‘Robin’ closes out this particular chapter of Damian Wayne’s story by showcasing just how far this character has come over the last seventeen issues, capping off a gorgeous fun, and character-defining run that will surely stand the test of time as a classic. Any time a story ends, it can be quite sad but it can also be quite happy, reminding us why we connect with these characters and this medium in an amazing way.
The Shadow War is over, and the fighting tournament is a thing of the past, so it’s time for Robin and his friends to deal with one last foe and have a bit of fun before closing up shop for the time being. Robin #17 brings a conclusion to a series that has done a tremendous job at really exploring and defining the character of Damian Wayne, giving the character’s fans the type of story many have been waiting for over the years.
Often final issues that are meant to wrap up storylines and shuffle a character towards what is next (for Damian that is the soon-to-launch Batman vs Robin series) aren’t as exciting to read or cover, as they rush through things. With this series though, that was never going to be the way things were. Yes, there are quite a few things that are pushed through and wrapped up, but the series maintains the same level of character richness and fun that it has had since the first issue dropped over a year ago.
Kicking off with a gorgeous full-page montage of series events from Roger Cruz, Norm Rapmund, and Luis Guerrero is a great way to start off any issue. This trio has done fabulous work throughout the issues they’ve done together and here we get to see some of their best at work. From utterly terrifying pages with Mother Soul and Lord Death Man where emotions are clear, backgrounds are sparse, and colors are popping to smooth kinetic fun fight scenes on the lush Lazarus Island and finally a ton of great character-focused sequences on that same island just being young people enjoying life.
There is a smooth but heavy feeling to what Cruz and Rapmund are putting on the page, with just the right amount of weight to have an impact without losing any of the fun elements. Guerrero’s colors are so lush and vivid but also leave plenty of room for deep powerful shadows and some toned-down colors in certain areas that elevate whatever emotion the moment/page is meant to evoke.
There is frantic energy to many of the fights and significant moments in this series, which is helped by the way that Cruz sets up the panels. They are oddly shaped, leaning to the side, no two pages fully alike adding to the chaotic but ordered feeling of the series as a whole.
We feel this too with what Troy Peteri has brought to the lettering side all this time. Speech bubbles of varying shapes and colors with fonts that are shifted to fit whatever character they might for. From Lord Death Man’s skeletal-looking white font in black bubbles or just simply awesome things like having a red highlight to some of Damian’s powerful words (including bolding certain words in red too). Tone/volume is always apparent in what Peteri adds to the page because we can visually see whether they are yelling or whispering or just speaking up and therefore we can ‘hear’ it as well. And we can never leave out all the colorful fun personality filled in-your-face SFX that are dotting the pages, almost like a whole set of characters of their own within the story.
Joshua Williamson took a simple yet perfect direction for Damian Wayne and not only made it fun but made it a defining modern run for the character. Allowing us to see beyond the mask so to speak, to see the young man within who was struggling to deal with his grief and guilt about the loss of a father figure. Comparing Damian from the first issue to the Damian we see here, who is collected and confident and ready to have a good time with his friends is quite the journey.
I’m sad that this is the end of this title, with the future of these characters unclear for the time being. Connor Hawke is sure to show up somewhere else, he went to find his father who oddly has not had a title of his own for quite a number of years, and Flatline is too cool of a character to stay gone for too long.
While I’m sad to see this title go, I’m grateful for the time that we got with it and what these creators were able to put on the page for over a year. This is for sure a title that I will return to over the years, enjoying it all over again.
Robin #17 is now available.