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Red Robin #11

by  in Comic Reviews Comment
Red Robin #11

Since the first couple of story arcs in “Red Robin” stayed largely out of Gotham and away from the Bat-Family in general, it’s good to finally see some of the supporting cast members showing up properly. Not only is this a four-part crossover with Batgirl, but it’s also the first time Tim meets Dick and Damian since he left Gotham in a huff a few months back. That, right there, is reason enough to get excited about this issue.
It also means that even if there’s nothing especially compelling about the overall arc (which, although it works well as the “final act” for Yost’s 12-issue run, really boils down to little more than “excuse for a big fight”) there’s at least the well-written character interaction and guest appearances, which make it work better than it probably should. Damian and Tim’s relationship is always fun to read, as is Dick and Tim’s, and Tim and Steph’s — so when you put them all in the same comic, it’s bound to be entertaining.
Although the plot isn’t particularly deep, it pelts onwards at an enjoyable pace which keeps it from feeling too one-dimensional. The fight scenes are well thought-out, and Tam’s interactions with Vicki — in particular, her attempts to dodge a grilling — are the kind of soap-opera developments that make superhero comics fun. Steph’s reaction to Tam’s poorly thought-out deflection is particularly hilarious, and works both as a moment on its own, and as setup for a future scene where Tim will doubtlessly have to deal with the fallout. It makes you look forward to what’s coming next, even though it’s fairly clear that Ra’s al Ghul isn’t actually going to triumph over all the people he’s got in his sights in a spinoff Batman title, of all places.
Marcus To’s artwork is generally strong. While the approach itself is a bit “DC house style,” the storytelling is flawless and the composition excellent, particularly in the double-page spread of the trio fighting the assassins, which manages to give each character a unique snapshot of their individual battle without making them seem disconnected. Overall, To’s work is more concerned with servicing the story rather than showing off itself, and that’s always a quality worth praising in any artist.
Yost’s run on “Red Robin” has been consistently enjoyable, and with only one more issue to go (following the final part of this story in “Batgirl”) things are coming full circle in a satisfying way. It might not be a high-profile series, but it’s a fun slice of super-hero fiction that recognizes its strengths and plays to them.