Every battle has its spoils, but where are Robin and his new friend’s spoils after the Lazarus Tournament? Given Damian’s father and mother have shown up to smack his grandmother down (it’s a long story — you should read this series!), there’s little time to relax and celebrate. That said, if you stay till the end there are certainly some festivities to be had!
Josh Williamson and Gleb Melkinov join forces for Robin #11 in a way that feels like the end of the story arc. That’s not actually the case, but the idea of Lazarus Island and everything Robin discovered over the last ten issues do come to a head. This issue opens where we left off as Ra’s Al Ghul and his daughter Talia are very unhappy with Ra’s mother’s recent tournament. She hoped to awaken a demon creature that’d take over the world. Family, am I right?
This issue gives readers payoff after Damian went from loner on a mission to bonding with other heroes, and some villains, who were brought to the island to fight. Master Dusk has run off and they set out to capture him. This is where the issue works the best, checking in with these younger characters, establishing new status quo, revelations, and the like. Damian and Flatline might have the biggest turn, but there’s also a major cliffhanger that’ll have jaws on the floor.
Speaking of, that moment is part of a celebratory scene that feels very earned. Williamson has put these characters through the wringer in this series and it’s nice to see characters let their hair down. It’s also wild to see a character like Ra’s Al Ghul have a tiki drink.
Customary of Melkinov’s style, this book features an impressive fight scene with Damian and his new friends all taking part. The layout structure is mismatched and chaotic, adding to the frenzy of the moment. The look of Ra’s is also appreciated as he has a Cool Dad vibe with his long hair and relaxed nature. He’s a far less evil mastermind and more zen master, here. There are plenty of nice touches throughout, like Hawke easily jumping up a building, or a killer full-page splash of Ra’s pointing a knife at Damian and his grandmother, with Ra’s reflection appearing in the blade. Costuming throughout is impressive as well, from Damian’s sleek shirtless look to Talia’s embroidered outfit.
One gripe with this issue is how janky the plotting can feel with scene changes and snap decisions made. Characters rush off, the plot can cut drastically to another set of characters, and so on. It keeps the pace up, but focusing on one story at a time would benefit each plot. There’s some effort in one scene to show how two characters end up alone, but it still throws off the general buildup of the issue.
Robin #11 is a solid transitional issue to the next story arc. It closes the door on a few elements and drops a cliffhanger on readers that suits Robin’s emotional story and also connects to bigger stories elsewhere in the DCU. Well drawn, great action, and meaningful character moments continue to reign supreme in Robin.
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