While most comic book fans will be paying attention to Secret Wars ending, there is another event ending today as well: ROBIN WAR!
Is it good?
Robin War #2 (DC Comics)
The Robin War event comes to a close here. Lincoln March makes his plans known. Robins fight the Talons. Damian apparently switches sides for some reason or another. Dick Grayson has a choice to make. What happens next?
Let’s cut to the chase here and get this out of the way: Robin War #2 is a bit of a letdown and as such, the entire mini-event feels like one as well. Story-wise, to its credit, the event does wrap everything up. There are no unintentional loose ends and the ending itself ends on a promising notes for other related titles like We Are Robin and with what happens to the Robin Movement. Also, given how it is presented and laid out, Robin War #2’s events do make sense and you can see how this would all play out. It’s overall a complete story from Point A to B and you don’t really need to read other series to understand this one (though it would help).
However, here’s where I found the story to be problematic: The villain’s plan relies on way too many coincidences, things playing out in a VERY specific manner, and planning that feels very contrived. Heck, even as the villain spells out/breaks down his plan point by point (in a rather awkward manner at that), it just doesn’t make that much sense in how they knew things would all work out exactly like they did. It’s very unbelievable, even in a comic with zombie assassins run by a group of people wearing owl masks. The ending also wraps things up a bit too neatly in areas, like with the councilwoman, and there are other small contrivances that don’t make sense — for instance, at the end, Grayson says no one believes the Court of Owls exist, despite all of the PUBLIC things they have done in the past few years, including unleashing armies of Talons in the streets of Gotham in plain sight. The story as a whole feels like it needed to go through a few draft phases to iron out these kinks.
Otherwise, Tom King’s writing is pretty strong for the most part. Most of characterization seems to be on point this time around, the pacing is good and everything flows well from panel to panel and page to page — and you can easily follow what it is happening. The only real big issue is when it comes to the dialogue; there are too many points where the monologuing and exposition dumping sounds very forced and awkward, especially when Lincoln starts talking. Then there’s the equally awkward and constant use of characters saying over and over “I am Robin” or some variation of it throughout the comic. The phrase is pretty cool and fits thematically, but its repetitive use throughout the comic makes it sound forced and unnatural (it’s especially bad in the final scenes of the book).
Putting that all aside, what really drags the comic down is the artwork. Like with the first issue of Robin War, this comic has a lot of artists working on it. In particular, we have seven artists and three colorists all contributing to this one issue and it causes many problems. No one’s artwork is consistent or has a similar style to anyone else’s in the book, scenes can abruptly switch to a different style with a flip of a page, tone and mood isn’t consistent in the scenes, and there’s wonky continuity all over the place with inconsistent colors and locations (seriously, a fight scene takes place outside of a school, then inside of it, then outside of it again without any bridging). Some of the artists by themselves are fine and put together some great pages, like Khary Randolph in the opening pages, but other artists are not as good and have difficulties drawing action or keeping the characters consistent looking from panel to panel. Sadly, Rob Haynes didn’t contribute or help with the breakdowns in this issue like he did in the previous one. It’s a shame, since he did a fantastic job last time and his work does tend to help bring out the best in the artists he’s working with.
Is It Good?
Robin War #2 is an event with a fun premise that ended up being a bit disappointing overall. While the ending has potential with where it leaves several of the characters, the rest of the comic leaves a lot to be desired. I was looking very much forward to this mini-event and seeing what Tom King could do, so it’s really sad to say all of this.