Pick of the Week

June 10, 2009 – Red Robin #1

What did the
iFanboy
community think?

698
Pulls
Avg Rating: 4.1
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 9.3%
 
Users who pulled this comic:


Size: pages
Price: 2.99

It has been a long time since the Batbooks have been good across the board. I would probably go all the way back to 1998-2001-ish to the last time that I was so excited about the entire line that I could barely contain my glee every Wednesday at the comic book store. Despite glimpses of good books, or good stories, or good creators, the entire line has, on the whole, been rather lackluster for a long time.

At the end of last year when DC announced that they were ending the ancillary Batbooks (and the rumors were swirling about Batman possibly dying) it almost seemed like a mercy killing.

Now that we are three books into the new status quo in Gotham City and — woo boy — I think it might be safe to say that they are back!

(Did I just jinx the other three books? I might have. I think I might have… Nah, you can’t jinx Greg Rucka writing in Gotham, and you sure as hell can’t jinx Paul Dini. His wife has probably cast some kind of protective spell around him that prevents him from being jinxed.)

I think that the most exciting thing about the new direction for the Batbooks is that everything seems so very well thought out. It’s like DC got all these talented writers together and they really took a look at who these characters are and their relationships with one another and – using Bruce’s “death” as a catalyst — they just tore them all down. We are now seeing all of these characters that we have come to know over the years deal with an entirely new and unwanted situation, and heaving to deal with an entirely new and unwanted emotional state. And now these talented writers get to build these characters back up again.

And that leads us to Red Robin #1.

Out of all the people in the Cave, Tim seems to be having the hardest time dealing with the loss of Bruce. If you have been following Tim for the last few years you know that the poor guy has had it really rough, even by comic book standards. His dad died. His best friend died. His other best friend died. His girlfriend died. Sure, three of those four are back alive again, but that’s still got to be hard on a guy. The one good thing that Tim had in his life was his new family. He had Bruce and Alfred and Dick and Barbara. Having this new family grounded him and saved him and he eventually became a part of it by becoming Bruce’s adopted son and Dick’s adopted brother. But now not only has he has lost another father, but his place in the family is now uncertain.

As Red Robin #1 opens up we see Red Robin tearing his way across Europe, stopping crime as he comes across it, all the while searching for… something.  He’s on a mission and he’s not fucking around. (What that mission is isn’t revealed until near the end, but it’s not a surprise considering all the pre-release talk about the direction of this particular book and main character). Red Robin is brutal, but not vicious. He is distracted by people who need help, but not without focus on his main goal. Red Robin is a boy who is quickly growing up, probably much faster than he would like.

Two things struck me as I read Red Robin #1. One is that Christopher Yost does a wonderful job here. As I mentioned in my Batbook preview last week, Red Robin was the book I was most worried about mostly because of the creative team. Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Judd Winick, Paul Dini – all writers I know and whose work I love. Nothing against Christopher Yost, he was just an unknown variable for me. I can’t recall having ever read anything that he has written. I had no idea what to expect from him going in. Worry no longer, I say! Yost has a great handle on Tim. He gets that of all the Robins, Tim was always the one most like Bruce. And now that he is carrying this crushing burden of loss, Tim is more like Bruce than ever before.

The second thing that stuck me was that, much like with last week’s Batman & Robin, I love how well thought out all of this is. Just like last week, we have an entirely new status quo in which we find these familiar characters, but these new status quo feel entirely organic and right for the characters. Of course Tim is brutally angry about losing Bruce. Of course Tim escapes to Europe. Of course he feels hurt and angry that Dick chose Damian to be Robin. Of course he dons the Red Robin identity. And most importantly, of course Tim is the only one who refuses to give up on Bruce. As all these events were laid out, they were presented as new and exciting, but in retrospect, it all makes perfect sense and it’s all totally in character.

As I mentioned above, Christopher Yost was the X factor on these books for me, which was one reason why I was somewhat leery of it going in. The other reason why I was leery was artist Ramon Bachs whose work I know most notably from Civil War: Frontline a few years back. I found myself pleasantly surprised here. I recall him having a very loose and somewhat chaotic line in Frontline, but here in Red Robin his pencils are much tighter and cleaner (except, oddly, for the first three panels in the book which looks much more like his older work). He is inking himself here, which could be a reason why it looks better than I remember, and another factor is certainly Guy Major’s colors which aren’t overdone and add to the clean feeling to the art.

