WE ARE ROBIN #1
“We Are…Robin!” pt. 1 (22 pages)
Story by: Lee Bermejo
Art by: Jorge Corona [main]; Khary Randolph [epilogue]
Breakdowns by: Rob Haynes
Colors by: Trish Mulvihill [main]; Emilio Lopez [epilogue]
Letters by: Jared K. Fletcher
Covers by: Lee Bermejo, James Harvey
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
The movement has begun!! Which one? Multiple followers of a certain Boy Wonder wanting to leave their own mark on Gotham City.
Duke Thomas is getting the snot beat out of him. It’s an all too common scenario: scrapping in the schoolyard. Correction: bullies are beating the snot out of him at the basketball court. A young lady’s honour is on the line. Misguided one at that. One can only take so much kissing the pavement. Duke decides to duke it out. He brings it by busting his own moves. The trio that he trounces really are thugs. The same goes for the one guy’s sister. She is outraged that Duke is kicking ass. She has an unfounded jealous hissy fit and ruins any chance of Duke dating her. As he attempts to explain himself and stand up for his female friend, he is sucker-punched by a chain to the forehead. The cops come at an opportune time and cuff the turds.
A young female in a yellow coat, red scarf, and green mitts snaps a pic of the defeated Duke. She is shooed away by one of the officers. Man, nothing is private in this social age. She sends the shot to The Nest.
Duke is dreaming of Batman whisking him to safety from the Joker’s deadly venom that turned everyone into murderous zombies. He wakes up with a world of hurt. For all intents and purposes, he is now an orphan and under the auspices of Dr. Leslie Thompkins. Leslie is his de facto social worker. She chastises him for the numerous violent incidents that have resulted in several suspensions or expulsions. Doc Thompkins sees the giant heart and enormous potential within Duke. She really wants him to turn his life around. She is hopeful that his parents will turn up despite their disappearance.
There is a text exchange between members of the Nest. They are surveilling Duke. One of them questions why there is an interest in him. Duke has a tendency to be a runner. He must be part of the group no matter what!
Leslie takes Duke to his next foster home. The conditions are anything but ideal. The apartment is a real dive. The matriarch is an unsympathetic money-hungry b**** with an invalid husband, an infant and two other strays. She is very standoffish to Duke. She expects him to settle within five minutes and orders him to clean up the disgusting W.C. He’s barely in the door when he bolts through the fire escape. He has the art of parkour down pat! Although he feels really bummed out for disappointing Leslie he can’t tolerate the abrupt changes in his life.
Duke makes his way underground. He walks into a mass rally/cult assembly. The derelicts are sleep-deprived, starving, and a just a tad nutty. They are easily mesmerized by their slovenly ‘king’. He promises change through anarchy. He is about to continue his speech when he catches a whiff of Duke’s cologne. That would definitely stand out in a sea of stink. Mob mentality!! Let the lynching begin! Twice in one day, Duke is spared a hospital visit. His saviours are the Robins!!
The epilogue presents an unidentified observer reviewing the recording of the teens. This individual wants a brighter Gotham. The closed chamber opens to reveal several variations of costumes represented by Batman’s partner.
Duke is an extremely introspective adolescent. He provides a lot of insight into his situation and the world around him. Here are a few of his innermost thoughts:
Hooked on a feeling: “I mean, I know why. It’s all just endorphins and adrenaline. I shouldn’t trust it. I shouldn’t love it this much in all its chemical falseness. But I’m a junkie now.”
Don’t dis the nerd culture! “Worse stuff to be hooked on, I guess. I could be into collectible card games.”
Angry young man: “But I can’t just go on with life waiting for other people to find my parents. Can’t be waiting for Batman to swoop down and save the day. Another adult who bailed.”
Hero not in the making: “I know those super-heroes love to jump around on rooftops. But it just ain’t my bag.”
Moving on to other matters —
…has joined the conversation: DaxAtax, Dre-b-Robbin, Kat-R-ina, R-iko. That cover is epic, Mr. Bermejo!!
Why so serious? For a guy that goes by the street name Smiley with a tattoo to match, he’s anything but!
