Robin #1 (November, 1993)
Writer – Chuck Dixon
Penciller – Tom Grummett
Inker – Scott Hanna
Colorist – Adrienne Roy
Letterer – Tim Harkins
Assistant Editor – Jordan B. Gorfinkel
Editor – Denny O’Neil
Cover Price: $2.95
Haven’t checked in with our man Tim Drake in quite awhile. Considering he’s currently in the midst of his comeback tour, figure now’s as good a time as any.
We open with Robin being choked out by… Batman?! Well, this is Jean Paul Valley, the fella we affectionately know as Az-Bats… and he’s more than a little bit troubled. His St. Dumas is showing in a big way. He tosses Robin to the side and apologizes for his outburst. Tim decides he’s had quite enough of this crap, and tears off in the Redbird.
We jump uptown where a group of masked fools are stealing expensive cars from the country club… lettering features a rather unfortunate misspelling of Lamborghini’s “Countach”. The geeks are approached by the police… and they open fire. The officers return fire, but the thieves are able to get away.
Back with Robin, he stashes the Redbird in an old carriage house for safe-keeping, and prepares to return to his “real life” because the school year is just about to begin.
On the bus to school, Tim is approached by his nerdy pal Ives. He’s invited to the new Stallone movie… which I’m assuming to be Demolition Man. He passes, because he’s going to the school mixer with his girlfriend Ariana (who he met during the Robin III: Cry of the Huntress miniseries).
Elsewhere, the car thieves are giddy at the thought of Gotham Heights High School having a mixer… because of all of the rich kids and their rich cars. Well, and probably for some pervy reasons too.
At the dance, Tim and Ariana are greeted by B.M.O.C. (that’s Big Man on Campus) Karl Ranck. Tim ain’t Karl’s biggest fan… and we get the impression that the feeling is mutual. Karl, being a jerk-ass, invites Ariana to an after party. She turns him down, saying that Tim doesn’t have a car. The jocks all have a good laugh while Tim fumes. Tim snaps at Ari for revealing his secret shame… or something.
Karl heads outside, just as his whip’s about to be stolen! Rather than give up his ride, he punches the gun-wielding car thief… well, we never claimed that Karl was the sharpest bulb in the shed. Luckily, Tim is nearby… and he tackles Karl before he can have another orifice added to his pointed-head.
You’d think Karl would be happy to… ya know, not be dead… but you’d think wrong! He’s actually furious that Tim tackled him, allowing the thief to escape with his car. What a jackass! Ariana rushes to Tim’s side and they embrace. Later on, at the crime scene we see Sheriff “Shotgun” Smith is on the case.
We shift over to Blackgate Penitentiary and join a group therapy session… already in progress. The baddies present are the Electrocutioner, Czonk, Cypher, and the brains of the operation… the Cluemaster. They make it very clear that the doctor is going to help them with… something. I’d wager it’s escape-related.
Back on the mainland, Tim does some research. We learn that the car thieves are actually a gang called the… ahem… Speedboyz. And so, he suits up and goes on patrol to see what he can find. While out, he realizes he’s being tailed by a very persistent traveler. So persistent in fact, that he’s eventually run off the road!
The driver reveals himself to be… “Shotgun” Smith?! Ya see, he thinks Robin’s one of the Speedboyz. To be continued…
A fine opening issue for this long-lasting series.
You get the impression that continuity really mattered here… which is something I go ga-ga for. I really appreciate that this issue opened with Tim leaving the Batcave. It really “places” the story in a time (and place) rather than just starting with him on his own. There’s enough “connective tissue” here to keep in line with the Bat-Family of books, but not so much where it just feels like a spin-off.
I think back to the days where Wolverine would get a mini-series, and they would actually write him out of X-Men comics for a few months! Love stuff like that. Nowadays characters pop up in so many books in a given week that it’s impossible to keep track. Unless we’re expressly told, we never know the sequence of events… which happened first… who’s coming or going… or came and gone. Guess I’m taking the scenic route here just to say… I like how this issue began.
The Speedboyz are as lame as their name makes them sound… but I understand that this really isn’t about them… they just enable the story and facilitate the meeting of Robin and “Shotgun” Smith. Which is fair enough.
Enough of Tim’s civilian cast was established here to make him come across as well-rounded, without overwhelming us with more names and faces than we could possibly care about.
Overall… I really enjoyed this. Chuck Dixon very rarely disappoints… and Tom Grummett is in top form! I definitely recommend this… and best of all, it’s not just available digitally… it’s available for FREE digitally! No reason not to give it a look.