Red Robin #23 is the start of a new storyline called “7 Days of Death” and it certainly starts off with a bang. In his civilian guise Tim is rebuilding crime alley, and as Red Robin, he is trying to take care of a criminal assassin syndicate run by someone called the Scarab.
Tim has to take several risky moves in this issue, involving Lucius Fox who he has to set up to take a shot from the Scarab in the middle of meeting in Little Asia in Gotham while having a meeting with a Hong Kong businessman named Lau. Sound familiar?
Before I go any further I might as well just say, this is followed up by Tim telling Tam that Lucius was killed, which again seems like a homage to The Dark Knight, which leads me to believe this is all a set up to make sure Lucius’s family are secure and away from trouble.
Red Robin realizes he needs to find out where the Scarab group is located and takes the Scarab he put in prison several issues back out and takes her on a private plane to Cairo and talks to her all the way about Black Lantern's breath, his name and how he got it, just to annoy her. In a weird way it is quite funny, and when we are told he’s been doing this for five hours, it is kind of funny to think about.
Red Robin and the Scarab then go to an underground hideout where Tim is attacked by the security system and The Scarab runs away down a dark tunnel. Tim then realizes he has been set up as the original Scarab informs her that there was a mission to be done here today, and it had nothing to do with killing Lucius Fox or other prominent figures in Gotham, and everything to do with killing Red Robin, as the issue ends with the original Scarab surrounded by several other people in Scarab costumes. One or two looking a lot like Ultimate Iron Man from Marvel, which was nice to see.
What I didn’t like about this issue? Well not much, it was fast paced, and for the most part entertaining, however it went by so quickly; you go from Tim telling Tam that Lucius is dead in one panel, to Tim busting the Scarab out of prison about a page later. It’s enough to make your head spin.
What I did like? Well first off, the Unternet storyline is done. That’s always a bonus. The writing was well done, and setting the seeds for several things to happen, we are reminded about Lynx being out and about and the ambiguity of her being a undercover Hong Kong cop or not. Also, the rebuilding of Crime Alley, and now the Scarab story and the “Death” of Lucius Fox, and it goes without saying, the fantastic art of Marcus To and inker Ray McCarthy.
This is the series finally getting back on track in my opinion. However, I wouldn’t say this is the most new reader friendly comic out there right now. It is still worth a pick up, and Fabian does try his best to catch readers up to speed. So if you haven’t been reading Red Robin, maybe now is the time to give it a chance.
Red Robin #23:
Reviewed by Austen Beattie