I smell a rat! The villain is Ratcatcher. I’m pretty sure!! I DMed Lee Bermejo on Twitter and still awaiting a response :/
Self-ID: “We are…Robin!” is dropped twice: in the title, and when they introduce themselves to Duke.
Point de suspension: That’s the French term for an ellipsis. It sure has the dramatic effect!
Rockin’ Robin: To paraphrase one of Portugal. The Man’s song titles: “Yellow, Red, & Green!”
Duke is a spitfire. He has so much justified unbridled rage that he needs the proper outlet to release it. His life has been radically altered due to his parents’ falling victim to the Clown Prince of Crime’s endgame and the Dark Knight rescuing him. As a result, he is inadvertently drawn in to another realm and pegged to be a crusader. He was inspired by Batman and will definitely follow that path now that others his age have their own thing going on honouring Robin. Lee Bermejo is wildly young at heart. He is a mouthpiece for the current generation. The teens of today are apathetic by nature and socially withdrawn (how ironic!). They are self-centred not owning up to anything. We Are Robin is not just a symbol of hope for Gotham, it applies to the real world. Youth will always be misjudged and misunderstood. These young ones will make a real difference in the world. They are not concerned with selfies, going viral, trending, etc. They are global citizens that realize that they must contribute to society in a meaningful way.
Jorge Corona carries the bulk of the story. The first page alone is a poignant pin-up of a Robin-in-the-making with the shadows around the eyes enveloped by a red hoodie. Analyzing that image, I actually thought that Duke was in ‘costume’ with his domino mask before I turned the page. Way to get our attention, Mr. Corona!! Duke is limber as a kangaroo and fierce as a panther. He was holding back until he decided that he had enough. His natural acrobatics make him the perfect contender. Duke carries a lot of pain and his face is drenched in despair. The antagonist is boogly as you can get for one that decides to spend time below the surface. His ferret-like face with its protruding ears is enough to give anyone the willies. The bats emerging from the grate as the Robins make their appearance is an obvious indicator to the milieu now occupied by these youths.
Rob Haynes produced a neat split panel of Leslie Thompkins looking over Duke on page 8. He also creates a haunting image of a humanoid bat flying above alabaster mist.
Trish Mulvihill plays with the colour red all the way through. It is hard to divert your glance from Duke due to his scarlet-hued hooded sweatshirt. That’s not the only place where the primary colour is used. Check out the hot rod that DaxAtax has in his garage on page 10.1 (it has the Twix half-page ad K ) . She also dabbles a lot in the absence of light. There has to be a balance between the light and the dark, no?? Shadows and silhouettes abound!
Khary Randolph hammers the biggest hint on our heads with the bat-shaped camera spying on the skirmish below the surface. That is the niftiest and most ingenious design for a stealth device. It sure beats those ebony orbs found in major retailers. It won’t be long before this hits the market.
His detailed renditions of the various Robin outfits makes me wish I had a wardrobe of that scope! Mr. Randolph should be a fashion designer.
Emilio Lopez gets top marks for the emerald-tinted video footage. This sets apart the other pastels and is realistic in its monochromatic representation.
Through it all, Jared K. Fletcher populates the panels with the re-arrangement of the alphabet. Mr. Fletcher is no stranger to the Bat-offices. He gets an A+ (or is that R?) for the title card as well as the sound effects.
Robin is now legion. I’m chomping at the bit to find out how the other Bat-characters will react to this. Mr. Bermejo must have read my mind since he will have Batgirl guest-star in issue #4. Either way, JimBat will have to investigate these renegades. When Bruce Wayne returns, will he allow them to be an army? What about the hero in question whose name they have taken? Damian may frown big time. He may see this as anything but flattering. So many possibilities!! I look forward to the successes and failures of this anti-establishment party J
In honour of all the Robins (not counting the main ones and their alternate versions)…HEY! I just remembered: Duke Thomas is a possible Robin that was featured in BATMAN & ROBIN: FUTURES END. Um, back to what I was saying…There have been at least 20 versions of the crimefighting sidekick partner to the Bat. I give this book 18 out of 20 (90%). They decided to stand up and fight. Are YOU up to the task?!?
Tags: Batman, DC You, Duke Thomas, half page ads, Lee Bermejo, Robin, We Are Robin