Sunday, December 07, 2008

Robin run through

In which I discuss the Goddamn Batman, instances of Batdickery, the sexualisation of women in comics, Bats’ belief in science, Connor Hawke, and Robin recommendations.

It’s been about 2 weeks and I’ve read 162 issues of Robin.
What have I learned?
Well, when I’ve got to issue 174 I shall be going back to the comic shop and purchasing issues 175 onwards, and putting the book on standing order until it’s cancellation date.
I know that I’ll be really unimpressed if the book doesn’t get relaunched, cos I’m really enjoying it. Chuck Dixon had a realllly long run on this (10 years?) and he is gooood. I may not agree with his politics (more on that in another post) but at least he includes them and manages to write a damn good story at the same time.

It appears that the Goddamn Batman actually debuted in Robin # 131

Connor Hawke is a metahuman. Allegedly. So how does this contradict the recent development in GA/BC where I’m sure it’s stated that he’s just developed meta powers? I preferred it when he as just an elite ninja-archer.

Batman really does believe in science and hard facts over everything else, to the extent where he refers to his toys as ‘state of the science’, not state of the art (issue 86, when Spoiler is first taken to the cave).

Batman is a dick and should never be allowed responsibility over children. He treated Cassandra Cain like a tool, like a utility in his war against crime, forgetting that she was a human being and he treats Tim really really badly. Tim spends so much time guilting over his perceived lack of skill and worrying that he is letting Batman down, and Bruce gives him fuck all encouragement.
Bruce decides to set Tim a test, (issue # forgotten I’m afraid), in which Tim receives a mystery gift for his birthday. Once opened a hologram of future Alfred is produced saying that one of Tim’s colleagues is responsible for fucking up Gotham 30 years in the future and Tim is the only one who can save them all. This drives Tim mad with worry and sleeplessness as he’s tries to figure out if it’s real, and if so, who the colleague turned evil will be.

But this hologram turns out to be a ploy by Bruce to test Tim, his skills and his abilities to see whether he is ready to take it to the next level. Rather a fucked up selfish thing to do, and made worse by Bruce ridiculing Tim for considering the possibility that Time Travel exists. This is in itself a daft point given that Bruce knows the Flash and the Legion of Superheroes. Additionally, the Teen titans are always getting themselves hurled into the future.
Presumably Bruce thinks that these people are all lying.
However, props to Tim, as he throws his cloak into Batman’s face:

WHAP! So satisfying.

The other thing that gets my goat? Bruce knows damn well that Tim is smart, he states in issue 136 that Tim is ‘…smart, smarter than me and maybe even smarter than you (Alfred). Take my word Alfred, we’ll end up working for him someday, once he does a bit of growing up’.
If Bruce really believes that, then he should show the kid some fucking respect and let Tim know how highly he thinks of him.
Gaaah. This all meant that I was horrified when Bruce formally adopted Tim. Batman as your legal guardian? *shudders*

Issue 132. Who says women aren’t sexualised in comics?

Look at the difference between how Batgirl and Robin are depicted. Look at the way Cass is posed – she looks like a bleedin’ Oscar statue or something. Arms behind her, boobs out, body at an angle, belt sat at such a level as to accentuate her hips, leg bent, looking up away from the viewer. No one stands like that unless they know someone is watching and they want to look hot! Or they are a model whose job is to look pretty. She looks dainty and passive. Unthreatening.

Robin on the other hand is crouched, looks dark and menacing, his body is obscured and like he’s about to leap off the page and take your head off. With his teeth.

Now who looks more dangerous here? Because I’m pretty sure Cass is the far more deadly one.

On a more positive note, if you want to pick up any Robin issues, may I recommend:
Robin # 85 – Robin on the Brain!. Told from the Joker’s point of view and expressing his hatred for all Robins. Very very very good.

The War Games trades – Stephanie Brown, as a sacked Robin, starts a gang war in Gotham and everything goes to hell. I’ve read the Catwoman, Robin, Nightwing and BoP (if there were BoP?) issues, but not the Batman own title ones. Nevertheless, this is a really good story arc.

Robin # 36 and 37 – Ulysees Hadrian Armstrong (if the boyfriend ever convinces me to have kids I will name them Ulysees Hadrian. Or Penfold) teams up with the Toymaster and they try and rob a toy collector. The collector’s relationship with his toys is dealt with sensitively and humanely, with the last panel of # 37 showing his loss (after they’ve been destroyed in the fight.)


Unknown said...

Yes, you are right Batman can be and often is a dick!
He always thinks he is right and even when he is wrong he cannot admit it. He should not be around any children!
I understand the idea of the Dark Knight but he does not have to be the Dark Knight Dick!
I loved when Robin quit it was bliss!
Also you are 100% right about the sexual positioning of Cassandra Cain a woman who is suppose to be the best martial artist in the world and who could take out both Batman and Robin in a heartbeat.
It seems that most of these covers are drawn by men and its sad really.
If they had put Robin,Batman or Superman in that pose the comic would be appealing to a different market.

Jessie said...

I'm more annoyed by Damian Scott giving Cass some non-existant ankles than that pose. But then again, his style is super cartoony-deformed. It's hard to take it seriously.

If I were hard-pressed to complain about that pose, it would not be that it's a sexualized image of Cass...quite the opposite (I've seen worse). Unlike Robin who is crouching, looking rather menacing...(ie. like a crime-fighter)...she's just standing there gazing off into space, with arm behind her like some little clueless girl. ( I believe Scott was going for innocent and cute...which isn't possible with the body proportions he uses on females.)

Anyways it reminds me of Cass's pose here and in two panels here

I have this Robin issue, I was surprised when I first saw it. You almost never see Cass in a non-aggressive fighting pose on a cover, much less when she's with someone else. It's like Robin and her switched their usual body language. But it fit the storyline, which featured a brooding, grieving Robin and clueless but well-meaning Batgirl. 9_9

Saranga said...

Thanks for the comments guys.

@ Jessie: I agree about the possible innocent and cute aspect. I tried to comment on that part but was having trouble putting it into words, I suspect because of the incongruity between that and the hotness.

I didn't even think about how it fit the story within! I'd like to be blase and say that is because I'm so used to covers being completely disconnected to the plotlines, but I suspect it's more because it just hasn't occurred to me to link them. (doh)

Admiral Drax said...


You know I'm not "up" on superheroes, mate, but am I right in saying that Robin's name fact...'Tim'?

No wonder the boy's so damnably unthreatening if this is indeed the case. I hope I've got this wrong...

- Drax
(Incidentally, 'Drax' is a far better superhero name than Tim. Than Robin, too, for that matter!)

Saranga said...

Drax: There have actually been 4 Robins (in regular continuity at least)
The first was Dick Grayson, son of acrobats at the circus and who you will remember from the Adam West 60s tv show. Dick then had a strop at bruce and graduated into the Nightwing persona.
Then you had Jason, who died, and has now come back to life as a murderous and mad bad guy.
Then you had Tim Drake, who's lovely! And threatening, I promise. He's got a mean stick he beats people with.
Tim gave up being Robin at one point, and Stephanie Brown, previously the Spoiler, became the first girl Robin. She is also wonderful.