on 16 March 2010
Robin: Year One isn't the origin story that the title implies it to be. Unlike Green Arrow: Year One, and Batman: Year One, this book isn't about how Dick Grayson became Robin (for that story you'll have to read Batman: Dark Victory. This story concerns the first major development in Robin's relationship with Batman, and Dick Grayson's relationship with Bruce Wayne.
Opening to the first page of the book you could be forgiven for thinking that this book was written for kids. The art hits you straight away as being extremely cartoony. Gone are the threatening shadows and harsh faces of Batman: Year One, The Man Who Laughs, The Long Halloween, and Dark Victory. More than anything it reminds you slightly of the Batman Animated Series of the early 90s, though the images never feel like there's much movement them. You see the motion lines, but the images don't show much energy in them. Added to that there's very often some difficulty in understanding the images because of the hugh amount of shadows, particularly towards the end.
The story however belies that. Moving swiftly between the first act, involving a child prositution ring and the Mad Hatter, to the second act involving Robin's first, extremely violent and shocking, confrontation with Two-Face and to act three, which I won't spoil. The art doesn't quite gel with the story. The character development between Robin and Batman is dealt with extremely well, and just as importantly, Dick and Bruce's relationship. Added to this you have the fact that the book's narrator is non-other than the silent, loyal Alfred Pennyworth. His father figure stature in the Batman universe is really developed here in a big way, and you really can't help but feel for his dilemma of watching his two adopted sons give up their lives for a thankless crusade for justice. The book isn't about the story, it's all about these three characters, fighting the good fight as best they can.
Ultimately the book is a good one. It's a good addition to the Batman series and is a great addition to those looking for a sequel to Dark Victory. As I've said, the book isn't perfect, the art doesn't seem to fit too well, and often appears a dull and flat. But the story more than makes up for this, and it's a very good story.
on 27 August 2012
Robin Year One is an extremely good read. The story follows Dick Grayson's first year as Robin and his first tragic encounter with Two-Face and the fall out. I thought the storyline was excellent, loved how the characters were showcased and the artwork was gorgeous; sepia toned old school that they just don't do in an age of comics where all the characters look depressingly dark and broody. Give me the old school artwork any day! Alfred narrates the story which is a lovely touch, as he's a character that's so central to the Batman universe but rarely gets time in the spotlight; and the man is darned funny with that dry, caustic wit!
Only quibble is that sometimes the font used to depict Alfred's handwriting is hard to read, very squiggly cursive. Overall though, Robin Year One rates as one of my favourite comics ever.
on 21 May 2015
A great start for Dick Grayson in this book. Initially i looked at the book with its ugly and rather childish looking front cover and had a pretty low expectation. But after reading it through i found myself pleasantly surprised.
The story consists of Robin in his amateur year as he and Batman adjust to working with each other. Battling the like of the Mad Hatter, Two-Face and then a splinter group of League of Assassins trainees. The story itself is well presented as Dick deals with a double life better than Bruce ever has, its almost heart warming to see the young lad living a normal life by day, chatting up girls, playing sports and going to school and then kicking ass as robin of an evening. Instead of cheesy and hammy story writing it all fits together really well with Robin initially thinking the whole hero gig is easy as he battles hacks like Killer Moth, his over confidence is his down fall and when he comes across a real psychopath (Two-Face) things take a dark and violent turn for the worse. Its a great shift of tone as previously you feel safe and confident in the team of Batman and Robin then all of a sudden the whole dynamic changes and Batman has to really have an objective think about what hes using this young boy for and the real danger hes putting him in. Followers of the Nightwing comics and graphic novels will also notice the introduction of Boone/Shrike who Robin will have to fight again in his later years as Nightwing. Overall the story is really addictive it has a slowish start with very little peril but picks up after the first quarter into a real good read.
The characters are written in well with emotional depth, especially Alfred who journals his thoughts and feelings throughout and has a logical and objective outlook from the very beginning. Batman whos cheered up from previous novels at the beginning of this book, returns to dark and brooding half way through after the encounter with Two-Face, its good to see him venting emotions such as concern over Dick and questioning himself over his motives to train him.
The art is neat and tidy but a little too cartoony for my personal preference, its not a work of art but it does the job and tells the story clearly portraying what it needs to portray and little else.
I would definitely recommend this book to Robin fans and even solo Batman fans as this book does manage to incorporate a certain edge of realism when the going gets tough
This book collects Robin: Year One #1 - #4
on 26 February 2014
Unlike the Batman year one story this book picks up with Dick Grayson already being Robin. For the Origin story see Dark Victory. What we have here are tales from the 1st few adventures Robin has with Batman as his sidekick.
The writing is excellent , particularly the ongoing narrative provided by Alfreds journal entries, though the squiggly font style used for the journal is not particularly reader friendly. As the cover shows the art style throughout is a older style with a smaller colour palette but it really works here.
It's interesting to see Robin grow in to the role, taking on minor jokey villains like Killer-moth, while the story is self aware enough to comment on the lameness of these villains. It's when two-face enters the fray that things get serious and the fact robin is a young boy playing with murderous villains hits home.
Jim Gordons concern over an adolescent as Batmans partner is well judged and there's a great little moment right at the end with a cameo from Barbara Gordon.
Overall this fits in well as a more modern introduction of the 1st Robin into the Batman year one era universe. I would recommend to all bat fans.
on 6 July 2013
Robin: Year One is a great follow up to 'Dark Victory' and 'The Gauntlet', exploring Dick Grayson's early encounters with Mad Hatter, Two-Face and Mr. Freeze. The artwork is reminiscent of Year One, although brighter and more vibrant (I suppose to reflect the youthful optimism of Dick Grayson compared to his mentor's brooding moodiness). Loved this book. Full marks.
on 26 January 2009
This book more or less picks up from where Batman: Dark Victory ended. Young Grayson has helped Batman catch a criminal is now a side-kick. This volume deals with Robin's training. What I liked most was the portrayal of Dick Grayson attempting to balance his school life and that of being a nocturnal crime-fighter.
The art work is similar to that utilised in Batman Year One so lots of solid inking and bold outlines. I suppose this really makes the story feel like it is continuing the great work initiated by Frank Miller.
It also touches upon Robins first confrontation with Harvey Dent, which will haunt the young lad for the rest of his life. Overall, it is a fitting start to Robin's career, and nicely ends with the introduction of the future Batgirl.
on 20 August 2004
This is less an origin story than a story from the early years of Robin's career.
It gives some interesting insight into Dick Graysons life away from Robin, with his school and life at Wayne Manor being featured. Two-Face makes a memorable appearance, and the relationship between Jim Gordon and 'The Boy Wonder' is explored.
As someone who is more familiar with his "Nightwing" persona than Robin I found the history to be a very useful addition to my collection of 'bat-stories.'
The art is more stylistic than life-like. Not at all like Frank Millar's "Batman: Year One." This suits the subject though, Robin was always the more colourful character.
This is an enjoyable story, and would lead quite nicely into a reading of "Batgirl: Year One" as they have a similar art, style and mood.