Fabian Nicieza settles into his role as the writer of "Red Robin" by having Red Robin do his dirty work for him. Plopping Tim Drake down in front of a computer terminal, Nicieza has the young detective vicariously pound out the following list:
- Figure out where to live
- Figure out what to do
- Figure out how to do it
- Figure out who to do it with
- Figure out who to do it against
Right there is the basic premise behind "Red Robin" #13. Nicieza has the young protector of Gotham set up to be a different kind of hero than what Gotham is accustomed to. It's a refreshing take from the grim and grit of the current comics market. Red Robin has the levity of a Spider-Man-type character while being firmly grounded in the lush environs of the Bat-universe.
Marcus To continues as the artist of the book, and this issue is one of the best yet. To's characters act through their body language and expressions, at once reminding me of Tom Grummett's work on "Robin" years ago while forging ahead to be something quite different. To's detail helps Gotham breathe, and helps Red Robin and his supporting cast feel grounded, no matter how amazingly unbelievable the world around them becomes.
Over the course of this issue, Red Robin accomplishes three of the tasks on his to-do list. Or so it seems. In doing so, Nicieza enables Tim Drake, making Drake a more viable character capable of adventures worth reading. This is Nicieza's first issue, but it's a first issue that offers a great deal to readers -- new, old, and once-forgotten.
The cover puts forth the image of Red Robin assembling a hit list and knocking it down. Being able to draw from Batman's Rogues Gallery adds a little more panache to the hit list, but the concept, itself, is inviting to readers looking for an "in."
I'm not overly keen on the name (here in Michigan, it's a restaurant chain with a jingle my kids pipe in whenever I mention this title) but I am keen on the goings-on between the covers of this title. It was enjoyable before Nicieza came on board, now this title seems poised to be heroic. Red Robin isn't going to do things the Dark Knight way. He's going to brighten things up, and I'm looking forward to it.