Once DC’s Rebirth event/relaunch/new direction arrives, We Are Robin will be one of the books that sadly won’t be coming back. This is a big shame since while the series started off on a slow note, it had gotten better as time went on as it delved more into its cast of characters. With the end in sight, let’s focus on the now while it’s still around. Is it good?
We Are Robin #10 (DC Comics)
As the influence of the teenage murderer known as Smiley grows, the larger and more vicious this dangerous Jokerz gang grows. The police are not taking it too seriously for some reason and the Robins have been disbanded since the events of Robin War—you could say Gotham is in a bit of trouble. However, the Robins Movement may not be completely gone, since some of its members are starting to stir.
The absolute strongest thing about this issue, and most of the arc so far, is the characterization. Lee Bermejo has been doing a great job developing the characters here by giving them small, personal arcs and moments throughout this ending storyline. We have Duke trying to help his recently found parents in their current state, even though it feels like a losing battle, Izzy trying to balance her school and work life without falling apart, and even Dre going solo as a hero. While some subplots are more exciting and well-developed than others (Riko’s story is the weakest unfortunately), it is nice work being done here and I like how everyone’s personal story is different. It’s unfortunate that the book is ending, since Bermejo has shown that there could be a lot of potential with these characters.
The writing feels improved here in a few ways. The dialogue feels natural and engaging to read, especially with some of the more personal and human moments that the cast shares with friends and family (the stuff with Duke in particular stands out to me). Also nicely executed is the storytelling: the story is constantly cutting back and forth between all of the Robins and what they are currently doing, but it never feels disjointed or confusing in how it goes about it. It’s always clear when the story cuts away and no scene ever goes on for too long.
Jorge Corona continues art duties on the book and it still looks good. While his more cartoonish and sometimes exaggerated depiction of the characters and their faces can look off (it certainly didn’t help with trying to show that Smiley has a scar), the style works well enough and helps convey the mood and expressiveness of the characters. Heck, Corona is also good with designs here, drawing a lot of various Jokerz members, each with their own unique appearance. Rob Haynes lends his talents again to help with the breakdowns, which helps build some very nice and well flowing panel layouts, like the first page at the comedy club. Everyone does a solid job here, even if this isn’t one of the most visually striking issues of the series.
While I absolutely love the concept of the story arc and seeing the sort of origin for the Jokerz gang, I feel a little disappointed in some of its story execution. Smiley himself is a tad underwhelming—he doesn’t really do a whole lot in the issue and mostly just spouts off a lot of crazy speeches. He feels a bit typical and the most intriguing part about him, his connection to Duke, has yet to be explored (though it appears as if that will be corrected next issue thankfully). Also, depending on how you like your storytelling, the arc can be seen as rather slow-paced regarding showing the rise of the gang and there hasn’t been much confrontation between the heroes and villains. Then there’s Riko’s subplot centered around Duke and Izzy’s relationship—it’s not something I would mind, but I don’t think her interest in Duke has been explored or hinted at enough for her jealousy and sadness to be believable.
Is It Good?
We Are Robin #10 was a very enjoyable issue overall. While some of the story is disappointing, the strong characterization for most of the cast makes up for it, along with stronger storytelling and artwork. While the end is on the horizon, I can’t stress enough how much fun of a ride We Are Robin has been. Here’s hoping it goes out with a bang.