Robin #10 (September, 1994)
"Two Birds One Stone"
Story - Chuck Dixon
Pencils - Tom Grummett
Ink - Ray Kryssing
Colors - Adrienne Roy
Letters - Albert DeGuzman
Assistant Editor - Jordan B. Gorfinkel
Editor - Denny O'Neil
Cover Price: $1.50
Going to do a little Zero Hour diving today. Doing a bunch of research on the subject lately for an upcoming Cosmic Treadmill... and I'm on a bit of a Robin kick right now, so this one just seemed like a natural pick.
Before we go on, just wanna say... tomorrow's piece will be the one
I've been going over a few different ideas to make tomorrow's post somewhat special... different issues I want to cover and what not. Guess as long as I'm not struck down by a bolt of lightning or a city bus in the next 24 hours we'll see how it goes...
We open as a crew of thieves, led by Chet "Weasel" Grimes. They are in the midst of a heist for the Vanmeer Oval... a piece worth two million dollars. This Weasel seems to be pretty good at his job, as he's able to get away clean. We shift ahead in time a bit to watch Robin as he gets up close and personal with some of Grimes' associates.
While flippin' and kickin' we learn that Weasel flew the coop and left his pals holding the bag... to which, Robin questions their wisdom... ya know, trusting a dude called Weasel would be pretty high on the "stupid things I've done" list. Then things get really weird...
Now who in the hell is this? From first blush... and comic shop scuttlebutt, I figured this might be my first "official" reading of Jason Todd (more on that later)... The Boys Wonder (Boy Wonders? Boys Wonders?) kayo the last goof, and have themselves a pow-wow by the Redbird. Here, the short-panted Robin (and I'm glad they kept the short pants!) submits to a hand-scan... and we learn that he is actually Dick Grayson!
Before they can become too acquainted, Tim receives word from the police scanner about Weez... which I'm assuming is somehow connected to his mask. Dick doesn't hear anything, but agrees to tag along. I really like seeing the disparity between the Robin costumes and tech. It would/should stand to reason that Tim would have improvements which were not technologically feasible during Dick's days in red.
From here it's a car chase. The Redbird is in hot pursuit of da Weez, and we are afforded an opportunity to eavesdrop on some Robinesque conversation. Tim shares how he became Robin... and Dick starts getting question-happy, asking if he retired and so soon after he hung up the tights that Tim took over. Tim almost divulges that it wasn't Dick he replaced... but catches himself before saying Jason's name.
The Robins's's eventually locate Grimes' car outside the Gotham Aquarium, and decide to go inside to investigate. They follow him up to the shark tanks, however, before they can get a good look... Grimes shoots up the tanks, freeing the finned menaces.
From here we get a brief scene which I'm so happy was included. We watch as Dick gracefully and acrobatically crosses the shark-infested waters, whereas Tim swings across (well, almost across...) using a batline... something extraordinary, to be sure... but also something that pales in comparison with Dick's trapeeze-y prowess.
Before Tim can reach the other side, a Killer Whale butts its head out of the drink... Dick is able to pull Tim to safety. It's after this that Tim finally properly introduces himself... Dick was calling him "Robin" up to this point. Tim is feeling pretty headstrong right now, and is chomping at the bit to catch Weasel. Dick tells him to settle his tea kettle... after all, he doesn't want his successor to be reckless. Hmm... 'fraid I got some bad news, friend.
The pair heads into the Amazon Rainforest exhibit just in time to see Grimes fall into the piranha tank. Whoops...
This would appear to be the end for the poor Weasel... though, it seems Tim smells a different kind of rodent... a rat! Not sure weasels are rodents, but I'm willing to play fast and loose for a stupid line.
Tim and Dick head to the roof and watch as Gotham's Finest all but toe-tag Grimes. Dick is surprised to see Harvey Bullock still on the force. After a line about Bullock not digging jelly donuts, a lightbulb goes off over Tim's head. Hmm...
Somehow this makes Tim remember that the black piranhas in the Amazon exhibit don't eat human flesh! Therefore, Grimes has gotta still be skulking around. Being as though the Weasel is the king of the getaway, he had planted another skeleton in the water to throw the cops off, and facilitate his escape. Okay...
Tim and Dick dish out a vigilante arrest just as... time runs out. I loved these Zero Hour related pages when I read them for the first time... and I still do. The very panels begin to dissipate... and fade...
... into nothing...
Before I start reviewing, I wanna talk about the cover just a bit. When this was first solicited, many of us thought the "other" Robin was Jason Todd... he's got that horrible split-loaf haircut and everything. My little crew thought this was going to be DC's "out" for Death in the Family. Little did we know that a decade later they would use an even more ridiculous way to bring back ol' Jaybird. I wanna say this was one of them "speculator favorites" because of that as well, at least in my neck of the woods.
I don't recall any of us being against Jason coming back... none of us really knew him all that well. Actually, as a (sorta) funny aside... back before Tim got this ongoing series, there were the three Robin miniseries. We were all convinced that the first one was about Dick, Robin II: The Joker's Wild was about Jason, and Robin III: Cry of the Huntress was about Tim. Since all three minis were considered "key" books, we couldn't afford to actually buy them and see!
Onto the actual book. I liked it. The ending was a bit weak... but, c'mon... nobody's reading this issue to see the Weasel get arrested. This is all about seeing a Tim Drake and Dick Grayson (of the same age) team-up. As far as that's concerned, this was a lot of fun.
Dixon did a great job of showing how different Dick and Tim are in both their approach and style. I think far too often Robins can feel interchangeable... ya know, to the "normals" anyway. It's nice to see how "individual" they can be. Very nicely done. Also, it's silly... but I'm really glad that they kept Dick in the short-pants. That's something that just wouldn't/didn't happen today. I don't understand it... well, I guess I kinda do... but I definitely don't like it.
Tim keeping Dick in the dark about his future was pretty cool. I liked that a lot... and I really appreciated him almost slipping a Jason mention in early on. From the thinking far too much department... gotta wonder if he didn't mention Jason's passing because he didn't want to do anything to cause Dick to prevent it... and thus taking him out of the Robin duds before he ever wore them. Very... very doubtful, but interesting to consider.
Another thing I was pleased to see... no hero fighting hero bit in this issue. You'd figure these days we'd get an entire issue of decompressed Robin on Robin violence before they team up against a common foe. Here, we see that these are two very mature and reasonable young men. Dick sees what he can only assume to be an impostor, and instead of going in fists first, he starts asking questions. I really dug that.
Overall... a fun issue I'd recommend folks check out. Dixon's a favorite of mine, especially on the secondary Bat-family members, and Tom Grummett is always a treat. I love the way he draws both Robins... you could actually tell them apart at a glance! Great stuff. For another take on this issue check out my buddy Walt's post from last Summer. This issue is unsurprisingly available digitally and it's well worth a look see.
|I know I had that one on the right!|