Pick of the Week

November 19, 2008 – Robin #180

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 3.6
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 1.3%
Users who pulled this comic:

Size: pages
Price: 2.99

Many weeks one of us will write about what a bum week it was for comics, or we’ll make other qualifications, and then we’ll turn around and say that the comic book that was chosen as the Pick of the Week was still really good and even in a strong week of comics it would have been chosen for such an honor.

Not so much this week.

Don’t get me wrong, this was a week filled with some good, solid reads. Out of the 13 books I bought, I gave 9 of them 4 stars. The problem is, there just wasn’t a single 5 star book in the bunch this week. There wasn’t that one book that knocked my socks off or tugged at my heart strings. What was there? A lot of strong set-up issues, middle chapters, and story arc kick offs. And the best of those comics was Robin #180.

Comic book time is pretty funny, especially in the current Batbooks. Right now everything revolves around “Batman R.I.P.”, especially in the family books like Robin, Nightwing, and Batman and The Outsiders. It’s like all of the side characters have been playing a game of musical chairs, only the music hasn’t stopped for months and it won’t stop until next week (hopefully!). As a result of all the delays on Batman, the side books have pushed on forward and have gone ahead in time past the “R.I.P.” story as they deal with the fall-out from a Gotham City without Batman. What happened to him? No one’s saying, although there have been a lot of references to him being “gone” but no one acts like they are in mourning.

What we do know is that with Batman gone (and, apparently, the criminal underworld being fully aware of it), Gotham has turned into a war zone. And that’s where we’ve come in on this current story arc in Robin. Someone has been pouring gasoline on the city’s teen gangs (figuratively) and has been aggressively trying to light the match (also figuratively) and Robin has been using every trick up his sleeve to keep the city’s young gang population from exploding.

The only true ally that Robin has at the moment is The Spoiler and I still can’t figure out their relationship post her return from the dead (figuratively). They were in love before and now they are just… oddly cold to each other. It’s a head scratcher. I’m still not sure at this moment as to what purpose it has served in bringing Spoiler back other than to placate the small but vocal fan population that wouldn’t stop complaining about her death. Hopefully they will figure out what to do with her soon because none of it has been overly interesting.

The primary fun in this issue was watching Robin struggle mightily to hold everything together. As he runs from one crisis to the next, he can’t stop moving, and more importantly he can’t stop thinking. How far is he willing to go to keep Gotham City from bursting at the seams? Where is the line? In this issue he decides that it’s okay to disperse a rioting crowd with a watered down version of Scarecrow’s fear toxin. Others are not so sure that’s okay.

If rioting gangs weren’t enough to deal with, and as the cover indicates, Robin also has to deal with his first real, prolonged encounter/fight with Red Robin. Throughout the course of the Robin #180 clues are dropped as to the mystery man’s identity and I totally thought I had it figured out until the mask got pulled off and I found that I was wrong… or was I? This issue boasts not one, but two reveals, as we learn that there is someone in the shadows pulling Red Robin’s strings and manipulating the teen gangs into all out war. Yes, Anarky is back. And while he might not have been Red Robin in a literal sense, he was the one causing all the trouble, and this is not good news for Robin because Anarky likes to blow shit up. Clearly. He has a long and complex history with the Batfamily, so this should lead down some interesting roads.

Freddie Williams II on art really brought it with this issue. There are some absolutely fantastic and dynamic panels and pages in this issue. Williams does a great job of making Robin seem like he’s always on the move, never able to stop and catch a breath. I’ve always been a fan of Williams (on this book especially) and he seems to be getting better and better. This is one of those instances when artist and book really click. I liked Williams’ art when he briefly did The Flash but I’m glad that he’s back on Robin because he really seems to elevate his game for The Boy Wonder.

After next week when the final chapter of “Batman R.I.P.” hits everything could change. Scratch that, everything will change, at least for this book. This is it for Robin; this Anarky story arc is the last hurrah for this book in its current form.

After 15 years, whatever comes next as a lot to live up to.

Conor Kilpatrick


  1. Wow, Robin as POW, I didn’t see that coming. That said, I’m not going to read the article as we get our books a day later here in the UK but yay Robin!

