Robin has reached the end of the big Lazarus Tournament that Joshua Williamson has built the first story arc of the series around. The final match of the tournament saw Connor Hawke defeat Damian Wayne. This led to Mother Soul summoning a demon from the Lazarus Pit to take over Connor Hawke’s body. With an unstoppable demon unleashed on the world things are not looking good for Damian and the rest of the fighters on Lazarus Island. Let’s see how this story progresses with Robin #9.
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Roger Cruz
Inker: Norm Rapmund
Colorist: Luis Guerrero
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Damian Wayne attempts to fight off the Lazarus demon that Mother Soul summoned to take over Connor Hawke’s body. The demon quickly defeats and knocks Damian out.
In this state Damian apologizes to Alfred Pennyworth. Alfred’s spirit appears and talks to Damian about what Bruce Wayne’s first step in becoming Batman was. Damian retells his father’s origin up to forming the original Dynamic Duo. Alfred says none of that was Bruce’s first step. He goes on to say that Bruce’s first step in becoming Batman was ringing a bell to ask for help.
Suddenly a loud bell is heard ringing on Lazarus Island. As this captures everyone’s attention Damian gets back up and paints a domino mask on his face and his Robin symbol on his chest with his own blood. Robin then rallies all of the Lazarus Tournament participants to fight with him against Mother Soul and the Lazarus demon with a motivating speech.
Robin splits everyone in two groups with himself, Rose Wilson, Flatline, Black Swan, XXL, and Drenched teaming up to take on the Lazarus demon. Robin is able to coordinate everyone to maximize their strengths. Then with Respawn’s additional help the group is able to kill the Lazarus demon.
While Rose goes to wake up Connor, Mother Soul is pissed that Damian ruined her plans. She decides to teach her great-grandson a lesson by hitting Damian with a green fire.
Once the green fire dissipates Damian is surprised to find himself in the middle of the dessert. Damian is then surprised when a young version of Ra’s Al Ghul appears in front of him. End of issue.
The Good: The sense of escalation throughout the Lazarus Tournament has been handled extremely well. You get the sense that Joshua Williamson is constantly building up the arc to have as meaningful of a conclusion for this arc in Damian Wayne’s life. Robin #9 was no different as we saw Damian push forward with a big realization.
Opening up with Damian still being his overconfident self was a smart call. Even in defeat Damian still believed himself to be the best on Lazarus Island. Williamson used this as the final trigger to make Damian realize that he can’t continue his solo act. There have been too many instances for Damian to continue to ignore it just because of his own ego.
This made the meaning of Alfred Pennyworth’s spirit having been established earlier in this series so important. Alfred appearing wasn’t just for plot convenience. This was to conclude a story that started way back in the City of Bane as Damian continued to haunt him. Taking what Damian felt was haunting him and turning it into a positive as Alfred’s spirit showed Damian that asking for help wasn’t a sign of weakness but strength was a great way to honor Alfred. Tying this into Bruce’s Batman origin further drives home how Damian and his father aren’t all that different.
Damian rising up and giving a motivational speech to rally everyone around him certainly felt like his biggest moment as Robin. Unlike his time on the Teen Titans, this speech and his command of the other Lazarus Tournament fighters felt like the first time he was living up to the legacy of Robin leading the next generation of heroes. This is a role we’ve seen Dick Grayson and Tim Drake in the past. Now it is Damian’s turn to fully take on what being Robin represents. Having him paint his mask and Robin symbol with his own blood further drove home how he was doing all this as Robin not just the son of Bruce and Talia or grandson of Ra’s Al Ghul.
This turn of events worked in well with how it was the one thing that Mother Soul never expected to happen. Like all good villains Mother Soul became so confident in her victory that when the hero of the story is able to turn things around in an unexpected way it damages her ego. That is what happened in Robin #9 and made Mother Soul’s rage that she unleashed on her grandson a great way to deliver an unexpected twist ending.
It’ll be interesting with this time travel twist as Damian meets a young version of Ra’s Al Ghul is what this will mean for the rest of the arc. Leaving the reader wondering what is next is always a tricky thing as it could’ve been to out of nowhere. But the way Williamson has handled this entire story you trust that with this final twist that there are big plans that will payoff in a satisfying way.
Roger Cruz stepped in well to continue the energetic art style that this Robin series has been known for. Cruz artwork gave the proper weight to what the spirit of Alfred was going to tell Damian. Then the action was all well-choreographed that showcased everyone’s fighting ability and Damian’s rise as a leader there was a coordination in this team-up.
The Bad: Nothing
Overall: Robin #9 was another strong entry in one of DC Comics most consistently well written and drawn series. The arc that Damian Wayne has been on got a payoff as he stepped up as Robin to show his leadership qualities. The twist ending in Robin #9 was enough of a surprise that keeps you guessing on how exactly this Lazarus Tournament story will conclude.
To comment on this article and other Comic Book Revolution content visit our Facebook page, Twitter feed and Instagram. You can catch up with all of Kevin’s thoughts about comics, anime, TV shows, movies and more over on Twitter. You can also watch the fun and silly videos Kevin is making over on his TikTok.