Three great books down and three to go. Tune in next week — same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel!

Conor Kilpatrick
As if Tim didn’t have enough reason to hate Damian…
conor@ifanboy.com

Comments

  1. Wow, that was a fast pick. i havent even bought my books yet!

  2. Two Bat books in two weeks, lets hope Detective doesn’t hit next week or we’ll be on track for a Bat-month.

  3. @AlphaFlightFan

    Detective is in two weeks, along with Sirens.  Next week is Streets of Gotham. 

  4. Wow two bat books in a row and Detective and Streets of gotham to come which i thought looked the strongest. I didn’t pick this up but i’ll give it another look tomorrow. My pick was FF. So many what F@#% moments made for a really fun story.

  5. -sigh-  it’s back to the store for me I guess.   I haven’t even read anything yet…

  6. I was curious about this one. I think I’ll give it a shot. Thanks, Conor.

  7. I’m looking foward to reading this.  I’ve had a chance to read through Batman, and it was great.  With this being the pick, I’m thinking it’s a great time to be a Bat fan.

  8. Woo-Hoo! I won the bet!….I mean, great pick conor 🙂

    Waiting for this in trade, I like the idea but I am not a huge fan of Drake. But this review is swaying me for being excited on the trade. Cant wait for it’s release in 2011! Damn you DC trade program!!

    Although this quote: ‘It has been a long time since the Batbooks have been this good across the board’. Okay, not everything has been released yet when it comes to the new Batbooks. I wouldnt priase the whole line yet until Streets of Gotham, Sirens, and people’s opinions of Detective and Batman (self-titled) is out yet.

    (Deadpool #11 was my pick)

  9. I’m am shocked at this selection.*

    *Not shocked.

  10. Also, you have like half of your comics this week 5/5.

    I mean the review shows why you loved this particular comic. But why this out of the 5-6 other comics that you gave a 5?

  11. This is a week where I am looking forward to a lot of books that I expect will be great. I think this one just moved to the top of the list.

  12. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Tim’s one of my favorite characters in the DCU, so I was anxious about this. Now, this is only the first issue, but I really, really like the direction Yost is taking with it. You summed it up really well in the review.  

    Great pick, Conor.   

  13. Hell YEAH!  Drake… sorry, Wayne is mad as hell and he’s not gonna take it anymore!  Love this and love how excited I am about running to get the batbooks now that I know my favorite character is in good hands with this creative team.

    BTW are they going out of their way to make me hate Damian more?

    Great pic, great comic, I’m a happy girl.

  14. @TNC: That’s what the show is for.

  15. Lazy me didn’t say "pull this for me", planned on just grabbing it off the shelf…and the shelf was empty!  Looking forward to reading it eventually.

  16. @conor: I understand that, but your not gonna discuss every single comic on the show. Unless it’s suddenly an extra hour long for this. So I doubt I will hear every single comic you gave a 5/5 why wasnt it POTW.

    So yeah the show doesnt help much…

  17. Put it this way: We’re gonna hear you discuss about Red Robin, Action Comics, Batman, Fantastic Four, Flash Rebirth, Miss America, AND Sherlock Holmes on the show? With no opinions with josh and ron with what they read this week?

    Yeah I doubt it.

  18. The iFanboy mobile site finally let’s me post via my iPhone…thank you.

    Good pick and review.

  19. @TNC: The books we don’t discuss will remain forever a mystery.

  20. @conor: Yes….yes….Lost forever in time and space!

    It will be 80 years in the future, on my deathbed and my last words will be: ‘I will never know what Conor Kilpatrick thought of Miss America #1!!’

    Or….just use the bell for a certain podcast 🙂

  21. Conor, I agree 100% with you.

    I just read it on the train ride home. It was a pretty awesome read! Tim has always been a great character to me and there’s a new depth to him now in the Red Robin costume. Not unlike when Dick adopted the Nightwing moniker; Tim’s growth will be exciting to read. 

