Page 45 Review by Stephen
"Out of my way, sperm bank." Or, "You're pathetic. Make yourself useful, Lantern, take my coat."
Way to make an entrance. So who is this foul-mouthed mistress of malevolence, dripping with contempt for her peers? It's Wonder Woman.
Now, it's up to you: do you want to read characters you know acting in ways you're familiar with, or do you want a completely fresh look/new take/second opinion on what they might actually be like? Do you find the above so totally unrecognisable that you don't know what you're reading, or are you going to laugh yourself senseless at Clint Eastwood in a Batsuit abducting a young boy whose parents have just been slaughtered in front of him, to scare him to death and turn him into a weapon in a war he's unilaterally declared on a corrupt Gotham police force? (Because actually, the police weren't about to act in Robin's best interest.)
I'm asking, not dictating, but I think it bears asking in light of the radical departure here. Although don't think "Clint" is above making mistakes as you'll see from the final episode here in which, egged on, Robin goes too far and Batman takes his own guilt out on the tyke. Poor lad.
Jim Lee excels himself on the two pages leading up to that double-page spread, delivering a Green Lantern and layout that is pure Neal Adams. In fact, Jim's great throughout: his women are sexy and sensual, his panoramas are magnificent, and there are dozens and dozens of full-page and double-page spreads with a six-page whopper of the Batcave as well. It's superheroes on steroids, or is that redundant? It cackles, clenches, kicks, sneers and screams its way out of the page. So what is it?
I think it's an Image comic. I don't necessarily think that Frank is taking the piss out of Image under Jim's very nose (Jim Lee was one of the company's founding fathers) but still, that's what it says to me in tone and in attitude, although if they were written this fiercely maybe they'd have had a better reputation. It's also more about Robin than anyone else, hence the title. It's about a boy whose wonder and trust on the opening page are obliterated by bullets, and who does a pretty decent job of putting on a front to hide his fear until he gets sucked it and overcompensates.
One last note, if you have a copy in front of you. That last page of chapter one: cup your hand round Batman's chest and face, and you've got Miller inked by Janson. Then cover up the head and upper torso and beneath, on the legs, you've got Neal Adams' version. Or is that just my imagination?