Yeah, I caved and got this despite not feeling so confident on how certain characters would be handled. Much as I loved Tomasi GLC most gatherings of the Robins are badly written but it's hard to resist seeing the boys together. So how did Tomasi do? Warning this is long and has a lot of Robin feelings in it.
I'll get to the meat of the issue in a bit but first let's focus on the bad guys at the beginning. Their horrifying and morbidly amusing but not really that attention grabbing. They don't really seem to pose a threat. Terminus is interesting only because he makes you want to know what Batman did to him. Other than that? I suppose the next few issues will show if they'll amount to anything. Though I'm still on the fence about following this all the way through. At present he makes nice hand signals.
I will admit that I'm impressed that there was communication between Tomasi and Scott Lobdell, or at least the editors of these books. It's not shocking that Morrison gets a couple of nods but I was pleasantly surprised that things from Red Hood and the Outlaws and Teen Titans were mentioned. My favorite bit had to be the expressions Jason, Dick and Tim had when Damian challenged them. Overall I was entertained. That being said there are some things that are out of character and other things that annoyed me. Some are minor, some aren't. Let's go down the list of bat boys.
Dick: I like that he's written a little goofy because a lot of writers forget that's what he's like. His sad face when Damian challenges/threatens them was sweet since it shows how much he cares about his baby brother. But it's frustrating how he just sits back when his siblings are arguing instead of keeping the peace. Dicks' the big brother and the only one that can rein Damian in. He just sits back when the youngest are screaming at each other. It might come back later on but it's bothersome that writers still forget that once upon a time Dick cared about Jason. Yes, this thing with Dick ready to fight him on sight was started by Winick but it drives me crazy. More because he supports Damian who killed since becoming Robin. Yet pushes those inferior issues back at the one who died? Apparently Dick doesn't question why Jason is wearing a bat or realize it's his former uniform?
Jason: The jury is still out on how he is written since he'll appear in next issue. There are things I like about this appearance. Jason shows a lot of maturity for not flat out telling Dick that he's hanging out with Kori and Roy. He could have rubbed it in Dicks' face that his ex slept with Roy but he didn't. Even Winick couldn't resist a wink at the Talia thing (which didn't really make sense to me since Jason would want to keep her involvement a secret.) But Lobdell has stated that their missions, at present, aren't well known. So it also makes sense for him not to be blabbing.
While I loved that Jason returned because he assumed he was called by Tim, why is he pointing a gun at Tim when he arrives and not keeping it on Dick? Tim is the only one there he's on a friendly basis with. The one he expressed regret for attacking in the past. Since we're on the subject: why are they discussing the fact Jason/Tim help each other out so openly? Sure Tim asked him to help over the bat line but Barbara obviously didn't hear it during NOTO, you'd assume no one else did. If it's not a secret anymore then why are they all so causal about it? Especially since Jason was so concerned about how Bruce would treat Tim if he knew. Dick doesn't want Jason in Gotham but is fine with Tim working with him? What?
Tomasi does dumb Jason and Tim down. Jason, at least in this issue, has a couple truly bad come backs. Not as bad as some of Tims', but "circus guy"? No Golden Boy, teachers' pet or circus freak? Heck even though carnie isn't something Jason would say (it's more of a social status thing) it's more of a put down. He even set himself up for a insult by telling Dick to shut up otherwise one would assume they meant Bruce. If this was RHATO Jason would quip and leave not linger.
Tim: I don't mind the Tim/Damian fights. See, I felt for Damian in other situations. When they both were working on a mission for the Titans (pre-Flashpoint) I was on Damians' side for how the Titans favored Tim and then for Tims' "don't be yourself" advise. I felt for Damian in Red Robin when Tim added him to his list. I'm firmly on Tims' side here. I was even thrilled to see him wipe the floor with the kid again. More on that in the Damian section but Tim does have a point here. He doesn't realize just how right he is but Damians' killings are getting out of hand. Bruce kept all the other Robins to a certain standard (yes Jason was a good Robin) and Damian gets a free pass when the rest of them would be treated like crap for it? Dick and Steph were fired for lesser offenses. Jason was benched for being seen as sucidal. WTH?
