Book Review – Robin: Search For A Hero by Fabian Nicieza, Freddie Williams II and Joe Bennett

Title: Robin: Search For A Hero

Author: Fabian Nicieza, Freddie Williams II and Joe Bennett

Format: Paper Back

Published: 2009

 

In my journey into the world of Batman and Comic books I’ve come to two conclusions, 1.  I have an obsession with Tim 2. I am practically destined to read the story in reverse order.  If you have been following my adventures in the world of Batman following the character Tim, you know I started toward the end by reading the Red Robin series before slipping back and reading Battle for the Cowl which occurs just before the start of Red Robin.  Well I stumbled upon a Robin comic book that focuses on Tim and it was an instant must read for me because it featured my favorite young detective Tim Drake Wayne.  It turns out that this random Robin book is the precursor to Battle for the Cowl.

 

When first looking at the book I admit I wasn’t that amazed by the art work.  I found the work of Marcus To in the Red Robin comics to be far superior. The position of Robin’s mask changed depending on the angle that he is drawn and the lines are a lot more angular and rough.  I admit I wasn’t sure on the book because of that alone but as I delved into the story the short comings of the art work were quickly forgotten.  This store quickly drew me in and I found myself having a hard time putting it down.

 

The story of Search for a Hero is about the fall out of what happens when Batman is gone.  Nightwing is left to deal with the major villains such as Penguin and Two Face while Robin found himself in charge of dealing with the up and rising gangs.  In addition to trying to control such a volatile group Robin has to face issues with betrayal from people that he has trusted in the past, facing off against Jason Todd a former Robin as well as someone parading around as Red Robin and a young man that wants to become his own personal Joker.  Everything seems to be unraveling and doing so quickly for Tim and you wonder how he is going to get through it all.

 

I was gripped by the mystery and intrigue of the story.  Also the humor that is played throughout the story was phenomenal as well.  The humor wasn’t over the top where I was rolling with giggles nor was it under played, it was woven in beautifully with the story and didn’t break the pace ever but had me actually laughing out loud a bit.  I think the best reference was when Tim compared the three Robins to the Brady sisters.

 

Overall, I truly enjoyed the read and will happily give this comic book a 4 out 5 pages and recommend this as a good read for any Robin or Tim fan.  In general it is a good story and it doesn’t expect you to know everything as most everything is explained in the story.

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Book Review – Batman: Battle for the Cowl by Tony S. Daniel

Title:  Batman: Battle for the Cowl

Author:  Tony S. Daniel

Published: 2009

Format: Paperback

 

I will admit that I am reading this particular story arch rather backwards.  I started with Red Robin (which has become my obsession) who was searching for Batman because he didn’t believe he had died.  I have now branched out to read the store of the after math following Batman’s death that precursors Tim’s search for the Dark Knight.

In this story the “bat family” have enlisted and called upon the help of other super heroes to help keep Gotham in lines as it had turned to turmoil since the disappearance of Batman.  As the city and the super heroes try to recoup things continue to spiral downward through the void left by the lack of Batman.  These problems strongly indicate that there is a need for a new man to step up and take the mantle of Batman and stand for what he stood for.

Yet in this story the question remains as who?  The logical response would be for Nightwing aka Dick Grayson the first Robin to take the mantle but he is hesitant and while he hesitates, Tim Drake steps up to don the cowl as there is a need and there is another deranged being who has tried to take on the mantle of Batman but with a rather loose interpretation of Batman’s morals such as killing criminals rather than arresting them and using guns.  The question then sits who is this new poser as Batman, can the super heroes stop this man and keep Gotham in one piece as a gang war breaks out among many other near disastrous moments?

I admit that as I was reading this comic I was constantly turning from one page to the next to the next review pages over and over again taking in the great artwork and the meaning of what was going on.  This was a powerful story that I know I will probably read again.  My biggest complaint and is that there were characters in this story that I am less familiar with such as Squire.  I think it is cool that other super heroes came to help and I love the idea but my knowledge is limited to the world of batman.  There wasn’t major history that I needed and though I may not know anything about Squire I could still follow along with story and it really wasn’t a big problem.

Over all I would give this story a 4 out of 5.

 

BONUS

 

Title: Gotham Gazette

Author: Fabian Nicieza

Published: 2009

Format:  Paperback

 

At the end of Battle for the cowl was a bonus story called Gotham Gazette.  When I hit this particular story I was given pause as the art style and storytelling changed.  Additionally there was a strong focus on several tertiary characters to the Gotham and Batman story so I have very little reference point to work from which made the story rather confusing to me.  I read it any way as a lot of it was some of the after math to what happened in Battle for the Cowl.

