Sunday, May 1, 2016

Robin War #2 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

I can't tell if the resolution of "Robin War" is clever or eye-roll inducing.

Damian reveals that he agreed to become the Gray Son to prevent the Court from releasing its squad of elite Talons on Gotham.  (Lincoln explains to Dick that these Talons aren't assassins, but beserkers, created to lay waste to Gotham in case the Court ever lost control of it.)  However, Duke isn't buying it.  He tells Damian that he recognizes that he's Bruce's son so he's doing what Bruce did:  he's not thinking of his family or responsibilities, just sacrificing everything to save Gotham.  (It results in possibly the best scripted moment of the series, with Damian telling Duke that he doesn't know him, and Duke responding, "Kid, I don't think you know you."  Truer words, Duke.)  Duke tells Damian that he'd do the same thing, sacrifice his family to suffer alone.  But, he reminds Damian that the difference between them is that he, Duke, isn't Robin.  Damian looks at the Robins fighting together -- the Robins that Duke reminds him that he inspired -- and realizes that he's not Batman:  he doesn't have to do it alone.

As Damian helps the Robins take down the elite Talons, Lincoln plays his final card:  they've sewn something into Damian's costume that can kill him.  Lincoln convinced the Court to release him to put into action exactly this plan:  convince Damian (or at least one of the Robins) to become the Gray Son in order to inspire Dick to take that responsibility off his shoulders.  Lincoln pledges to disassemble the elite Talons, repeal the Robin laws, and allow Damian to live:  all Dick has to do is join them.

We then flash-forward a few hours.  Dick informs the other Robins at the Batcave that Noctua is going to prison due to the information that he and Jim collected on her.  (The Powers That Be believe that she has gone crazy, because no one believes in the Court of Owls.)  Later that night, Damian approaches Duke to hang (even though he can't admit it), giving Damian possibly his first friend and showing us that he's accepted Duke's call to be a Robin (not the Batman).  Conversely, the issue ends with Dick taking the oath to become the Gray Son, turning his back on Robin and becoming more like Batman.

As I said, I'm conflicted about this conclusion.  One of the modus operandi of the Bat-family is that it's exactly this sort of trap that they see coming and have a plan to escape.  The fact that Dick is manipulated into becoming the Gray Son should mean that it's only part of his larger plan to defeat the Court.  King actually hints that it may be, based on Dick's conversation with the Robins in the Batcave.  It's similar to the coded messages that he left them in "Grayson" #12, when he rallied them to his side.  If King is telling that story, color me intrigues.  But, if Dick has embraced Bruce's solitary nature, as King seems to want us to believe, then maybe he doesn't have a plan.  That said, if he really has become the Gray Son, then consider my eyes rolling.  It's too quick and easy of a fall for a character like Dick Grayson.  It's not like Damian doesn't have many enemies all ready:  is he really that worried that the Court will kill him to submit to it?  Hopefully, he isn't, and the "to be continued in 'Grayson'" promise at the end of the issue will show us that it's all part of Dick's plan to take down the Court.  If it isn't, though, I'm not going to be a happy camper.

*** (three of five stars)

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