By Lee Bermejo, James Harvey, Diana Egea, Alex Jaffe, Jared K. Fletcher
“You’ve got about two minutes to put this bonfire out before I cuff you to the air conditioning unit.”
“Yeah, for sure, no sweat, no worries…gonna get right on that, no prob, with the quickness. Uhhh….hey…Batgirl? Do you think I could get a selfie with you?”
Kids these days…with their cell phones and their pagers…updating everything to their internet. Back in my day…oh man…it’s happening!
Issue #4 of We Are Robin is unlike any of the issues before it. First you’ll notice the take on artwork is drastically different from prior issues, resembling more of the pulp style used in the days when comics cost a nickel and you’d have enough money left over to buy gum, or groceries (gluten free bread!). Something else this issue does though is focus on the aftermath of events prior and use them to put a darker tone on the narrative. Turns out that being a Robin is frowned upon by a few people (including Batman) – also turns out Batgirl has dealt with such comments from the original Bat herself….but sometimes it’s just in your blood to jump from rooftops and punch bad guys in the face.
Written by Lee Bermejo (who also did the amazing cover to this issue!) this issue is focused on a single Robin throughout, Riko Sheridan. A great bio in the back titled “Who Are The Robins?” gives some insight into the major characters of this series and it turns out she’s a “Batgirl fanatic”…I bet she was excited to run into someone this issue. Those fictional kids…always having the craziest adventures.
Something we see Bermejo doing throughout this issue is provoking a fantasy that surrounds Riko. She’s constantly finding herself immersed in this rich culture of Batman memorabilia (even in the comic book world you can still apparently get Batman leggings and jewelry…and with all that revenue coming in from the merchandising Bruce Wayne can definitely afford a few more Batmobiles if he wanted to). There’s a scene that takes place in the classroom as Riko fantasizes about seeing Batgirl sitting in the empty seat beside her, only to be interrupted by her teacher. Lame! (I once woke myself up from snoring too loud…everyone was looking at me…it was weird…but I was well rested). This fantasy shows us how involved her psyche is within this world of heroism – and then getting to meet….I mean…maybe something cool happens.
The penciller/colorist/inker on this issue is James Harvey, but he doesn’t perform all these tasks without a little help. He has Diana Egea helping out with inks, and Alex Jaffe assisting with colors. Someone else to mention here is Jared K. Fletcher who does the lettering. Lettering in this series has a bigger impact that some others out there. Fletcher injects various scenes with dialogue happening on the internet via a Twitter-like website. Some of the scenes even feature live comments to the events taking place on a rooftop…beside a fire…in the middle of the night! It better not be a school night!
James Harvey takes over the art on this issue as he gives it quite a different vibe than that of Jorge Corona (the artist on previous issues). In changing the artwork style this issue immediately pops out and sticks with you long after you’re done reading (it’s been about five minutes for me and I’m still thinking about it!). The artwork style as mentioned above feels like a throwback to the old pulp comic days. The colors on each character are solid. Lighting isn’t a big factor in the scenes, day or night the characters continue to stand out in bright reds and yellows. A scene in Riko’s room stands out (tweeted a picture if you want to take a look) as she’s in bed reading a book (Lord of The Flies), above her we see a bunch of different posters on the wall that as you go up bleed into these psychedelic mind-bending images all flowing together. Harvey, along with Jaffe, really goes crazy with the colors a lot in this issue, and this scene especially.
Something done well a bit after the psychedelic scene mentioned above that both Bermejo and Harvey pull off is the inclusion of some of the aspects of Lord of The Flies coming into the text alongside Riko’s own movements. This issue is a creative overload! As she jumps from rooftop to rooftop we see some of the same movements happening in the text – how cool is that?!
Issue #4 of We Are Robin goes over the top with its storytelling as well as artwork. Bermejo continues a strong narrative while working with talented artists each issue. It’s a Batman story full of teenagers fighting the same crusade…kind of like if Batman wasn’t a billionaire and had a curfew. Whether you’re a bit late to the series or wondering if it’s something you’d want to read…just start with this issue and do some backtracking, because once you check this out you’ll be hooked!