The last tie in to Robin War.
Before they get expelled a WAR member and his roommate find a Talon that pops out of the green house dirt. Riko from the WAR title is transferred to the school and the reason is different than the one we were given in the RW event. There she states that her parents found her Robin stuff and sent her to the school after they freaked out. Here she's just sent there because her parents are scared about the crackdowns in public schools and want their kid away from it.
It's funny when you think about it but Maps is probably the most capable non-Robin. Her list of achievements are entirely truthful. Olive not wanting Maps dragged into trouble when all this group ever do is get into trouble is also highly amusing. They figure out that the "zombie" was buried there and the electric lines brought it back to life. Kirk/Manbat is extremely frank about this with the kids instead of trying to keep them away. A guard kicks them out of the greenhouse and doesnt even wait until their completely gone to bird call the Owls which Riko notices. They lure the Talon to Kirks' lab and Olive approaches it.
The school keeps the Talon (not explained in detail) as Riko talks to Duke on the cell which much to my surprise works neatly with his arrest in Robin War #1 give or take a few details. Riko is arrested as Olive called the police to "protect" Maps. Her B.S. is called on as Maps is quick to point out how unfair it is of Olive to judge the Robins since Olive hates Batman for arresting her mom. Maps rushes to help Riko but is stopped by Damian. They have a history from some issues back although she doesn't know he's Robin. Or maybe she guessed it since she never asks how he knows her name. He promises to leave some stuff around for when she needs it and will tell her when the time is right.
Overall: I dearly miss the previous artwork that added a charm to the series. At times the new art really doesn't work for me especially the beginning. The heart's still here though and this proves to be perhaps the best read for Robin War. The Riko stuff does feel pretty rushed but other things feel right because of past build up. The Talon notices Olives' family features and as we learned from issue 11 Olives' family and their power has been around for a long time. The Court should be well aware of them and the fact the school is the oldest in Gotham makes it logical to have a connect to the Court.
Damians' appearence is touching as it shows what an impact Maps had on him making this the best characterzation for him for this whole event. It does seem odd that he's be so calm and collected here before looking for WAR people to beat on. He tells Maps to keep her identity a secret as if she really was a superhero and that Olive did the right thing.
The story never gives us any answers for what the Court was doing, what's really the deal with the Talon or the passage but they really don't feel like they need to be answered. Not yet and I doubt Robin War #2 will touch on it. Maps isn't a costume hero but she genuinely comes across as someone who could be. She's silly yet she never hesitates from doing the right thing. I heard this book called something along the lines of the potential beginnings of Gothams next heroes and villains. Given the emphasis on Olives' villainous family and Maps love of Robins their disagreements can be seen in another light too. I don't know if their go there but it's interesting to ponder.
I always think of the trouble this group gets into with their investigations and the dangers of this school being laws suits waiting to happen. I have been wondering if I should quit this title but despite the art shift this was the first one I really enjoyed in awhile. The year book issues are coming which I think has guest writers? I know Tynion will be doing a story which I'll only read if I trade wait. The only (current official) Robin not to appear in this book has been Jason which might be a bias against him but I was hoping to get more of a solid connection with his mom. Jason said she went to Gotham Academy although that was before this title was even made.
For those keeping score out of the five of six parts released for this event and the three tie ins there has only been three good reads. Two of which are tie ins (this, Red Hood/Arsenal #7) and We Are Robin #7.
Say What?: Here Riko knows Red Robin but it seems like it varies title to title on what heroes the public knows from Gotham.
Damian talks about his troops and enemies to take care of. Which makes no sense given his behavior in Robin War #1 where he attacked the rookies. Are they the enemies? Because he didn't know about the Owls at this point. If so who's the troops? The older Robins? He acted like he'd harm them. I prefer the take in this book but it doesn't fit with the main story.
Questions Raised?: The security guard doesn't say anything about one of the students wearing an illegal Robin costume even after another student was just expelled for it? I know the guard works with the Owls but they want the Robins caught and doing so wouldn't even look odd.
Has DC decided what Kirk and Hugo Strange are doing? Because they were doing different things in other titles before apparently deciding to work for a school.