Red Robin #9

Story by
Art by
Marcus To, Ray McCarthy
Colors by
Guy Major
Letters by
Sal Cipriano
Cover by
DC Comics

I haven't been financially or emotionally invested in the Bat-books for quite some time, but based on the enjoyment I've found with the "Batgirl" title recently, I thought I'd give this one a go. After all, Stephanie "Batgirl" Brown and Tim "Red Robin" Drake have a history, so it seemed like a good place to continue exploring the "new" Batverse.

Returning to Gotham City from his adventures abroad, Tim finds things very much the same and dramatically different from when he was last in Gotham. The issue opens with a bank heist committed by Killer Moth. Fearful of a Ray Palmer-"Cry for Justice" nasal beatdown, the Moth panics about Red Robin being connected to the Atom, which sets Tim's mind off on a different path. It's a nice little knot of continuity there, no matter how one feels about the events of those other titles.

Yost does a good job combining the youthful exuberance of the former Robin with the tempered grimness Drake has chosen to project. Through Tim's thoughts, this issue takes us into the stream of consciousness that bounces around the mind of a teenaged crimefighter with enjoyable results.

Marcus To and Ray McCarthy match that exuberance with art that is open and detailed without being mired in minutiae. I wasn't very familiar with To's work prior to this assignment, but what I've seen here is well suited for this title. I would like to see some consistency to the design of Tim's cowl though, particularly in the nose. To's style, combined with the brisk pace of this book, remind me of the Tom Grummett era of Tim Drake's first ongoing series.

Guy Major's colors bring it all to life and make this book an heroically bright escapade filled with the hues to set the rods and cones on end, between the glaring red of Red Robin's gear to the orange-purple-green garishness of the Killer Moth's costume.

This issue is a pretty decent jumping on point for those looking for a connection to the Batman universe. Not only do you get Red Robin beating up a lesser known villain, but two guest stars bringing some compelling emotion to the former Boy Wonder's adventures while setting up future coolness. Reflecting the events of previous issues, Ra's al Ghul surfaces in this issue, offering a threat against Tim -- a threat that sends Tim scrambling for help. I'm interested enough to see who comes to help Red Robin.

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