Robin 80th Anniversary Special (Review)
ROBIN 80TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL
Here we are with another 100 page Anniversary Special, this time focusing on Robin. Once again, DC has presented us with a book full of great stories by creators returning to characters they've worked on in the past. In this anthology we get 10 stories covering every generation of Robin. Of course Dick grayson gets the most coverage since he's the first the OG Robin, but we get awesome tales starring Jason, Tim, Damian and even Stephanie as well. While not every story is mind blowing, each one has a charm and heart that encapsulates what makes each Robin unique.
The first four stories focus on Dick Grayson and each one takes us back to key points in his life. In the first story Marv Wolfman and Tom Grummett take us back to right before Dick gave up being Robin. The best part of this story was watching Dick stand up to Bruce even as he was being pushed out the door, so to speak. But it was the end where Bruce tells the reader that he knew Dick wouldn't leave without that little nudge. It was such a poignant moment and was a perfect beginning to this awesome anthology. The he next few stories touched on his time as Nightwing. We saw his heroics during the time of No Man's Land, his time with the adult Titans and even his time as Agent 37. At the heart of all of those we see that no matter what guise he bears, he will always be one of the greatest heroes DC has ever seen. My favorite of those 3 was seeing Chuck Dixon and Scott McDaniel return to the character. If you haven't read their Nightwing run, I highly recommend it.
Judd Winick and Dustin Nguyen bring us, in my opinion, the most heartfelt story in this book. We get a touching tale of a young Jason that rebuilds an old watch for Bruce's birthday. The kicker, is that its Thomas Wayne's watch. As Jason tells Bruce that the watch is not quite ready, he asks if he can give it to him when it's perfect, which takes us to present day. We see Jason leave the watch in the Batmobile, as Bruce discovers it and says thank you aloud you cant help but smile. This story proves that no matter what, Jason will always have a place in the Batfam.
Next up is Tim Drake, my favorite Robin. Don't get me wrong, Dick Grayson is one of my favorite characters but I prefer him as Nightwing. Anyways back to Tim. The first story, by Adam Beechen & Freddie E. Williams II, sees Tim talking to a guidance counselor about his future. I love the way it juxtaposed his time as Robin as it discusses his future. Plus it was nice to go back to that time in his life, which was one of my favorite runs. The next story, which was my favorite of the whole book, takes place shortly before Tynion's Detective Comics run. He, along with Javier Fernandez, take Tim on journey of self discovery. As he tries to find his place in the Batfamily, he seeks advice from Dick, Jason and even Damian. Each one imparts some wisdom that helps him realize how unique and important his is to their "family". It serves as a perfect epilogue to Tynion's run and shows the writers unabashed love for Tim.
Amy Wolfram and Damion Scott take us back to a much simpler time in the DCU, when Stephanie was a Robin. While it was brief, it was still an unforgettable run and led to some great stories. This particular tale shows Steph shortly after she took up the mantle and gets her new costume. The banter between her and Bruce was just as good as I remember it. While she wasn't always the most gifted Robin, she definitely ingratiated herself to Bruce and warmed his otherwise cold demeanor.
The last 2 stories focus on Damian. The first is a Super Sonsbstor told through the eyes of Jon Kent. Tomasi and Jimenez showcase what makes this friendship so special. How 2 people with very conflicting upbringings/personalities can come together and form such an unbreakable bond. Finally, we end on a story that ties into the current events happening in TEEN TITANS. With Damian somewhat estranged from his father, Bruce is unaware of Damians actions agaisnt the villain community. We see through narration, how each of them has conflicting opinions on how they feel about each other. While Bruce knows something is up, he cant quite figure it out,which is a testament to Damian's skill. While I haven't been following Damian's story in TT, this Robbie Thompson/Ramon Villalobos story definitely makes me want to see more.
Overall, I have to say that DC has been putting out some quality Anniversary books. This was probably my favorite, tied with FLASH #750. If these are any indication, then we're in for some awesome stories in the Catwoman, Joker and Green Lantern specials. Kudos to every creator on this book, you all honored the Robins and gave all Robin fans around the world a reason to rejoice.