Overview: In Knight Terrors: Robin #1, Robin (Tim Drake) and Red Hood (Jason Todd) find themselves reliving their worst moments in a nightmare while the rest of the world is fast asleep.
Synopsis (Spoilers ahead): Oracle (Barbara Gordon) is calling Robin (Tim Drake). He is in the Gotham City shopping mall fighting heavily armed thieves. Despite taking a bullet through his cape, he insists that he is fine and that Barbara should check on someone who may need it.
She contacts Red Hood (Jason Todd), who is reloading his sidearms. Barbara tells them that he is going to face an entire platoon of mercenaries. She can send the Batgirls or Robin to back him up. He disconnects his com without saying a single word. He is going to handle this situation on his own.
At the same time, Robin on his bike and Red Hood see a strange energy wave in the sky. They are both overcome by the wave, and together, they end up in a strange dreamscape. Neither one quite knows where they are, but they do not think they are in another universe. It even appears that their surroundings are constantly changing. Robin suggests that they are dreaming and Hood decides to test this theory by slapping Tim in the face. As a result, Robin spits out all his teeth in pain. Even with the pain, he surmises that they are in a dream state because he can still talk despite having no teeth. Having all the teeth fall out is a common nightmare. The danger is that since they can feel pain, they can die in this world. Just then, their surroundings change into a graveyard and both men are grabbed by their ankles and pulled into separate caverns.
Robin recognizes his surroundings, he is in the kitchen of his father’s home in Gotham, the day he died. Tim checks the calendar on the refrigerator and hears his father call for help. Robin pulls out his boa staff and races to the voices.
Elsewhere, Jason walks down a strange corridor. He tries to call out to Tim but instead hears a ghostly voice saying that his friend is in just as much trouble as he is. Just then he is hit in the head by a crowbar.
Robin, in his own nightmare, finds the bodies of Captain Boomerang and his father along with the sound of maniacal laughter. A twisted version of Robin in chains and holding boomerangs appears, taunting him. He taunts Tim about how he keeps letting everyone down. Tim was never drafted; he just walked into his role as a Robin. This nightmare self then asks Tim why he is so bad at it. Tim refuses to answer this monstrosity, and the thing snaps his fingers and says that he just has to run it again. Tim is going to have to keep reliving this moment until his heart stops.
Jason regains consciousness and sees that he is facing a monstrous version of himself with a crowbar for a finger. He picks up his gun and shoots the thing with a rubber bullet, knocking it out. He does not need the help of Batman or anyone else. Just then, he hears the voice of his mother calling for his forgiveness, The Joker killed her little boy and made her do it. Then three monstrosities like the first one rise, and Jason squares off for a fight.
Robin continues to get to his father too late and witnesses the two bodies. Robin tries to take the fight to the twisted version of himself, but the brute quickly knocks him over. He accepts the hand of Batgirl (Stephanie Brown) helping him up. She is joined by Batman (Bruce Wayne, Nightwing (Dick Grayson), and Batgirl (Cassandra Cain). Stephanie tells Tim that they are not here to help him but to end this. The four run to the voices, and when Robin reaches them, he finds them all dead. The twisted Robin tells Tim that he cannot even keep those closest to him alive. He runs to his room and hides on his bed while he hears the bloodshed outside. All the while the twisted version of him taunts him about his failure. He somehow hears Jason and tells his partner that they have to get out of here. We see Jason is now surrounded by hundreds of the crowbar-wielding versions of himself. He is at the end of his line.
Analysis: The art for this is fantastic. Robin, Nightwing, and the more human characters appear normal while the otherworldly monstrosities of Robin and Red Hood appear horrific. The twisted version of Red Hood is colored a death gray with the only real color being the reds in his hood, chest emblem, and torn vest. They depicted him as huge and very veiny. Similarly the twisted version of Robin is shown with only shades of gray with a skeletal-looking head symbolizing death itself. This is very appropriate as both of these characters represent the deadliest parts of the histories of Tim Drake and Jason Todd.
I loved the use of these two periods of time to mess with the heads of the heroes. The death of Tim’s dad is an especially horrific time in Drake’s life. In the original story of this scene, Identity Crisis, the most telling panel was showing Robin finding the bodies and collapsing in Batman’s arms. Here Tim is forced to relive this scenario over and over again, even being forced to witness the deaths of some of the most important members of the Bat-Family as well, all because of his perceived failure.
Likewise, the initial death of Jason Todd in the story of A Death in the Family is the point of Jason’s story that sent him to where he is now as the anti-hero Red Hood. In this scene, Jason faced his own death multiplying exponentially in front of him with no way to stop it.
It appears that the only way out for either of these characters may be to somehow switch scenarios. Maybe then they can escape this nightmare alive.
Editor’s Note: DC Comics provided TBU with an advanced 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.