WE ARE ROBIN #1
Author: Bobby Barrett (Follow @BATBOBBY)
June 30, 2015

SYNOPSIS: The teenagers of Gotham City have adopted the “R” and made it their own. A new Robin? No, HUNDREDS of new Robins! Don’t miss the start of this new series from rising star writer Lee Bermejo (JOKER, SUICIDERS), who also provides the covers!

Easily one of the most curious announcements of the "DC You" launch, I've been anxiously awaiting a taste of WE ARE ROBIN. The result is intriguing: Duke Thomas (who should be familiar to regular readers of BATMAN) takes center stage in the months following the "Endgame" storyline. The teenager is lost, placed in the foster care system after his parents went missing during the Joker Virus attack on Gotham. These new living arrangements haven't been jiving with Duke, as he's been bouncing between schools and homes regularly; and he's beginning to feel like he's the only one concerned with finding his parents any more. Someone has noticed Duke, however – or someONES. His movements are being tracked by a group of mysterious individuals with a penchant for red, green, and yellow. Who are these followers? What's with their "Robin" infatuation? Who is leading them? What do they want with Duke?

This opening chapter provides less answers than setup, but it's handled well enough to where it remains enjoyable. Lee Bermejo, whose breathtaking art should be familiar to many Bat-fans (JOKER, BATMAN: NOEL), enjoys a rare opportunity in the writer's chair. Bermejo's involvement was definitely part of the shock of this series at its initial announcement. While he's been a mainstay with DC Comics, he's rarely involved with monthly titles, and even less frequently utilized as a writer. You'd never guess it from reading WE ARE ROBIN, however. Bermejo writes Duke Thomas so cleverly, you'd think he's been involved with the character since his inception. The inner dialogue is cheeky, full of pop culture references (there's even a thinly veiled nod to SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE at one point), and well suited for a teenager.

Bermejo also demonstrates a clear understanding of the foster care system in the US; easily conveying the tension and awkwardness that youth might feel upon being thrust into another's home, as well as the sad reality of some foster parents that are in it for the paycheck rather than the kids. Leslie Thompkins' involvement is a welcome addition, placing this book's contents slightly closer to the Bat-family. Much like Commissioner Gordon since the New 52, Thompkins has been significantly de-aged, likely to resemble her GOTHAM TV series counterpart. Why everyone has to be young and attractive in comics, I don't know…but I digress.

The art here is handled by Jorge Corona, whose style is a fine fit for this type of story. Stylized and vibrant, Corona delivers imagery that contrasts from the typical "superhero" style, but still manages to convey movement, action, and fluidity. Corona's characters each look unique – which will come in handy, I suspect, once the army of "Robins" are fully utilized.

DC Comics have been doing a tremendous job diversifying their line of stories over the past year. From a line referred to by many as consistent "cookie-cutter, angst-ridden" superhero books just a few short years ago, the publisher has been paying close attention to different demographics within their readership. The standard "comic book reader" stereotype doesn't really cut it anymore (if it ever did), and the new "DC You" line of titles embraces that notion. Credit where it's due, this evolution started with the "Batman" line of comics. The surprise success of more comedic books like HARLEY QUINN over the past 2 years quickly opened the door for the youthful adventures of GOTHAM ACADEMY and the newly revamped BATGIRL.

WE ARE ROBIN finds its own niche within the Bat-books quite easily, providing youthful adventure stories that can be serious, but not drowned in angst. This book appears to brush with superheroics, but in its own unique way. Issue #1 provides little indication for the seres' ultimate direction, but the start is strong enough to warrant a return visit. - Bobby Barrett

Bobby Barrett is a lifelong Batman enthusiast living in Fresno, California, with his wife and several cats.
He enjoys reading, writing, acting, and playing very loud rock music.


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