Home > DC Comics > Robin #123

Robin #123

February 17, 2004

Quick Rating: Great
Title: Nemesis

Robin and Spoiler face off against Johnny Warlock… and the unthinkable happens.

Writer: Bill Willingham
Pencils: Francisco Rodriguez De La Fuente
Inker: Aaron Sowd
Colors: Guy Major
Letters: Ken Lopez
Editor: Michael Wright
Cover Art: Jason Pearson
Publisher: DC Comics

Now that’s more like it.

For the first two issues of Bill Willingham’s run on this series, I read okay stories, but kept waiting for the big “wow” moment I knew he was capable of. In this issue the waiting paid off big-time. Robin and Spoiler track down the mystically-powered Johnny Warlock. We get a big nasty fight with big fancy consequences.

The consequences are so nasty, in fact, that it seems obvious this issue is laying the groundwork for the much-publicized upcoming story arc in which Tim Drake quits being Robin, abandoning the costume and passing it to someone else. That story could only work if Willingham laid the groundwork and did it right, and this issue he did just that.

The artwork… I owe an apology to Rick Mays, who did the last two issues. I complained then that all of his characters looked like they were of Asian ethnicity. Well, this issue there’s a new penciler, and guess what? The characters still look Asian. So either Batman and Robin’s ethnic backgrounds were retroactively changed and I didn’t get the memo, or the off-model facial features are more likely the work of inker Aaron Sowd. I don’t know if a new inker will be coming into the series when Damian Scott takes over with issue #126, but I rather hope so.

DC has really been pushing the envelope with the graphic violence this issue. Both last week’s Aquaman and this week’s Outsiders featured some pretty nasty, bloody scenes, and this issue gives us the trifecta. This is the only one of those three books that carries a Comics Code stamp, however, and the violence isn’t quite as bad as those other two books, but it’s still sufficiently gruesome in one scene so as to stand out.

That one scene notwithstanding, this issue is heads and shoulders above the first two issues of Willingham’s run. He’s one of the best writers in comics as he proves in Fables every month, and I was really hoping he just needed to get his feet wet before this book started to pick up. With this issue, I think he proves that was the case.

Rating: 9/10

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