The opening of the Robin War crossover has some fun moments and poignant allegory but even being oversized, it still feels like it’s trying to cram way too much into a single issue. It ends up being a story that is messy and all over the place with little to latch onto.
Robin War starts off with one of the self identified Robins accidentally killing a police officer and the city council overreacting by outlawing all Robin related clothing. From there it becomes an everything and the kitchen sink situation. In addition to the Robin gang of DC’s excellent We Are Robin series, Robin War features Damian, Red Hood, Red Robin, Grayson, Jim Gordon Batman, the Court Of Owls, Talon and a twist at the end that’s rendered a mute point for anybody that’s paid attention to Grayson solicitations. Writer Tom King does his best to add poignancy and character work to the story and he manages some great moments. There’s a particular part where Duke get’s arrested for wearing red sneakers and ultimately escapes with some great shit talking for good measure that’s particularly entertaining in a very Tom King way. Yet, those moments are few and far between for a plot that feels like it’s only reason for progression is to add more character’s to the issue and does little to utilize King’s skill in creative story structure that’s marked his work on Grayson, Omega Men and The Vision. Not helping is the many illustrators and colorists of varying quality spread throughout the comic that gives the book a disjointed feeling. Using different artists in a single issue can be a strength when applied properly as a means of shifting perspective or settings but here, it just feels like it’s patch-worked with no overarching connection and that ultimately hurts in the visual narration.
Robin War may end up reading better once it get’s into the individual crossover issues and can give the story some breathing room but in it’s debut, it feels bloated and by the numbers while lacking in any kind of story beyond it’s premise.