We’re here at the finale of this underwhelming series. It got canceled before it ever really picked up and in my eyes will have had a pretty negative legacy for the character of Tim Drake. Personally I will always associate it with the pinkwashing of police officers through the character Detective Williams who thankfully never shows up in this issue. Instead we are treated to a plethora of marina characters we never really got to know or care about, what a conclusion!
This issue’s dialogue spends a lot of time wrapping the story up as quickly as possible and therefore suffers from some really weak lines throughout. Every character is saying exactly what’s on their mind at any given moment and the mystery is unfolded through coincidence and contrived storytelling. Meghan Fitzmartin, while not exactly proving herself through this series, is not entirely to blame because how could you possibly conclude such a story when DC cancels your comic over profit margins.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that the story shoves in every random character under the sun and I’ll leave it to you to see just how true that statement really is. The characters people might care about are then forced to share the spotlight and in turn have little to really do. Meghan Fitzmartin rushes the story so much that the few moments where things get the time to build up it just falls flat. Like the call back to the previous issue where Pie spied on Tim is used to advance Bernard’s story here but the dialogue is so cut and dry and the information just seems hand delivered to Bernard.
I mean, we already know that Tim isn’t Tim here right? If you’ve been following these reviews you are already someone who either put long thoughtful comments breaking down why his character has been so absent in this standalone series or you’ve read about it in the reviews or comments. While there isn’t much of Tim in this comic the real problem is that there isn’t much of anyone. Despite the presence of so many characters their actual character gets shoved out of sight just to have them be present.
It’s a shame because the art by Nikola Čižmešija is actually pretty sick. For a finale there’s still some moments with less detail than others but when the story needs something badass to be displayed on the page Čižmešija comes correct with the art. I love the panel compositions throughout the comic with the maze becoming this fun visual playground that shifts around the page only to inevitably break into a bunch of puzzle pieces. The final fight scene does feel a bit hollow but that’s mostly because so much is crammed into this issue that the big fight scene where everyone comes together never had a chance to actually work.
The colors by Lee Loughridge are also presenting a beautiful contrast between the dark brooding world of chaos monsters and the lighter marina with its eventual inspiring goodbye. My love of V A P O R W A V E (if you know you kn0w) has me most enamored by the page where Bernard goes to meet a certain mentor of Tim’s. The gradient look of the sky, the dark purple tints on the cape, the soft heat you feel when looking at the page. My opinion is that these colors are purposefully blurring the aesthetics of the dangerous maze and more mild marina. The result being a mixture of nostalgic hues, warm comfortable colors and the imposing nature of the mentor crashing from the top.
Tom Napolitano, while not providing an immense variety of lettering, still manages to work with the cool erratic panel compositions without sacrificing the comic’s legibility. Each piece of dialogue is fluid and easy to follow, just very boring to actually read. You get lots of snippets of Tim’s inner monologue that accentuate the chaos of his thoughts as he actively tries to work his way through each challenge. I’m not a huge fan of the way the inner monologue has often crowded the pages and this isn’t any different here. It’s still intuitive to read but a bit annoying to see pages with lots of other people and then only those little red boxes for his inner thoughts.
- You want to be part of the discourse
- There’s no reason honestly
- It’s over, go home!
An incredibly underwhelming ending with lots of visual flourish for little narrative backbone. The result is a finale that bends over backwards to make you feel satisfied by the mess of a story we’ve gotten here. Tim Drake: Robin has always been problematic but I do think it’s a shame when writers like Fitzmartin aren’t given at least the chance to make things better. I’ve appreciated some of her standalone stories in anthologies so I think the biggest weaknesses (apart from the pinkwashing) were always the amount of characters she tried to juggle and the length of the stories. Standalone one or two issue stories surrounding maybe three to four characters at most could allow her to really work on the many minor problems present in her writing.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.