More than any character with the exception of Shazam (aka the original Captain Marvel), Robin embodies the fantasy element that was the core of superhero fiction for many years. He was introduced into the Batman comics as a point-of-view character for the readers, giving the kids that were the core audience of comics in the 1940s someone they could see themselves as in the story. That idea was expanded into other superhero books, with characters like Kid Flash and Wonder Girl, and culminated in the formation of the Teen Titans.
It’s fair to say that Robin has been the most influential kid superhero in American comics history. The only character who might come close is James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes, though his legacy in popular culture at large has been largely subverted by his resurrection as The Winter Soldier. Yet even as Dick Grayson grew into Nightwing, Jason Todd grew into the Red Hood, Tim Drake grew into Red Robin and Stephanie Brown grew into Batgirl before becoming The Spoiler again (long story!), the legacy of the Teen Wonder has endured.
Robin 80th Anniversary 100 Page Super Spectacular #1 showcases this legacy, offering a buffet of short stories from the writers and artists who have helped ensure that the legacy of Robin continues. As such, virtually every major incarnation of Robin over the past 80 years (with the exception of the Carrie Kelly Robin from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns) is represented by at least one story in this volume.
So if you’ve ever liked any version of Robin, the odds are good that there’s at least one story in this book that you’ll enjoy. And if you’ve never read a Robin-focused comic before, well, this will give you a good sampling of everything that’s been done with Robin over the years; from a classic story of the original Robin, Dick Grayson, by the legendary Marv Wolfman, to a modern tale centered on the current Robin, Damian Wayne and a short Super Sons story.
Are you a fan of The Red Hood? There’s a new Jason Todd story by artist Dustin Nguyen and writer Judd Winick, who resurrected Jason Todd during their run on Batman and turned him into the Red Hood.
Maybe you grew up, as I did, loving the classic Chuck Dixon/Scott McDaniel run of Nightwing? Good news! There’s a new story about their Robin, the all-grown-up Dick Grayson.
Perhaps you prefer your Dick Grayson as a spy working for Spyral? There’s a new story from Tim Seely, Tom King and Mikel Janin based around that too.
Do you prefer your Robin in a group setting? Devin Grayson and Dan Jurgens, who wrote and drew the first title devoted to an adult Titans team, are here with a story devoted to Nightwing leading a mission against HIVE.
Are you one of the few, the proud, the fans of Stephanie Brown? There’s even a story about her short time as Robin, when she wasn’t The Spoiler or Batgirl.
You mileage may vary as to how enjoyable the individual chapters are. Personally there’s some art in this book I’m not crazy about, even if it is evocative of the era from which the character was created and they did bring in the original creators to offer their take on Robin.
But that’s the great thing about an anthology like this – there’s more to enjoy than there isn’t and far more good than bad, in my humble estimation. So if you’ve ever dreamed of traveling across the rooftops of Gotham City in tights and a cape (and admit it – you have!) you should pick up Robin 80th Anniversary 100 Page Super Spectacular #1.
Robin 80th Anniversary 100 Page Super Spectacular #1 releases on March 18th, 2020!
Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.