Saturday, May 17, 2003

Robin #150 Review



Okay, so he's still no Karl Kerschl, but I'm starting to dig Freddie E. Williams III's work on Robin. Maybe I'm just becoming inured to it or something, but I actively disliked Williams III's work on Mister Miracle, but with this issue of Robin, I have made the move from "do not actively dislike" to actual enjoyment.

Adam Beechen is a great writer, and he continues with a really well-written story that just happens to be built around an awfully stupid plot device, which is that Cassandra Cain, the former Batgirl, the one who had her own series that lasted over 70 issues...is now the head of the League of Assassins and is basically a psycho villain now. Granted, she was revived by the Lazarus Pit, so any insanity can easily be written off in the future, but that does not appear to be the way the editorial department wants to go with this, so if you want to boycott Robin because Cassie Cain is being treated poorly, then go right ahead. Just don't blame Adam Beechen for it!

Beechen writes a really fun "break-out" sequence, as Robin has to figure out a way to break David Cain (Cassie's assassin father) out of prison in an attempt to save Cassie. The best bit of the sequence is a scene involving getting through a laser grid - "but if someone was willing to sit down and do incredibly complex geometry for elven hours" - CLASSIC!

And you know the BEST sign of a good writer fort this book? In this issue, we meet the new supporting cast member/love interest that Beechen is going to have be part of the book, and the character didn't even annoy me!! Jon Lewis and Bill Willingham failed miserably, I thought, in their respective attempts to add supporting cast members to Robin, as the new characters annoyed me. Not so with Beechen. He is adding a teenage "tutor" for Tim, as he has not been attending school very often. Clever idea.

So anyhow, Cassie as the new Lady Shiva is pretty lame (although Williams III draws her looking really cute in the Lady Shiva outfit), but if you don't think that plot point is lame, then you will enjoy the scenes with Cassie in them. She is going to make a very formidble villain for Robin.

One thing I really liked is that, not only does the cliffhanger for this issue have a reasonable explanation, but, at the same time, Beechen has already slyly WRITTEN the way the cliffhanger most like will be resolved NEXT issue into THIS issue. I like that. Much better than "non-sequitor" resolutions - "Oh, here comes the Avengers/FF/The Ravers to save the day out of nowhere!" The solution is already IN the comic. Good move there.

So, I would recommend this comic with the following reservation - if you can't get past the poor plot turn given Cassie, then you're not going to like this comic.

If you can get past that, then I think you'll enjoy a fun, smart and well-illustrated comic book.

Read the Review

35 Comments:

Anonymous Jordan D. White said...

Yeah... I am very much against the idea. I agree with you on the writing quality. It's a good comic, but poor Cassie is beintg ruined. She does not look or act anything like the Batgirl we knew. It's a realy shame. I hope someone does "Lazarus" this personality change out of the picture sometime soon, but I doubt it.

Speaking of which... I was not a huge fan of Nyssa, but to just wipe her out so quickly and casually seems pretty harsh. I think it would have been better to do SOMETHING with her. Ah well.

5/18/2006 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

On Nyssa, I am of three minds...

1. The "Hated the character so much that was thrilled to actually see her killed off so quickly" mind

2. The "Thinks that it was unfair" mind

3. The "Thinks that, in cases like this, the 'unfairness' should be based, proportionally, on how recent the character's creation was" mind

I think I probably end up setttling on #3.

5/18/2006 05:46:00 PM  
Blogger Lex said...

I was never a big fan of Cassie, so this turn of events didn't bother me too much. But I can certainly see why fans of the character would hate it.

I'm really liking Beechen's take on Robin. It's smart, fun and action-packed.

5/18/2006 06:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people are really taking this Cassandra thing WAY too well.

It's not just that this is a complete 180 degree turn on the character's basic philosophy and motivation akin to Batman going all Punisher.

It's that the EXCUSE for this behavior is the flimsiest, yet most damaging I've ever seen. Doesn't this writer know enough of Cassandra that he'd realize having a sister destroys her entire origin story, which we just spent an eight issue long arc dwelling on? What about the fact that the only reason David Cain stayed in Blackgate was because he was obsessing about Cassandra - why would he care if he had a spare somewhere? Or the fact that Cassandra already knew damn well that her dad had trained dozens of other children (albeit ones that didn't survive), and didn't show any jealousy?

What was wrong with the "Bludhaven destroyed, everyone I knew there dead, and I could have stopped it" excuse Gabrych offered in BG #73? Not petty and childish enough?

This is a story that makes sense only if you have NO knowledge of Batgirl at all beyond this same Robin arc. Once you try to bend your head around the idea that this could be the same character we saw just one month ago in Batgirl #73, the story is shot full of holes you could drive an SUV through. The retcon doesn't fit into the character's history at all.

5/18/2006 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Well, at least Beechen's giving Tim a life. Next step: Move him out of that damned tower.

5/18/2006 08:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Nef said...

Tim's living in a house on the Wayne estate.

5/19/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Bry Kotyk said...

I haven't read Robin regularly since Chuck Dixon and Pete Woods were on the title, back around the 100-mark. Tim Drake's always been one of my favourite characters, so all it'd take is the promise of the title being in good hands to get me to start reading again.

Though I will say that the complete supporting cast bloodbath of the last year and a half - killing his father, his girlfriend, and his best friend as collateral damage in three separate bloated crossover "events" - has made me more than a little gun-shy.

5/20/2006 11:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh PLEASE. Why is everyone being so easy on Adam Beechen? Why does everybody have to say "I really hate this story, but I guess it might be DC editorial's fault". Come on. Bludhaven, the place filled with everyone she cared about, got blown up. Now DC might have given him a memo that said "Make Batgirl head of the League of Assassins".

But there's no way they sent him a memo that said:

1) Have an unarmed Robin beat up and hogtie David Cain, with nothing but sheer kungfu badassness.
2) Ignore that story that ended one month ago, where she knew she had "siblings", didn't care, and was willing to die rather than kill one of them.
3) For that matter, ignore the destruction of Bldhaven one month ago. Make her turn evil because she's so jealous that Cain trained another kid.
4) When she tries to convince Tim to join her, she should totally use lines like "Batman is happy Spoiler and your dad are dead. It makes it easier to control you."
5) Oh, and all those stories about her not being able to read or write, and her having trouble talking... could you retcon them away? Say that she knew how to read and write, and Batman taught her navajo too. And make her give long speaches, all that stuff with her having trouble talking was annoying.

Come on. DC might deserve the blame for the idea of Cassandra being a killer, but there's no way they told Beechen to do all the things that made this unreadably stupid.


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9/06/2010 06:33:00 PM  
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