Thursday, 19 July 2018

Cloudy with a Chance of Communication Issues (Robin: Year One by Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty, Javier Pulido, and Robert Campanella)

Dick: "Somebody's gotta help him. Might as well be me." - Robin: Year One, page 14

I was not supposed to read this immediately after I bought it. I had a whole bunch of things that I was supposed to read first (most of which are still unread, by the way), but you know how sometimes you pick something up to flick through and you get sucked in? So, yeah, I think we can all assume that this is a good read. It focuses on the early days of the first Robin, Dick Grayson. The narration is from Alfred's point of view and I think it's safe to say that he's not happy to be watching another kid grow into a vigilante. Somebody should probably warn him that there's more of them coming. He might want to seek alternative employment.

The Good
  • I actually liked Batman in this, so I guess that's something that comes down to how he's written. In this he's not motivated so much by the need for control as he is by the fact that he wants Robin to be safe. I think Batman's at his best as a hero when he's motivated by the need to protect rather than the need to control.
  • Dick's a fun character to read in general simply because he's so damn flippy.
  • Dick apparently attracts mentors in the same way that Bruce attracts angst-ridden young people with family issues. I loved the whole thing with the ninjas, partly because it was so unexpected.  
  • The fact that multiple people call Batman out on the fact that his partner is a teenager.
  • You can already see the communication issues brewing. I was mildly exasperated when Bruce's reaction to Dick running away was that he'd turn up again. I mean, I have no idea how the whole ward thing works, but I was sat there like, "THAT BOY IS LIVING ON THE STREETS. YOU HAVE A DUTY OF CARE..." But I digress. The real issue here is that Dick ran away because he thought that they didn't need him around if he wasn't Robin, and Bruce manages to reinforce that (I hope) without meaning to because Dick is Robin again by the time he returns to the manor and the two of them haven't even had a conversation about why he ran away in the first place.
The Bad
  • My copy unfortunately had some sort of printing error which meant that a number of pages were repeated twice, one after the other. It's probably what cost it the fifth star, to be honest.
  • Alfred's narration is sometimes difficult to read because of the font.
  • The soldier thing always makes me roll my eyes. I'm sorry, but he's taken on a teenager. He can only expect so much. It also feels out of place at the end of this book because it isn't alluded to anywhere else, not even in the way the characters treat each other.
This is a great comic and I'd recommend it to pretty much anyone. 

What was the last book you read that really sucked you in?