  2. Man that was a quick posting of POTW. Awesome.

    Did anyone catch the constant batgirl bashing by nightwing all throughout this weeks comics?? LOL 

  3. Holy crap, it’s not even 4:00!

    I don’t even have my books yet!

    You are a dynamo.

  4. @Conor – out of curiosity, what were some of the other contenders for POTW? I am especially interested based on your suggestion that there were a lot of solid books but a dearth of stand-outs.

  5. Is Batman going to be "gone" from the rest of the DCU? The JLA?

  6. @coltrane68: You can check all the books that Conor pulled this week. The link is http://www.ifanboy.com/users/conor/comics . There it shows the rating he gave to each of his books. It also works for every iFanuser. 🙂 

  7. This was the fastest I have ever seen you guys post the POTW. Nice.

  8. Well…at least two batbooks in a row were POTW.  That counts for something…right?

    Even though you say it wasn’t great, you do indeed make it sound pretty darn interesting.  Good review sir!

  9. @drakedangerz: Oh yeah. I think 2008 was the best year for Batbooks in quite a while. Let’s hope all the changes in 2009 don’t mess this up. 

  10. @Alexferrer – thanks for the info. However, I don’t get Conor’s ratings; rather I get the average rating. In any case, thanks!


  11. We tend to go over that stuff on the show.  Gotta talk about something.

  12. Josh – Do you really have to talk about ‘something’? Why not just go wildly ad lib and let it ride? Turn it into a late ’60’s  free form jazz (or Spinal Tap Mark II). You know – some form of performance art podcasting.

    On second thought, never mind.

  13. So basically you want episode 150 again?  We can’t do that every week!  🙂

  14. So what are the chances that we’ll see THREE weeks in a row where Batbooks are Pick of the Weeks? My guess is, not that good. It’s ironic. Most people would guess that Batman #681 would be the best and most significant Bat-issue of the year… but I doubt Josh will pick it. It’s kind of a shame that they decided to brand Morrison’s final issues (to say nothing of the other Batbooks) as "Batman RIP", because this is really just the endgame of Morrison’s whole run. I mean, you need to have seen the Joker get shot by a fake Batman in 655 to understand the extent of things. And you need to read the Club of Heroes arc to know who John Mayhew and the Knight and Squire are, for example. If Josh would go back and read the whole run, there’d be no doubt of Batman #681 becoming next week’s Pick. He is certainly free to choose Dardevil or Captain America again, but history will judge iFanboy harshly. 😉

  15. This has been a solid book for a few months now.  I am glad to see it getting some recognition.  Of course, the next logical step is to cancel it. 

    DC is just following that ages old formula:
    Step 1: Write a solid book that keeps getting better.
    Step 2: Make it good enough to get solid critical reviews.
    Step 3: Cancel the shit out of it.
    Step 4: ?????
    Step 5: Big, big profits.

  16. It’s not being canceled so much as renamed and renumbered.  I guess technically that’s a cancelation, but I think Nicieza is going to write it.  It’s more like when AVENGERS became NEW AVENGERS.

  17. Good.  I will be on board as long as Nicieza continues to write it.  He has been impressive (in my opinion).

    Thanks for filling me.

  18. Don’t quote me on it.  He definitely said he was going to be writing one of the new Batbooks.  I’m just extrapolating that it’s the Robin one.

  19. @Conor- I don’t like this new bait and switch DC is doing.  Its like selling me a shammy but calling it Shamwow.

  20. I will budget based on your extrapolation.  Care to attempt to predict what will happen with the other batbooks/writers?  I would love to hear some educated guesses as I haven’t really have time to check around.

  21. @lantern4life – Clearly you have never used a Shamwow.

    Seriously though, I don’t know if we can call it a bait and switch when we get solicits as far in advance as we do (unless, of course, the solicits are wrong, which they often are).

  22. I love it that you said conor that out of 9, count em 9, choices you had for POTW. I would love to know what the other choices for POTW were.

    Still great article and it’s a shame that Robin is being cancelled/relaunched. There is no reason for it, especially for a title being around as long as this has been. Still I’m just not a huge fan of Robin as a whole, but if I read the earlier trades I could get into it.

    (BTW my pick was Deadpool #4 this week)

  23. am i an idiot for not knowing who the Red Robin reveal is?

  24. i love anarky! i should buy this.