  22. I’m waiting for all of these reborn titles in trade.  Deadpool # 11 was my pick.

  23. @conor & TNC – I second the bell request (but please hold it a bit farther from the microphone this time).

    I really, really enjoyed both Red Robin and Batman.  I have never read anything from Winick that I liked (including Pedro and Me), but Batman was very enjoyable.  I thought Tim’s characterization was spot on in Red Robin and feel that he would have been (and may yet be) the best replacement for Bruce.  Nothing against Dick, he just doesn’t seem to fit (that’s what she said).

  24. I had the same thought about Bachs’ art. Looking at the first page, I thought, "I don’t think I’m going to like this." But turn the page and it’s much tighter.

    And I agree with the all the Of courses you wrote, Conor. Seeing how angry Tim was about Dick choosing Damian, I had a moment of disbelief and then realized just how obvious something like that would be. Tim can hear Dick say that they are equals, but believing it after living in the subordinate role for so long is a different story.

    Great pick, Conor.

  25. I’m so bummed. I coulnd’t go out to get comics today because I have swine flu (wish I was making that up.) My girlfriend actually went and grabbed my pull which only had two issues in it. It was really awesome of her to do that. I can’t wait to get the rest of my issues, including this one. Too bad I’m on quarantine in my room until early next week. Great review, Conor.

  26. @Anson17 – That sucks.  Hope you get well soon and enjoy your books.  And that girlfriend sounds like a keeper.

  27. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Get well soon, Anson!

  28. @Anson17: Get well soon buddy, I’m sure you’ll pull threw and be going to the LCS in no time.

    That’s 2 votes for the bell, who’s with us!?

  29. This pick is WRONG! It’s scientifically provable!!! The Pick sucks!!! I quit!!!

  30. ^Hahaha.

  31. it’s like  that, huh?

  32. I was so hoping this would be the pick.

    It’s interesting too, I love Tim Drake as a character and the sequential deaths of everyone around him, Mother, Father, Girlfriend, Bestfriends Bart and Connor then top it off with Bruce the foundation of his reality has made him into Tim Wayne more then adoption papers ever could. 

    The Tim Drake I fell in love with in 1990 is effectively dead, his mission to stop Batman from being a more violent vigilante who’s going over the edge was successful, unfortunately he himself has ended up being a more violent vigilante who is getting pretty close to his own edge. Juxtaposition of an incongrous event, irony indeed.

  33. @JumpingJupiter There is no wrong, only differing views of the same object depending on where one stands when they see said object. Come back tomorrow and you may see the same thing, come back in ten years and you will see something completely different, come back yesterday and you will have invented a time machine.

  34. @stuclach. Definitely.

    I have a feeling this weeks show will be awesome.

  35. @crucio: nope, that’s disney land, sometimes people are just wrong

  36. @Crucio

    Or the Wayback Machine.  

  37. ha ha, good work

  38. Out of all the Batman books this was the one I was most worried about (well, this and Batgirl), but I was pleasantly surprised by this one.  I can’t wait for Streets of Gotham next week!

    @Anson17: That blows man.  Get well soon.

    @JumpingJupiter: That made me chuckle. 

  39. Great review, Conor. I agree on all accounts.

  40. Good review, though I didn’t seem to connect with the book the way you did. I guess it’s because I never had the history with the character the way you did. Still an alright book though, I’m down for some Ra’s Al Ghul action.

  41. Thought the latest issue of Fantastic Four was pretty epic.  Nice, Millar.  Nice.

  42. This is my pick of the week by far.  I didn’t even like Winick’s Batman at all except for the art which he wasn’t even responsible for. 

    Whoever was talking about waiting for this to come out on trade is nuts.  My LCS holds all the Batman related variant covers for me so I’m always buying the floppies, plus I couldnt wait 18 months to read this stuff.  I’ll use my TPB $$$ on Vertigo trades and such.  Batman is always on my pull list and I can’t wait to check out what Paul Dini gots going on!!  I think he is the TRUE Bat-writer of our time, but Morrison is fucking great too!!

     GOD, it feels so good to be alive right now with all these Batman titles on a regular rotation!!

