By Alan Grant, Chuck Dixon, Norm Breyfogle, Tom Lyle & various (DC Comics)
No matter how hard creators try to avoid it or escape it, Batman and Robin are an inevitable pairing. The first one graduated, the second died (sort of, more or less, leave it, don’t go there) and the third, Tim Drake, volunteered and applied pester-power until he got the job…
Reprinting Batman #455-457 and the first Robin miniseries (#1-5), this volume shows how the plucky young computer whiz convinced the Gotham Guardian to let him assume the junior role in a cracking adventure yarn that has as much impact today as when it first appeared nearly twenty years ago.
‘Identity Crisis’ by Alan Grant, Norm Breyfogle and Steve Mitchell finds the newly orphaned (or as good as: his mother is dead and his dad’s in a coma) Tim Drake as Bruce Wayne’s new ward but forbidden from participating in the life of the Batman. The kid is willing and competent, after all, he deduced Batman’s secret identity before he even met him, but the guilt-racked Dark Knight won’t allow any more children to risk their lives…
However when an old foe lures the lone avenger into an inescapable trap Tim must disobey Batman’s express orders to save him, even if it means his own life… or even the new home he’s just beginning to love.
Following on the heels of that landmark saga Robin got a new costume and a try-out series. Writer Chuck Dixon, and artists Tom Lyle and Bob Smith relate the tale of the apprentice hero’s journey to Paris, ostensibly to train in secret, but which devolves into a helter-skelter race-against-time, as the murderous martial artist Lady Shiva leads the lad into a deadly battle against the Ghost Dragon Triad and Hong-Kong crime-lord King Snake for possession of a Nazi terror weapon.
There’s a breakneck pace and tremendous vivacity to this uncomplicated thriller that would rouse a corpse whilst the exotic scenarios make ‘Big Bad World’ a coming of age tale that any reader of super-hero fiction would adore.
This book is a lovely slice of sheer escapist entertainment and a genuine Bat-classic. If you don’t own this you really should.
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