Monday, May 12, 2014

ROBIN #11 - November 1994

Two in Every Crowd
Credits:  Chuck Dixon (writer), Phil Jimenez (penciler), Ray Kryssing (inker), Albert DeGuzman (letterer), Adrienne Roy (colorist)

Summary:  As Robin tries to find time for his personal life, Two-Face begins his crime spree.  He kills dozens of lawyers at a banquet, attracting the attention of Batman and Robin.  When Robin looks into the city’s database to discern clues for Two-Face’s next move, he notices a distress call being sent from the basement of the city courthouse.  Two-Face is inside with his henchmen, destroying the computer servers, claiming that Gotham’s criminals will now have to be freed.  Batman and Robin arrive to stop him.

Irrelevant Continuity:
  • Two-Face again claims that he was released due to a computer glitch, which doesn’t match the actual events of Shadow of the Bat #32.  His scheme of disrupting the city’s computer system is even based on this “computer glitch” that never actually happened.
  • I believe this is the first issue to have Two-Face wear a white and black ensemble, inspired by the one made popular on the ‘90s animated series.  Note that the cover still has him in the tacky multi-colored suit.

Approved By The Comics Code Authority:  The shot of Two-Face standing over the bodies of dozens of dead lawyers is unusually graphic.

Total N00B:  Two-Face and Robin/Batman continue to reference the events of Robin #0, which I’ll point out again isn’t reprinted in this collection.

Review:  Even Robin remarks that it feels as if he’s been marking time lately, referencing the previous month’s trio of rather ineffective villains.  That means it’s time for Two-Face to finally move into the foreground and kick off this vague “ones and ohs” plot he’s been hatching for a few issues now.  There is a germ of a good idea here -- Two-Face is now obsessed with computers because they operate on binary code, and even back in 1994, society was computerized enough for this to be a viable scheme for a supervillain.  Unfortunately, some shaky continuity between the titles hampers the setup; not to mention Two-Face has a very fuzzy idea of how this is going to work.  Destroying the city’s servers would inconvenience some government employees, but it wouldn’t lead them to just open up the prisons.  Perhaps a better avenue to explore would be Two-Face drafting the aid of a computer hacker and using his skills to disrupt Gotham City operations.  (Although that might be too similar to Clock King’s debut in the animated series.)  

Outside of the main crossover plot, Dixon continues to play off the return of Tim Drake’s father for some superheroic teen angst.  Tim wants to spend time with his father, but he’s now demanding all of Tim’s time, making his life as Robin much more difficult.  It’s also placed a strain on his relationship with his girlfriend Ariana, although Dixon does write a nice scene this issue that humanizes Ariana a bit and allows her to be more than a stereotypical nagging comic book girlfriend.  Phil Jimenez might seem like an obvious choice to draw scenes like this, but his best moments this issue are his pin-up shots of Batman, or the close-ups of Two-Face’s scarred half.   His human characters are covered in detail lines, which is of course his style, but they look oddly artificial.  Jimenez still does competent work, and this series will soon have much worse fill-in artists, but it’s not on the level that Tom Grummett was doing on a regular basis.

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