 

This story was a lot more difficult to get through save for at the end when the characters I know such as Tim and Dick made an appearance it helped set up a bit for the Red Robin series.  Additionally toward the end the story was also leading to someone figuring out the Bat secret and that to me is an interesting story arch but it didn’t delve far into it leaving me almost hanging.  The story ended well and I understand it ending but it was disappointing for me to get interested in a plot that ends a bit prematurely and is carried on a bit in a different story.

 

Over all, I think I would give this bonus content a low three out of five pages.  It wasn’t bad enough for a two though I found the art style to be a bit odd and drab and the story to be a bit flat but it wasn’t terrible and it did give me some entertainment and helped to set up for the future stories that I have already read.

Book Review – Red Robin: 7 Days of Death by Fabian Nicieza, Marcus To & Ray McCarthy

Title:  Red Robin: 7 Days of Death

Author/Illustrator:  Fabian Nicieza, Marcus To, Ray McCarthy

Format: Paperback

Written: 2012

After my first taste of Red Robin I knew I didn’t have enough, there was more to read and it had to be read because by far I have fallen in love with the character Timothy Drake.  I have always been a fan of Batman and the whole concept behind him and Red Robin is a branch off from the Batman story with a character that I can really sink my teeth into.  Tim is a character who is skilled in what he does and very cerebral and I love a cerebral character and thus Tim is my kind of character, particularly when you toss in a bit of a tormented soul which is what Tim is, but what Batman type character isn’t a little bit tormented?

Any way I picked up 7 Days of Death because it was simply sitting on the shelf with the other Red Robin comics that I have already reviewed and I picked it up and started delving in to find out half way through that I’m missing a whole collection that I need to read and might explain some things to set up for this book but it was still a good read all the same.  My biggest complaint is that the story jumped all over the place and one minute Tim is following X bad guy and his problems and then next thing I know he’s fighting Y bad guy and I was having trouble seeing connections save for maybe the idea that everything was loosely connected and this was a smattering of various adventures on the part of Tim.

Despite the jumping around I still enjoyed the read and the art work is strong and well done capturing the imagination and keeping my attention along with the words.  As I read through this book I found different directions I might want to travel in my comic reading.  I love the characters and they are what speak to me and hold my attention.  There are times when I found myself laughing and other points where I found myself wanting more to know more – where does Tim go next?  Sadly my last question I fear will not be answered as the Red Robin series that I have come to enjoy so much were some of the last comics produced before DC decided to transfer over to the new 52 universe – I have heard some bad things about it and would like to stay away from the new 52 at this time but I have a great deal of back log to read that will keep me entertained for hours.

I will advise that this comic book is not for children really as there is some partial nudity it grapples with various dark concepts as is the nature of batman along with a few other mature topics and ideas.  Overall, I would give this comic a three out of five page review and say it is best suited for Tim and Batman fans.

Book Review – Red Robin: Collision by Christ Yost, Marcus To, and Ray McCarthy

Title:  Red Robin: Collision

Author/Illustrator: Chris Yost, Marcus To and Ray McCarthy

Format:  Paperback

Publication: 2010

 

After reading Red Robin: The Grail it is no question that I would have to read the continuation of the story.  It was a good story but not as good as the first half.  I admit that this book is where my friend deviates and that is okay even if I love my friend’s reinterpretation of what would happen to Tim.  Still the story was good all the same and I enjoyed it just not as much as The Grail.  I think it threw me off because there was the incorporation of a lot of characters that I was less familiar with and in the middle of the story was an insertion of Bat Girl 8.  It made sense to have that issue of Bat girl as it fit right in with the story but at the same time it wasn’t my cup of tea Bat Girl simply does not hold my attention as well as Tim Drake as Red Robin does.  I also feel with Bat Girl a bit of back story would have helped this issue of Bat Girl come more to life.  These things don’t break the book but they certainly detracted something for me.

 

All the same the art work for this book was amazing and I did still love the story.  I do strongly recommend that if you want to read this book to read The Grail first before picking this one up and maybe even pick up the appropriate bat girl.  Maybe even pick up a few issues of Batman with Tim Drake as Robin as this story called a whole lot more back story than the last one did.  It was still easy enough to follow as  my friend talked about the back stories with me a bit but it was still difficult at times.

 

Despite my issues with this book, I did find there were a few more laughable moments where I was having to curb my laughter as I was in a public setting when reading and for those alone in some respects make the book a worthy read.  I think my favorite moment was  page 120 at the bottom “Holy crap” the expression drawn on Tim’s face was priceless to me.  Though I didn’t find the book to be as good as The Grail I will still give this book a 4 out of 5 page review.

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