  43. Did anyone else think that the Final Crisis hardcover was ridiculously gorgeous? I can’t wait for payday!

  44. Conor, I agree with you completely.  I was worried and thought I would end up dropping the bat books.  so far all three have been great plus I’m psyched that Dick is Batman because Nightwing was my favorite.  I like the new status quo and the relationship between all the characters.  The only thing I’m worried about now is what happens when Bruce comes back.

  45. conor, great pick!  mine was batman, but this was definitely a close second!  it’s such an exciting time to be a bat-fan!!!

  46. Even when I’m not reading certain books its always nice to hear things are going well and people are enjoying the stories they read.

  47. "You’re my equal" – best line in the issue. I love what Yost has done on the Marvel animated stuff, and I enjoy his writing in pretty much everything except X-Factor, and I’m really glad he’s doing such a great job with Tim. So far. Between that line and "I lost a son" in Winick’s Batman this week, and of course G. Mo and Quitely’s new venture, I’m super excited to be picking up more Bat books than just Detective and Batman, like I was before BftC wrapped up. One thing though, didn’t Dick move to the penthouse? Why is he in costume in the cave?

    I can forgive a little editorial error though since these books are so damned good.

  48. I meant X-Force, not X-Factor.

  49. is conor just takin everyone elses picks so he can write about batman?

  50. @reborncap50: I’m not sure what you mean. It was my turn this week.

  51. i mean did you steal someones turn last week as well

    i was kidding great pick both weeks

  52. I’m just amazed that two weeks in a row we’ve had DC books as pick of the week and neither of them were written by Geoff Johns!

  53. @reborncap50 It was my pick last week.

  54. My friend took me to the LCS again today. Guy had a couple of copies left of this, read it in the store.

    Not gonna do a full blown review but: I like Yost’s characterization of Tim. He’s turning into a man, but a very agressive and sometimes selfish. Actually it reminds me of how Jason Todd was growing up under Batman. I understand his plight for being Red Robin, but he does seem to be a bit stretching to think Bruce is alive.

    What ruins this book for me is the very medicore art. The stuff with Tim in the costume looks fine. But whenever he’s in his civilian clothes, or anyone else not having a mask on….looks down right hideous. So the art kinda ruined me with this. I think it’s safe to say waiting for trade is a good idea for me. But I can see why this was POTW for you. For me, it’s a solid 3.5/5.

  55. I just finished reading this and really enjoyed it.  I like this new direction for Tim, and in a way, it’s better than him being Dick’s sidekick.  I really like how Yost handled why Damian was picked, and it was a genuine moment when Dick told Tim he was his equal.  Because of his history with the character, the reveal at the end is definitely very interesting.

  56. @ Anson17: Wow, that’s horrible man. I feel for ya’. 

    I thought this was the right pick this week, although Batman was really good too. I’m really excited to see where this goes.

    Does anyone else think that Dido will used Tim’s relationship to Bruce as a storyline in Blackest Night? What would happen if Tim had to fight a Black Lantern Bruce? That would be epic.

  57. @Anson17 Get better dude!

    Good review, Conor. Liked this book well enough, but it was nowhere near the top of my pull list today. Still enjoyed it. A great week for comics. 

  58. Has this revamp of the batbooks always been called ‘Reborn’? Like I dont remember any interview or discussion of this being called that. Was it a last minute decision for DC?

  59. good choice!!

  60. @TNC I think it’s more or less going along with the promise that related books would bear banners from Didio. I think they appropriated the phrase from Morrison’s opening arc. But yeah, I don’t think it’s an "event" or "Theme" proper, more or less…. branding. (Subtle, semantic differences are my forte!)

    I’ve taken to calling it the Re-Bat-Boot. But that’s because I always thought there was never enough Shark Repellant Bat-Spray in comic book Batman. 

  61. @Prax: How bout we call it ‘Batman: Reanimator’?

    Also, did anyone else laugh at the Dido thing at the end of this. It was in every DC books this week about how he is admitting trying to kill Dick was a bad idea. At least he is apologizing for it.

  62. Well if they got rid of Bruce, I wouldn’t see it as more than impossible for Dick to take off instead.  That’s not the way it panned out though.  I think Grayson is going to be doing a good job as Batman for a while, but they’ll HAVE TO bring Bruce back sooner or later, in one form or another.

