Monday, January 11, 2010

Comic Book Review: Red Robin #8

The Revolution has not been a big fan of Red Robin. Chris Yost does not seem to know what he wants this series to be. Though he has done a very good job writing Tim's character in the past two issues the overall plot is not moving the overarching story forward whatsoever, which was Tim's search for Bruce. It is very disappointing because even though Yost writing of Tim's character this title just lacks an identity in what it wants to be. Let's see if Red Robin #8 can turn things around for this title.

Creative Team
Writer: Chris Yost
Artist: Marcus To
Inker: Ray McCarthy
Colorist: Guy Major

Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: Four days ago in The Craddle Red Robin is looking through the League of Assassin's database with The Expediter and White Ghost standing behind him talking about him and how Ra's wants Tim looking through their database.

Back in the present Red Robin and Tam surrounded by the Spider Council members Goliath, Funnel, Wolf, Widower, Tangle, The Wanderer, and Sac. Red Robin analyzes the situation looking at all his opponents while being contacted by Ra's Al Ghul who informs Red Robin that the Ra's that is dead was a body double. Ra's tries to help out Tim but Tim tells him to go to hell.

Red Robin then continues to analyze the situation in his head to see which ones he has to take out immediately. The Wanderer notices that the Ra's she killed is a fake which Red Robin uses to finally launch his attack.

In some unknown location the real Ra's is watching Tim fight the Spider Council with someone we cannot see says that Tim is going to
die fighting seven to one. Ra's disagrees saying that Tim is not Bruce, Dick, or Damian and he believes Tim has already won.

Back in The Cradle Red Robin pushes Tam out of the way of fire and jumps out of the way from Wolf's gun fire and Wolf hits Goliath instead. Red Robin then quickly takes out Funnel and Tangle. Sac tries to take Red Robin's head off but Red Robin dodges and dropkicks Sac in the chin. As Red Robin fights The Wanderer watches him analyzing his fight.

As Red Robin continues to fight off the Spider Council he tells Tam to make a run for the door. As she runs to the door Sac takes a swing at her but Tam trips making Sac miss and hit some electric wires that shock him. Wolf comes in and is about to shoot Tam but Pru saves her by tackling Wolf.

Red Robin fights The Widower and while blocking one of his attacks Tim uses his free hand to hit The Widower with his grapple gun. Tim tells Pru and White Ghost to run. As they do Red Robin starts fighting The Wanderer and plays defense against her quick strikes analyzing all her moves. The Wanderer complements Red Robin asking him why he works for Ra's. Red Robin says he only works for one man and that he is not there right now. He takes a swing at her using his staff but she blocks it. She tries to strike Red Robin but he dodges it at punches her knocking her to the ground and makes a run for it.


Tim is in the Cradle's control room with Tam, Pru, and White Ghost telling White Ghost he is out of time. Prudance leaves on Tim's call. Tim then activates Sub-Routine RD1 that blows up all the League of Assassins base around the world. White Ghost is pissed but Tim leaves The Cradle with Tam before the whole base crumbles. The Spider Council tries to stop him but they are caught in the explosion of The Cradle.

Tim and Tam make it outside safely. While Tim thinks that Tam will need some therapy she kisses Tim. Just as she kisses him Ra's contacts Tim and Tam feels embarrassed.

Ra's complements Tim on what he has done but now Ra's is going to take out Wayne Industries since Tim took out Ra's business. Tim tells Tam they are going back to Gotham.

Eight hours later the Spider Council members come out of all the rubble with the Wanderer saying they have a new prey: Heroes.

Commentary
The Good: Red Robin #8 was a surprisingly fun action packed read. Chris Yost did a great job writing Tim's character as this is the first full issue where Tim felt like how Tim Drake should be written. Previous issues Yost showed signs of knowing how to write Tim's character but tried too hard to also show the character as being unstable in his pursuit to find Bruce.

Yost did a great job showing us the true Tim Drake as we saw the more detective side of the character who thinks out all of his moves. While Dick has taken after Bruce in terms of being a fighting capabilities Tim is the one that has taken more of the detective side of Bruce. Though Dick has shown he is a great detective himself it has always been establish that Tim is the one with the potential to surpass Bruce in being a detective.

