Red Robin #4 is the end of the grail story arc, and with the end of comic book story lines you do expect to get some resolve to a story. Does Red Robin follow this method? Yes and no. The best way to start this review is to recap issue 1-3 to get you up to date. Tim thinks Bruce isn’t dead, Tim meets Ra’s Al Ghul and they start a partnership, Lucius Fox’s daughter looks for Tim, Tim looks for Bruce, and the reader is left looking for the plot.
The only question this issue answers is what happened after Tim found out Dick was going to be Batman, and the answer to that is, tell Dick to leave him to prove Bruce isn’t dead, and that he needs to do this alone. Dick understands and lets Tim drive off into the sunset, and hopefully this puts an end to the flashbacks of the days after battle for the cowl.
The only real issues I have with this comic are that no questions are truly answered and that Tim and Red Robin still look like two different people, Tim in the first few pages, looks no older than a scrawny 15 year old, whereas Red Robin looks to be twice Tim’s size and build. The other is the overuse of the cuts between scenes, we have a one page scene in Berlin with Ms Fox looking for Tim, for reasons we still are not told, and maybe Chris Yost is using her as a take on the editor telling him to stop using so many cuts.
The comic goes at a fast pace and doesn’t let you take a breath. It feels like this comic was meant to be read in under five minutes, like the Flash was writing it, till you get to the scene where Red Robin is sitting in a car with Prudence, or as Red Robin in his inner monologue calls her “Pru” the soldier known as “Z” and other pointless character “Owens”. This scene is of the four teenagers sitting in a car and laughing about how Pru’s nose got broken by the demon, for saying he needed some sun. This scene felt really out of place, and like it was ripped from a teen movie, I was half expecting Tim to pull out an iPod from his belt and start to play “Smash Mouth's All Star” while we take an overhead view of the car with the cave they are driving towards.
We end the issue with a weird out of place character from “Spiders” called “The Widower” beating up the team of misfits and killing one of them and gravely wounding the rest, including Red Robin, leaving them to lie in the desert and bleed to death. Just before this, Tim finds the cave Bruce was in at the end of Final Crisis and takes this that Bruce is still out there, how does Tim know this was Bruce, or even if it was Bruce after the events of Final Crisis? He just does, well that’s what Yost wants us to think.
The art here, just like previous issues, is solid. I am going to be sorry to see him move onto Azrael, but at the same time I won’t miss his inconsistent take between Tim Wayne and Red Robin change.
Yost’s writing is good when he is not trying to throw you all over the place, but this is just an averagely written issue. It seemed to be tying up Tim’s links to Gotham and saying “But look what we have coming in the future.” Yost had to do these two things, and he pulls it off quite well, just nothing special enough to make me say I can’t wait for next month’s issue, even if, Tim is dying from a stab wound in the desert.
So a good issue if you’re reading Red Robin already, but if you’re not already reading Red Robin, and don’t feel like reading the previous issues, then give this a miss. But if you’re reading Red Robin and you like Yost’s take on Tim, then you will enjoy this comic.
Red Robin #4:
Reviewed by Suavestar