Tim has considered killing in Teen Titans but he never chooses the option. I realize it seems that Tim is choosing to focus this rant solely on Damian and ignore Jason. But it's a little more complex than that since their problems go further than the killings. Tim and Jason treat each other as equals where else Damian always acts like he's the better. Jasons' not working within the family or their rules but has shown restraint recently. Jason has more control over his choice to kill than Damian has. Hell he gave two killers chances to turn over a new leaf even though they both turned it down.
Now the truly bad. Tim isn't as bright as he usually is. Not only is he overly whiny, like Jason he suffers the inability to come up with a decent come back. He also doesn't know who an artist is and shows this ignorance to Damian. TIM DRAKE. The Robin who's best known for his brains. Who's dad was an archeologist and art collector. Tim who was able to name the art at the manor when he first arrived. But more groan worthy Damian was able to break into Tims' files to not only get that video but find Jasons' contact number. The same kid that spent six hours trying to break into Tims' computer before using the super obvious password of Captain Boomerang. (Tim even let Dick chose a new password Damian would never know when that happened.) Apparently Damian did all of this within the same day. BTW, are we to assume Tim ISN’T going to tell Bruce now? Not that it matters since Damian implied this test would prove he was better to Bruce, himself and them. Can’t prove something if all parties are in the dark.
Bruce: Alfred is right to mock him. This reads like blatant favoritism which I hate. Back when Jason was Robin Bruce suspected he killed someone (never confirmed but apparently the writer said he didn't) and Jason got a raw deal. Damian has killed two people as Bruces' Robin and it's buried. Shrugged off. He ignores the kid he mourned because he kills bad guys but hides a murder his bio-kid commits because he didn't want to cause friction? Yes because none of Bruces’ cover ups have ever backfired on him. In general I don't understand how anyone can condemn Jason but be fine with Damian, who in a lot of ways is more extreme than Jason. A ten year old assassin needs to be watched. Although I’m shocked he could mention Jason in a semi-positive way instead of victim blaming him.
Damian: I don’t like him here. Even when Morrison wrote him in his intro I was mildly amused. I really don't know how I can feel sorry for him when he acts like everyone should bow at his feet or owes him something. Tim? Yeah, even though I was happy to see him knock Damain through the case Tim could treat him better. The others? Dick was always there for him. Jason doesn't really care and has no bearing on his life whatsoever. What are these things the others are best at? Well I'd say Tims' detective skills, Dicks' hopefulness and Jasons' bravery. Those don’t seem to be the things he’s going after. I think Damian attacked Tims' perceived moral superiority? But I really don't see the point he's trying to make. Because it doesn't prove anything.
Tim thought of killing someone, so what? He didn't. Tims' points about Damian still stand. Demanding to be treated like a Robin and Wayne? Like an equal when he said he'd prove he was their better? Why should Tim or any of them do that when Damian hasn't earned it? If anything it proves Damian isn't trustworthy (for breaking into Tims’ things) and lacks the maturity needed for his title. He's insufferably arrogant throughout this and comes off entirely too good at what he does. I liked him when he comes off a little more flawed like in Red Robin or Batgirl (Stephs' book.) Not the wonder assassin that can take out other assassins while his big brothers argue. And really? Jasons’ right, it’s crazy for him to do this now and waste their time. Damian's doing this little ego trip when he has a target on his head. Why isn't Bruce or Dick with him at all times?
Getting the next issue?: I think I’ll wait to hear how Jason is written because so many things can go wrong. Ideally it should be the most interesting of confrontations since it’s the least explored. I hope the badly written stories with Jason aren’t brought into the new canon or the thing with Talia. The latter was something that was, um, sketchy in the first place since Jason is supposed to be 2 years older than Tim. I’m also wondering if I’ll get pissed at what Damian does to prove whatever point he’s trying to make. I’ll get mighty mad if it’s poking fun at his death/Bruce favoring him or knowing things he shouldn’t i.e. the Outlaws.
Questions Raised: Damian killed Netz a few weeks ago in comic? Is Tims' old Red Robin suit still in canon or is that something we should ignore?
Can they at least mention Cassandra? Because she was adopted by Bruce too.
Are they implying that this is the first painting they had with the bat family? If I was Jason I'd be annoyed too.
Did you notice?: The way the batarangs on the cover seem to be cutting into/through Damians' fists. It looks like they were added in a little late.
Tims' disapearing cape.
The errors on Jasons' Robin costume. The lack of green on the sleeves. No detail for the golden clasps, the bird symbol the new look has and the Robin mask is supposed to be red.