Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: The Wrong Town: Part 2
Written by: Jon Lewis
Pencilled by: Pete Woods
Inked by: Andrew Pepoy
Colored by: Heroic Age
Lettered by: Willie Schubert
Editor: Matt Idelson
Publisher: DC Comics
Being a fan of the horror genre, I was pleased with CrossGen’s ROUTE 666 comic. Horror has been an overlooked genre in the world of comics for a long time now, and it was great to get a quality book on a monthly basis. If only I’d known after Chuck Dixon left ROBIN it would slowly move in this direction as well.
Whilst ROBIN isn’t pedal to the metal horror, writer Jon Lewis seems to be adding more elements with each successive issue, of his now fourteen issue run on the title. Freaky occult happenings have become commonplace in the pages of the Jr. Dark Knight, while offsetting, it does make for an interesting read.
This issue is told mainly as a flashback from Robin’s point of view, after his initial confrontation in a crazed town. Last issue, Robin, disguised as a hitchhiker named Gary, rode along with a trucker who’s running guns. Robin’s hope was to get to the source of guns entering Gotham. The â€œtruckerâ€ makes a stop in the town of Wrestling, and no, Vince McMahon is not the mayor, nor is The Rock anywhere to be found.
The craziness in Wrestling picks up almost immediately. The people that live in the town could be described quite easily as a cult. In the last hundred years, it seems the townsfolk have died down from a population of more than 1,000 to just eight. They’re not allowed to procreate or evangelise to increase their flock, so the fact that they’re dying out shouldn’t seem odd at all.
The strangest aspect of all of this is â€œWrestling Nightâ€ in Wrestling. Wrestling’s inhabitants re-enact scenes from the bible in a wrestling ring. This of course isn’t what draws people in from out of town; the main event serves that purpose, where patrons are allowed to attempt to kill a local boy (yes, you heard that right). Of course the boy cannot be killed by gunfire, or various other means. You could say it’s the most interesting stress reliever ever. That’s not all though, Robin (Gary) meets up with Stephen (the Wildman of the Mountains), who appears to have a healing touch. Where this somewhat convoluted main storyline is going exactly is unclear, but Mr. Lewis has me hooked.
Two subplots continue from the previous issue, and are quite interesting as well. Spoiler confronts the Riddler, hoping to gain information on her recently deceased father, the Cluemaster. While several pages are dedicated to Robin’s father, Jack’s, encounter with a Valkyrie, and his difficult choice of women!
Pete Woods’ pencils are spot on, his style blending seamlessly with Lewis’ words. The mood set by the panel layout and pencils is downright eerie. The look on the faces of the Wrestling townsfolk perfectly conveys the underlying madness.
I don’t think I’ve done justice in describing the outlandish contents of this issue. Let me just say it really grew on me the more I thought about it. This sure becomes an oddly concocted bag, when all the stories are factored together, but on the whole a very gratifying experience. The more I see of this creative team, the more I want them to do a DEADMAN or SPECTRE re-launch. Or even better, a SENTINELS OF MAGIC series! Lewis, Woods, and Pepoy are the best horror team in comics!