Robin continues this week with a bridge issue to Shadow War, but there are still some loose ends to wrap up. Robin #11 wrapped up a few, but this week, Robin must come to grips with who his family is and consider whether bringing Alfred back to life is a good decision. With more confidence than ever and some actual friends (and maybe even a love interest), will Robin make peace with family, or continue to rage?
This issue opens with Robin still on Lazarus Island reflecting on the past before Hawke sneaks up behind him. It appears he’s sneaking, but they’re actually somewhat friends now. In a fun full-page splash, we see Green Arrow and Batman looming large over Hawke and Robin as if to show the younger generation were able to figure it out when their parents couldn’t. There’s hope for Robin now that he’s figured out how to open up and trust others.
From there, Josh Williamson explores Robin’s inner pain surrounding his family. Still reeling from Alfred’s death, he heads to Gotham to use Lazarus Resin to bring back the one person who ever truly cared for him. This leads to a great showdown that uses the classic trope of a hero fighting himself. This plays up the action while building towards a confrontation you might not see coming. With Batman out of the picture for so long, it’s clear Robin may be influenced to go in a different direction with those who influence him.
The most important thing about this issue that works is that it feels earned and believable. Roger Cruz draws a hell of an action scene, which forces Robin to act at the moment and reflect through the dialogue of what is going on. The dialogue in general works well here throughout the issue and it feels true to each character. Cruz also does well to convey the dismay and hurt Damian is feeling, further making him relatable. There’s also a fight scene in the rain that adds energy to the scenes as water flicks off the characters.
Adding to this is a weird yet endearing scene that plays up the colorful and off-color nature of Flatline. As if to say Williamson isn’t done using the character, there’s a cliffhanger that should be fun to see how things play out. If it wasn’t obvious from this story arc, the al Ghul family is changed in big ways, especially in this issue. Like with all comics stories it may not last, but Williamson continues to push the family in new ways we rarely see.
Robin #12 is a good bridge issue to the next big story arc by focusing on Damian and his family. This series has revealed tons of new revelations around the family and it comes with possibly the biggest in this last chapter. All that, and Damian continues to develop and grow in ways that suit the character as becomes more mature. With new layers and complexities, Robin has made Damian Wayne even more worth investing in.
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