Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dustin Nguyen and Steve Wands
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: January 11th, 2022
To overcome his damaged past and stride towards a more hopeful future, Dick Grayson must meet face to face with someone from his past. Let’s dive into ROBIN & BATMAN #3 by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen as we discover who this person from Dick’s past is and why he’s out for blood! Can Dick discover how to exist and endure in this harsh reality? Well, let’s jump in and find out!
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ROBIN & BATMAN #3 concludes this week as Jeff Lemire puts a wrap on his thematic tale which eventually helps propel Dick Grayson into the light. Lemire uses Killer Croc as the conduit that ultimately helps this depressed, sad, lonely, and vengeful little boy realize that he doesn’t “need” to be like BATMAN. He doesn’t “need” to let the darkness overtake him. And by the time ROBIN & BATMAN #3 concludes, Lemire shows fans the Boy Wonder we’ve all grown to admire and love today.
Throughout this series, I admired the obvious connection that should have always been there with Killer Croc, the Flying Graysons, and the Circus. Sure, the sideshow carnival angle makes sense for someone of Croc’s appearance and stature. However, weaving the two backstories of ROBIN and Killer Croc together just makes more sense and adds depth to both characters. Furthermore, it’s not like Lemire changed the backstories of either entirely. It’s almost as if he molded them together but still kept the key elements of each perfectly.
Moreover, it was great to see the inexperience of BATMAN and the sheer importance of Alfred to both Bruce and Dick. Nowadays, we get the Bat-god mixed with Alfred as the quiet old man who takes a back seat. However, in ROBIN & BATMAN #3, readers see the true Father figure, the moral compass, the compassion, and even the real leader that ROBIN & BATMAN need in order to be their best selves. In essence, it makes this reviewer miss Alfred more while also causing this fan to wonder why BATMAN and NIGHTWING weren’t impacted more by his current death.
Dustin Nguyen continues his very distinct style and line work throughout this culminating issue of ROBIN & BATMAN #3. Somehow, Nguyen manages to provide an emotional outlook on ROBIN & BATMAN by utilizing heavy line work, sketching, and a more muted tone. It’s almost as if the issue is done with watercolors giving it an incredibly unique style and feel. However, average fans should know that Nguyen is doing all aspects of the art except the lettering which means ROBIN & BATMAN #3 was more time-intensive to complete than it would normally be for an artist.
Nevertheless, I’m not as much a fan of this watercolor, almost messy style. Due to the technique, some of the smaller panels involving facial expressions, especially one, in particular, involving Croc’s henchmen, had the look of ROBIN wearing a gas mask during the fight which made no sense at all. Nonetheless, I feel like it was an accident simply because the colors muddied together just a bit too much. Granted, as much as I’m personally not a huge fan of this artistic style, I can appreciate the emotion it provides and acknowledge how well Nguyen provides solid pacing and affirmation to Lemire’s narrative.
ROBIN & BATMAN #3 was a tremendously refreshing tale about navigating through the darkness of life. With the Boy Wonder as Lemire’s muse, readers see the beginning maturation of Dick Grayson into the ROBIN we’ve all grown to love as well as the strong and capable hero found throughout the DC COMIC landscape today. Moreover, the creative intertwining of Killer Croc and Dick Grayson’s backstories helped enrich the history of both characters while also keeping everything pretty true to form with a rock-solid narrative that fits perfectly into the foundation of the characters. I highly recommend picking up ROBIN & BATMAN #3 as well as the series. You can thank me later. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!