Robin, Son of Batman #7
Plot by Patrick Gleason
Dialogue by Ray Fawkes
Pencils by Scott McDaniel
Inks by Andy Owens
Colors by Chris Sotomayor
Letters by Tom Napolitano
Published by DC Comics
With regular Robin, Son of Batman writer/artist Patrick Gleason relegated to plotter, Robin, Son of Batman #7 suffers a little bit from having too many cooks (or creators) in the kitchen as it focuses on moving the plot with most of the political relevance of earlier issues (Except for Duke yelling at Jim Gordon’s Batman about not trusting cops.) sidelined. Gleason and dialogue writer Ray Fawkes do make time for a few character beats as Damian Wayne gets to be the impetuous one charging ahead with explosions while Jason Todd and Tim Drake hold back and try to get the We Are Robin crew organized in a titanic battle against the Talons. However, the penciler and inker team of Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens struggles in these mass battles with bodies flying everywhere to go along with Jason and Tim changing their minds on a dime about letting the We Are Robin kids participate in the final battle against the Talons. However, they fare better in the one-on-one fight between Dick Grayson and Lincoln March (the surprise Big Bad of the original “Court of the Owls” arc in Batman), which leads to an excellent plot twist with Damian Wayne as their newest Gray Son.
Even if the buildup is a little truncated with Damian just happening to vanish after a big explosion in the Robins’ prison, Damian Wayne as the newest Gray Son, or top Talon, makes sense in light of the events of “Robin War” from plotter Gleason. Damian has had a privileged upbringing as the son and grandson of two of the most powerful men of the world (Ra’s al Ghul, Bruce Wayne), and he has seemed disconnected from Dick, Jason, and Tim (who he begrudgingly respects) and especially the We Are Robin kids, who he has been constantly condescending. The Court of the Owls is privilege embodied as the secret society (Which is operating more openly than they used to be.) is only made up of the most wealthy (mainly white) people of Gotham, and this is why the Asian-American councilwoman Noctua is willing to be super ruthless and pass the Robin laws as well as build an illegal prison to be accepted by them. An evil Damian Wayne is a powerful weapon in the hands of the Court of the Owls as Lincoln March twists the legacy of Robin by turning what should be a cliche “Join me” speech for Dick Grayson into putting him out to pasture Old Yeller style.
Gleason and Fawkes also course correct a little bit from the last issue of We Are Robin #7, which was more focused on Jason, Tim, and Duke by giving little moments to each of the young Robins between Damian turning to the dark side, Dick Grayson’s solo mission against the Court, and Batman’s struggles with being a superhero and police officer. On the opening page, McDaniel shows how terrifying the Court of the Owls truly is to these untrained teenagers by zooming into Riko’s almost tear filled eyes as she recites the nursery rhyme that gave the organization its name. He shows how dangerous it is to go into Gotham as a crime fighter half-trained and sadly this feeling of fear is lost as Jason and Tim immediately go from telling the We Are Robin kids to scramble to a full out case of supervillain battle. However, during the battle, some of the more violent We Are Robin members, like Izzy, get to embrace their blood lust and go unrestrained against the undead Talons. Their possible penchant for killing will be interesting to explore in future, and Gleason, Fawkes, and McDaniel
Robin, Son of Batman #7 stumbles, but doesn’t fall as the penultimate chapter of “Robin War”. The group fights are a little jumbled, but Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens use medium distance panels for Dick Grayson’s fight with Lincoln March, who looks more a zombie than a man. Colorist Chris Sotomayor also utilizes a black and grey scheme for this battle leading into the reveal of Damian Wayne as the Court’s newest member. Patrick Gleason’s plotting and Ray Fawkes’ writing is more focused on plot progression and the event’s endgame than any kind of interesting commentary on the series’ political themes so far, but they nail the plot twist and take the spotlight off Dick Grayson for once.