  25. Oooo!!!!

    I totally forgot to say it in my last post but I love Anarky! He is one of the most underrated characters and I practically love every story he is included in. If he is going to be a main antagonist for Robin until the title is relaunched then I will definitely give this a try then.

  26. Last week in Detective comics 850, I think I saw Anarchy’s costume on display in the batcave when batman fought Hush


    Am I on drug or did this happen?

  27. @stuclach: I read somewhere that Greg Rucka will be writing a Bat book, but they haven’t said what it will be…..but if I was a bettin man I’d say its a Batwoman book, hopefully (maybe) with The new Question. Other than that I have no clue.

     I really enjoyed this issue as well. Its weird, I really didn’t like Freddie Williams on The Flash for some reason, but really enjoy his work on Robin. I don’t know why. A solid issue, but to early to tell if its my POTW. I can’t wait to read Hellblazer and Pax Romana after work!

  28. That Batwoman book was supposed to happen a damned year ago.  And Rucka did years on Detective.  Wouldn’t it be magical if he returned….

  29. Wow this is a surprising pick it really sounds…like th..is…iss…zzzzzzzzz…huh? whu? Oh Robin right…zzzz

  30. I read this before I got my comics & wasn’t expecting spoilers! D’oh!

    Nice review though, & the caption sold me — "double reveals & non-stop action!". Can’t wait to read it, now.

  31. Does it count as ‘talking about something’ if Josh just recites ‘Jaws’ for 40 minutes?  Because I’d totally listen to that.

    Greg Rucka on a Batwoman/Question book = yes please!

  32. I could totally do that.

  33. Next video podcast, let it be a normal topic (like viewer mailbag) and just have josh talk in that ‘Jaws’ voice the whole time. Hilarious.

  34. I prefer Josh’s Alan Moore impression, but thats just me

  35. As long as someone (repeatedly) mentions Jakob Whorssman, I’m in.

  36. Maybe one week we’ll get ‘Flanagan’s Variety Half-Hour’!

  37. You guys should do a drunk episode.  


    Officially, I mean.   

  38. To add to Paul and Eyuns suggestions, do a drunk variety half-hour video podcast

  39. This was a solid book this week.  I think Nicieza tied the plot points nicely, and I’m excited to see where next issue goes. 

    Having said that, Scalped was awesome this week.  Definitely my POW.

  40. This was definitely a slid issue, but I guess I just didn’t have the big gasp from the reveal of Anarky since I am not too familiar withe character.

  41. Yeh I can’t see how ‘Scalped’ could miss on being POTW, it was another amazing issue – how could it not have ‘tugged at your heart-strings’ ?  

  42. just finished reading it. it was very good. and scalped was awesome also

  43. I’m with the Scalped POW voters. Even though the book always rocks, this issue was particularly rock worthy. Maybe the iFanboys think they already picked Scalped enough times for POW?

  44. @WadeWilson – Number of times picked doesn’t come into play.  The only factor is whatever book is considered the best that week, for whatever reason.

  45. @conor: Except when it comes to Powers and Scalped. It’s like Aaron and Bendis is paying you off….

    Oh by the way, here is your weekly kick back *hands him sack with a dollar sign on it* 🙂

  46. If only.

  47. @conor – That’s good to know! I’d be curious to know what made you like this issue of Robin more than Scalped, though. Maybe I have to wait for the POW podcast to find out …

  48. I’m glad to see Robin get some love but there’s just something about how Williams draws Robin that just irks me. Along with that, I’m with you Conor on the odd cold interactions they have going on with Tim & Steph.  What was the point of bringing her back if you’re just gonna stomp over all that chemistry the two characters had.

    Those are two reasons I’m looking forward to the changes next year for something different. I did like the Anarky touch, wasn’t he the first villain in the Robin III faced? Like in the mini before the ongoing started.

  49. @adrian  King snake was the villian in Robins first mini, but I think Tim Drake may have taken down Anarky/Lonnie before he became Robin

  50. About the Rucka Batwomen book, I was riffleing around online the other day and came across an old rumor that the artist on that book is going to be… wait for it…

    JH Williams III!!!!!

    This would obviously make this book the best comic that DC has published…. ever!*


    *Hyperbole of course.

  51. Robins Been handled well during thie R.I.P. This current issue was  a good read

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