It was cool seeing Tim remember everything he has been taught from the various people he has trained under. And Tim has trained under some of the best fighters and detectives in the DCU with the likes of Bruce, Dick, and Shiva. Those three alone are three of the top fighters in the DCU. We saw flashes of Tim using things of all he has been taught as he fought the Spider Council.

I liked that before the fight even started Tim already figured out how he needed to take out the seven enemies he was facing while protecting Tam. It is a good way to show how Tim thinks is different from Dick as Tim may not be as good a fighter as Bruce or Dick but with preparation he can fight just fight as well as those two. He was a real pro in this fight and showed that he has come out on his own.


I found it interesting how even though Tim was analyzing the situation he was in his fighting style was more acrobatic almost like how Dick fought as Nightwing. It may have just been how the art was done in this issue but I thought it was an interesting combination of how Bruce and Dick usually fight that Tim used before and during the fight.


Yost also did a good job with the hook ending by showing us Ra's has been in Gotham and is now looking to get revenge on Tim for blowing up all of the League of Assassins headquarters. It is a nice lead into Tim's "homecoming" to Gotham and should lead to some interesting things as Yost has been hinting at Wayne Industries playing a bigger role in this title.

Also, it will be interesting to see who the mysterious woman Ra's was talking to in this issue. My money is on Talia but still maybe Yost will throw us a curve ball and it will be someone we do not expect.

Marcus To really stepped up his game in this issue with some very good looking artwork. I like that he kept the background simple and focus more of the detail in the art for the fight between
Tim and the Spider Council members. The art was the real driving force for this issue and made it very enjoyable as there was a great flow to all the art as Tim took out the Spider Council members one at a time. And his colorist Guy Major did a great job in this issue as well as he typically does as he made the images look great.

The Bad: Now while it wasn't that big of deal in this issue like it has been in the previous seven issues I still don't like is the shifting between past and present Yost continues to use. Even though it was only used once at the very beginning of the issue after eight issues of Yost using this it has gotten old and makes him look like a lazy writer trying to fill the page count.

I was also not a big fan of the whole fake out death of a character but then it turning out to be a body double. It was a cheap way to end the last issue and makes the impact of what happened irrelevant especially since we did not know who Ra's body double was or does the reader care.

And though I like the ending of the issue with Ra's being revealed in Gotham it didn't feel as big
as if it was the ending for one of the three big Batbooks (Batman, Batman and Robin, and Streets of Gotham). Sure it was cool but this new storyline will only be a crossover in Red Robin and Batgirl which can be said to be on second tier titles of the Batbooks. It just does not make the story of Ra's attacking Gotham feel like it has big consequences on the city as if it was in a title starring Batman, whether it is Bruce or Dick under the cowl.

Also, while the fight between Tim and the Spider Council was cool it did not help the Council look any stronger and actually made them look weak. These guys have been the other big villain in this title since the start and look to continue to be a supposed threat on this title. But the way they were portrayed in this issue with all of the main members of the Council they were made to look no better than one of villains than an ongoing threat.

Another thing I didn't like and what I really am starting to hate about this title is that Yost continues to have Tim say he knows Bruce is alive but never giving supporting detail to why he thinks that. Sure we know that Bruce is the one that drew the batsymbol on the cave Tim found how does Tim know that? We have never been given a reason for Tim thinking that and Yost continues to tease that Tim just knows.

In this issue Yost showed he has a great handling of Tim's character but when it comes to showing us proof to back-up why Tim thinks Bruce is alive Yost has given us nothing. Right now Tim has no proof to show Dick, Barbara, Stephanie, Damian, and the others that Bruce is alive other than the cave painting that can be said to be drawn by some drunk high school kid for all they know. It is just annoying Yost is avoiding this plot point that was this title was marketed to do but isn't.

Overall: Red Robin #8 was the best issue of this series so far. Though Yost continues to have the same problems previous issues of this series have had. Still if you are a fan of Tim Drake fan you are sure to enjoy this issue and I recommend you pick it up. The next issue will be a prologue issue to the Red Robin/Batgirl crossover so if you are looking to jump onto this title you will have to be picking up Batgirl as well in March. So be aware of that if you plan on picking up the next arc of this title.
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Kevin

1 comment:

Rubens said...

Love the way they made Tim into the ultimate Robin, combining skills from Bruce, Dick and them...