Friday, January 17, 2014

ROBIN #8 - July 1994


Death’s Door
Credits:  Chuck Dixon (writer), Tom Grummett (penciler), Ray Kryssing (finishes), Albert De Guzman (letterer), Adrienne Roy (colorist)

Summary:  Robin and Nightwing are aghast at Bruce’s actions, as opposed to the recently-arrived Lady Shiva.  She tells Bruce his training is complete and takes the Tengu mask with her.  After she leaves, the master begins to revive, and Robin and Nightwing understand that Bruce used a non-lethal maneuver.  Meanwhile, the cyborg defeated by Jean-Paul implicates Batman to the police in what could be his final breath.  Jean-Paul escapes the crime scene and tracks down more gunrunners.  Later, Bruce dons the Batman costume again, ready to retake Gotham.

“Huh?” Moment:  Bane somehow has a mystic connection to Batman that lets him know when Bruce has donned the cowl once again.

Review:  Hey, wasn’t that cover blurb the name of a crossover in the early ‘00s?  Did that storyline ever expect you to believe Bruce Wayne killed someone, or did we always know he was framed?  Back in 1994, DC was serious about the feint, for the entire week or two in-between Legends of the Dark Knight #62 and Robin #8, at least.  Like the ending of the previous chapter, Dixon gets a lot of mileage out of the shock value, even if it makes the inevitable revival of the master feel like even more of a copout.  Thankfully, this tease only lasted for a week or so.  Given DC’s track record for its ‘90s event comics, I wouldn’t be surprised if a dozen issues teased the idea of Bruce killing someone at the end of his ninja training before we discovered he’s actually innocent.  

After the Shiva training scenes are mercifully over, we’re treated to even more pages of Jean-Paul brutalizing gunrunners while on his hunt for the mysterious “LeHah.”  Those are about as entertaining as you might expect, but fortunately the remainder of the issue is dedicated to Robin and Nightwing’s growing relationship.  Dixon handles both of the characters well, and Grummett shows he’s just as adept at conversation scenes as action scenes.  And seeing Bruce don the cowl again is kind of an emotional moment after such a lengthy storyline, but it’s marred by the knowledge that DC goes another six months before truly restoring Batman.


j said...

IIRC the early 00s crossover had Bruce Wayne framed for murdering someone who found out his identity, so he had a motive. I don't think they expected anyone reading an early aughts Batman comic to actually believe they were going to have him murder someone in cold blood though.

It was a decent crossover (along with Bruce Wayne: Fugitive) from what I remember

Austin 'Teebore' Gorton said...

Yeah, I'm pretty sure the "Bruce Wayne: Murderer" never expected the readers to think he was guilty, but was still a pretty good story. If memory serves though, by the time it and "Fugitive" ended, it wrote out Sasha Bordeaux, Bruce's bodyguard/love interest/budding vigilante sidekick at the time, which bugged me, cuz I kinda liked her (she ended up getting dragged into that whole Coundown/Checkmate/Infinite Crisis mess).

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