Overview: In Robin #15, Robin (Damian Wayne), Batman, and Talia al Ghul all deal with the fallout of the Lazarus Tournament and Shadow War.
Synopsis (spoilers ahead): Robin #15 begins long ago, on a submarine during a storm at sea, Damian Wayne faced a choice between Batman and Talia al Ghul. Now, the DEO offers Talia a deal in the aftermath of Shadow War.
Damian returns to Gotham, fighting the Red Triangle Gang of clowns. After beating the first wave, Damian is surrounded, but Batman, Nightwing, Robin (Tim Drake), and the Batgirls (Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain) arrive, making short work of the gang.
Later, the family enjoys a pizza party (with Damian chowing down on veggie gluten-free, much to Steph’s disgust). They talk about Damian’s adventures over the past year – Cass saying she would have won the Lazarus Tournament – but Babs finds out that Talia escaped the DEO. Batman and Robin (Damian) investigate, finding Director Cameron Chase with bruises and a clear exit for Talia. Chase finds herself alone, as is common in conversations with Batman and Robin. The Dynamic Duo find Talia on a dock, and Damian breaks apart a simmering fight between his mother and father. He pleads with them to get along for his sake and persuades Bruce to let Talia escape. We see her changing into a new green and yellow costume, with a green and gold car marked in the colors and symbols of the League of Lazarus, as part of her deal with Director Chase, so the DEO will leave Damian alone.
Damian meets Connor Hawke on Lazarus Island, telling his new friend of a plan to turn the island into a refuge for kids chewed up and spit out by the battle between heroes and villains. His dream is interrupted by Lord Death Man washing ashore, saying that Flatline is trying to kill him.
Analysis: Fresh off the news that Josh Williamson is leaving the Robin title in two more issues (#17 being his last), Mark Waid writing a Damian vs. Bruce five-issue miniseries, and Megan Fitzmartin starting a new Robin series starring Tim Drake, this final three-issue arc of Damian’s second solo series feels very bittersweet. The bitterness of losing one of the best titles DC is putting out stings because of all of the sweet. Williamson, so uneven in his Batman title writing, has been consistently rock-solid in writing for Damian’s book, and that continues without a hitch in Robin #15. Seamlessly tying together the ongoing plotline from the Robin series, the fallout from the destruction of Shadow War, and the various other places Damian and his supporting cast have been showing up throughout the DC Universe, Williamson also manages to throw in great comic book moments of craft and wonderful character moments. The gag with a huge crowd of clowns coming out of a tiny car is funny, and though very silly, fits with the zany, high-energy feeling of the whole book. The Bat-Family reunion, with so many character notes, and references compressed in just a few pages that really give the sense of the warmth and complexities of the relationships between these characters, is a huge high point in the series (as the Rumble of the Robins in issue #5 also proved). Damian attempting to broker peace with his parents (brilliantly done, though only time will tell if Williamson’s efforts will have any lasting effect given that he’s leaving the book) and Talia’s fate remains quite mysterious currently.
Roger Cruz, though not as energetic or distinctive as original main artist for the series Gleb Melnikov, nonetheless remains a very good fit for the title, mimicking Melnikov’s style enough so that the book has a solid look, while not being nearly as inferior a match as the shift from Jorge Jimenez to Carlos Barberi in the Super Sons title. Luis Guerrero colors the book with a nice sense of the drama and flair that distinguishes Gotham, Lazarus Island, and the other locations Damian visits throughout. All in all, though not necessarily the flashiest book on the stands visually, it’s still very, very well put together artistically, and well rewards an eye to detail, especially if your favorite characters happen to show up!
DC produced four covers for Robin #15. The main cover, by interior artist Roger Cruz, provides a nice thematic image of Batman, Talia (in her snazzy new-to-this-series white corset assassin costume) and Damian Robin as a family portrait, transfixed by a dagger, and shadowed by fighting shadows. Simone di Meo provides the main cardstock variant, featuring Damian in front of a mysterious looking jungle mountain, with di Meo’s trademark framing devices and neon lighting giving the image a lot of dynamic feeling. Mario Fox Foccillo’s incentive cover features a graffiti-style exaggerated kiss between Robin and Flatline, with anime-nervous-sweating Batman and Lord Death Man looking on. Lastly, Lynne Yoshii paints the Pride variant with Connor Hawke, in muted dark colors as Robin and Hawke jump from a great height, ready for a fight.
Editor’s Note: DC Comics provided TBU with a copy of this comic for review purposes. You can find this comic and help support TBU in the process by purchasing this issue digitally on Comixology through Amazon or a physical copy of the title through Things From Another World.