Thus far everything that I read that's Robin War related has been horrible except for Red Hood/Arsenal #7 which was a tie in that actually had Jason acting in character. While brief it celebrated what it meant to be a Robin and maturely addressed his past with Tim. Which I don't think anyone else has done in the relaunch. Now I'm not a fan of the concept of We Are Robin nor the interviews I read which didn't seem to get the Robin legacy. Still I heard this was another bright spot in an otherwise abysmal event. Even if it's nothing but chatting together for the whole comic it'd be better than the other three parts.
You know it's odd that for an event that centers around Dick Grayson that the only mentions to his past in the circus have been vague until this issue. More so when you remember the COO is involved. Dick wonders if his parents would be proud of him or scared of the life he leads. He works with Gordon and asks if Gordon has changed his mind about the kids. Gordon talks about learning to adapt over the years since he was working with a vigilante despite it being illegal. Dick admits he always wondered if Gordon would turn him over to child services. As usual decorative owls in Gotham are a sign that The Court of Owls is involved which means Dick wants to go after them. Gordon decides to check on the kids.
Being stuck with Damian grates on Dukes' nerves some and Damian is still trying to escape. He wonders where Red Hood and Red Robin are. Duke can't see Izzy or Riko and thinks his other friends are alright. (Not mentioned again in this issue.) Being bad at social skills Damian tells him to forget about the other rookies to help him distract the guards (again?) This gets Duke to wonder if Damian cares about anyone besides himself. Chastising him for not knowing their opponents Damian tells him to use his head. Then he notices Jason and Tim with the Talons (I think?) and a member of the Court. They mock the Robins and want to use them to trap Dick. They have Jason and Tim fight to the death...for their entertainment ? I guess.
They fight with the implication that Jason was waiting to beat Tim up. Watching it from his cage Damian figures out what their doing, "pulling a Grayson." He orders all the WAR kids to put their arms out. Tim gets tossed out and swings cage to cage while Jason takes on the guys below. This stuns Duke but Damian points out the original Robins are the professionals. Something Duke can finally understand as he's impressed with their skills. All the kids are freed only to face some Talons.
Overall: This was so much better than the other parts in this event. Far superior to the other parts and will in all likelihood remain the best when this over.
Damian is still a bit of an ass to Jason and Tim but not nearly as much as he was in Robin War #1 where it looked like he'd stab them if they dared attempted to reason with him. Here he calls them inferiors although it's after referring to them as pros. As if he was correcting himself because it slipped out. Unlike Detective Comics he seems to have faith their looking for a way out. More over he looks worried when he sees their supposed to fight each other before he clues in. He even seems impressed and proud of them.
Considering the original idea for this event had nothing to do with the three older official Robins I'm not sure who came up with the death match idea. It's been said before but this was done in the RHATO/TT crossover that tied into DOTF when the Joker set it up. Were we supposed to believe their weak out of character tension in Detective Comics was a set up for them tricking the Owls? First of all that's barely alluded to here. Whether or not it was their plan from the start it makes no sense because no one knew the Owls were involved or that they'd make them fight. In fact I'm not sure why the Owls started the death match in the first place. Wouldn't the official Robins be the ones they'd want to keep alive to lure in Dick? Do the Owls and Talons just leisurely walk around a holding facility the cops have? Is Bullock taking a bathroom break during all this?
Not to mention Jasons' behavior in DET seemed petty for no reason. Maybe if him playing it off as the outsider who's assumed Tim was in on everything was written more in depth it'd at least read a bit better. Calling Tim chicken for no reason just felt random and childish. But back to this book.
The official Robins really shine here especially Jason and Tim who came up with a way out of there. The teamwork, skill and enthusiasm really made this an enjoyable read. It shows not only Duke but the audience what Robin really is. Their teasing is more brotherly (like RHA was) than annoying (as it was with King and Fawkes.)
I'm not really sure why it was so shocking that Noctua came up with the Cages. Gordon is dumb for not asking the hows and why before this but I can't fault Bermejo for the major plot holes left over from the prior issues. Nor for having the kids in their Cages despite Detective Comics having them being taken down to be searched. Maybe the Owl member got them back up? Except for Dick teaming up with Gordon that issue was pointless anyway. I did like Gordon explaining his reasoning for allowing real Robin to operate. He's fairly slow on the uptake in this event yet he's still somewhat likable.
Now let's get down to the Robin War plot as it stands four parts in. A kid in the WAR movement accidently kills a cop and a robber leading to "Robin Laws" making dressing up as a Robin illegal. Dick gets called in to help, trains the kids then betrays their trust and send them along with his brothers to jail. I'm not sure why at this point as it didn't keep them safe and if he suspected it was a set up that plan would only endanger them. For all he knew they'd all be unmasked. Gordon decides to work with Dick just because Dick has the same suspicions he does. They find out the woman who set up the Robin Laws was behind the Cages (which is somehow a surprise?) and is connected to the Owls. Dick decides to continue to act like a moron by going in alone after the Owls. Jason and Tim decide they had enough of this and form a plan to escape after the Owls randomly want them to fight.
I'm not looking forward to the last two parts. I know Dick won't be blamed for his stupid behavior, at least not for long. Even here his brothers mention him without a hint of anger. This was a fun issue but it does get saddled with the rather dumb plots from this event. I almost forgot about these bits just because this was a great read.
Say What?: I just find it bitterly ironic that Gordon and Dick talk about "no one gets left behind" after Dick's betrayal.
Changed his mind? I thought Gordon agreed to team up because he suspected Noctua set up the WAR kids.
Questions Raised?: Again this is more of an editor or Kings' fault than Bermejo but why doesn't Damian know where Jason and Tim are? They were taken down in part 3 and it would be impossible to miss them being taken out of the holding area.
Why does Damian tell Duke "one of them is a killer"? Damian killed too. As far as we know Jason never killed anyone in this canon that didn't deserve it. Doesn't he know Jason and Tim are close? I mean it's possible he doesn't. I don't think Jason has ever hung out with the family unless there's a crisis. Does Damian assume Jason will kill Tim and he's worried for Tim?
I know they were play fighting but hitting Jason in the HELMET?! Really Tim? That seems like a good way to break your hand.
In part 3 there were a lot of explosive drums. Did they move them? If so it would have taken them awhile. If not then they didn't learn from part 3 and the fighting could have caused an explosion.