: Luis Guerrero
On Lazarus Island, Lord Death Man hands Mother Soul the Demon’s Heart. Mother Soul plans to use the heart to bring Devil Nezha to burn the world down. Before leaving Mother Soul gives Lord Death Man the power-up he wanted.
Robin, Flatline, Connor Hawke, Mara Al Ghul, and Batman of Japan track down the cave where Lord Death Man and Mother Soul were at. Out of the cave comes out a hulking Lord Death Man that quickly overpowers the group. With Flatline’s help, Robin is able to remove Lord Death Man’s heart, knowing he will resurrect.
Damian hears a voice coming from the cave but Flatline gets his attention to go have fun on the beach with the others.
At the end of the day, while reading his manga Damian is joined by Flatline. Nika calls out Damian for telling others she’s his girlfriend when he hasn’t even asked her out on a date. Damian says he wants to but must first figure out the mystery behind Lazarus Island.
While Damian sees Nika off Respawn is shown watching from deep in the forest.
Connor then talks with Damian, revealing he is going to go find Oliver Queen so they can have a father-son reunion. Damian says he is going to stick around the island as the people there are his family while figuring out who he is going to be moving forward with. End of series.
While Robin #17 acts as the final issue of this volume of the latest series starring the Boy Wonder it does not escape the trappings of trying to wrap up as much as possible. Given the nature of the story with Lord Death Man and Mother Soul, you could tell there was much more to this story. But because this series had to wrap with Robin #17 the ending got rushed to the point you feel Joshua Williamson needed one more issue to his run.
At its best Robin #17 shines when focusing on Damian Wayne’s friendship with Flatline, Connor Hawke, Mara Al Ghul, and Batman of Japan. Anytime these five characters are on screen together you see the magic that drove a lot of interest in this series. Even with all the great action sequences we got throughout this run at the heart of this series, it was about the personal relationships Damian built with his growing friend group.
The chemistry Williamson shows Damian Wayne, Flatline, Connor Hawke, Mara Al Ghul, and Batman of Japan all have together is great. Whether it’s with the banter they have together or when Roger Cruz has them work together in a fight against the hulked-up Lord Death Man the chemistry is a blast to read. That all makes the payoff of the group along with other Lazarus Island residents having fun together a nice way to reward fans of this series. There has been a bond built with all these participants of the Lazarus Tournament that opened the door for Damian to find a group of friends he truly connected with in a natural way.
Everything after the party works well to reset Damian’s character without doing away with what was built. Williamson leaves the door open for future writers to explore Damian and Nika having an actual relationship. Nika calling out Damian for not knowing the steps of a relationship is a good building block that I hope is picked up on in Batman vs Robin or another series starring Damian.
Similarly, Damian and Connor Hawke’s final words with each were a good send-off to this unexpected friendship that they built. Both characters have so many similarities in their position with the Batman and Green Arrow Families. Connor finally moving forward by going to look for his father is a story that deserves to be told to show what life was like in the days before Death Of the Justice League for Oliver Queen.
Where Robin #17 does falter is with the villain plot around Mother Soul and Lord Death Man. Lord Death Man was a one-dimensional villain that never got the chance to show depth. It is the result of the arc around Lord Death Man clearly being rushed. There is a feeling that there was so much potential left on the cutting room floor when it comes to Lord Death Man and Flatline. But because Williamson set Robin #17 to end his run that story just doesn’t appear to have happened, leading Lord Death Man to be a boring villain.
Similarly, Mother Soul’s whole motivation of bringing Devil Nezha back after we learned about him being locked up in the recent Batman/Superman: World’s Finest story fell flat. This was clearly more of a set-up for the upcoming Batman vs Robin event that is coming up. With Williamson not writing the Batman vs Robin story, this feels like building for a story we won’t get the intended payoff towards. Though I will say a teased return of Respawn does get me interested in what exactly is going on with this Lazarus Island mystery.
Roger Cruz delivers the high-quality artwork you expect from this series. Cruz does a great job actually making the characters look like teens which help amplify the friendship they have built with each other. The double-page spread with pictures of the fun everyone had on Lazarus Island is a great example of the strong artwork Cruz provided us to enjoy.
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Robin #17 is at its best when focusing on the friendships Damian Wayne has built over the course of Joshua Williamson’s run. It’s the strength in this aspect of Robin #17 that makes the rushed way the Lord Death Man and Mother Soul plot wrap up so disappointing. Maybe if we had one more issue the villain side for the final story in this volume of Robin then Williamson would’ve been able to deliver a stronger conclusion to his run on this series.
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10