    When Bruce comes back, they should just have two Batmans.  Bruce can rock the all black not underwear costume from the movies and be the main badass Batman, Grayson can be back up Batman…

  63. Seriously?  Red Robin?  Red Robin is a place that sells hamburgers.  

    I predict that in 3 weeks, DC will put out "Pizza the Hut #1", it will be a D.C. character with a cowl that is somehow related to Batman, and it will be Conor’s pick of the week.

     

  64. @WonderManFan: Only if Pizza The Hutt is as funny as he was n SPACEBALLS.

    "Or else Pizza’s gonna send out… for you!" 

  65. @Conor Oh, Spaceballs, I miss you. 😉

    @robbydzwonar Bruce is not coming back! I can’t hear your! NANANANANANANANA! Though in all honesty, I would love to see a grizzled Bruce come back in three – five years and take on a role similar to that of his role in Batman Beyond to Dick. DC can then, every so often, have special issues where "Only Bruce Wayne can fight the peril of…." I think it would be a good way to cater to all the fans, while still maintaing a sense of forward motion in the books, instead of the near-stagnancy of the past 70 or so years.

  66. @robbydzwonar I always thought that Batman should have dressed everyone up exactly like himself, it would allow for him to be in a half dozen places at once, making him even more scary and more supernatural. Would also make for horrible comic booking, which one is Bruce? Is he  talking to Dick? No I think that’s Tim?

  67. I’m actually wondering what age Bruce will be when he comes back. He’s been in his late 30’s forever and with somewhat recent events having noted time jumps (plus the fact that I assume this new Bat setup will last at least a year in DC time) Bruce should at least be in his 40’s when he comes back.

  68. so the latest issue of Batman was better than this book. Just saying 

  69. I agree that the recent issue of Batman is much better.  Conor buddy, you continue to disappoint me every time you get the pick.  You write out this interesting and exciting review and get me all amped up, and then…wah wah waaaah.  Not really that good.  It was kind of similar to when I read the preliminary review on ‘Attack of the Clones’ @ aintitcool and he said it was awesome.  Watched the movie and it was fucking terrible.  Ever since, I’ve never listened to that red-headed freak.  I think I’m safer with Josh than I am with you or Ron. 

  70. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I liked the Batman book as well, but it was a little maudlin at times. I can see why this got the pick and that didn’t.  

  71. One of the reasons I appreciate this site is that you heighten my anticipation of reasing my books. I’m probably about two weeks behind, but reading this article gives me the motivation. Thanks Conor!!

  72. I think some people fail to realize that a review is an article based on the writer’s opinionated critique(then again I may be wrong). I can respectfully see these disagreement but it seems odd to me to disrespect the reviewer. I guess this is the internet, though. If you don’t agree don’t you think there is  a better way to discuss the topic other than "this review sucks?" Again, the reviews are opinions and I find iFanboy a little refresing to have 3 different reviewers doing the PoTW and then all of them discuss the books whether they agree or not. Just like if I had to review Spider-Man 3, then I’d be generally up on it or can make excuses why the odd parts work, but a lot of fanboys hate the film, even comparing it with Electra or Catwoman, or some other bad super-flick. I just don’t see the point of insulting reviewers that provide a good service when it’s an opinion, anyway.

  73. Red Robin #1 was way better then the issue of Batman that came out this week.  I hope Batman gets better, don’t know much about Winick though. Is he the one who did the City Of Crime arc before Dini’s Detective run?  If it is, he sux!

  74. @psyguy There was nothing insulting in my message with the exception of "red-headed freak" which was aimed at Harry Knowles, not Conor.  Maybe you should read my post again.

  75. What Conor picked a Batman book????  I like Yost and Robin tearing around Europe sounds fun will check this out.  Nice review you just took more money out of my pocket you bald son of a bitch.

  76. Many of the fans of the X-books are aware of how good Yost’s work is. Glad you’ve got a chance to see it for yourself, though.

     

     

  77. With Batman now supposedly dead… I was wondering if anyone knew who the first super hero was to die?  I know The Flash died in Crisis back in 85…anyone before that?

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