Saturday, May 8, 2010

Red Robin/Batgirl - Collision Review (Spoiler Warning)

Hey, Hello, Hola, and Bienvenidos. Once again I'd like to welcome everyone to my Red Hood. So, if you're like me, last year's Battle For The Cowl started a bunch of interesting things you were looking forward to. Sure Jason turned "evil", and Damian became Robin, and Dick became Bats which we all predicted, but two more things happened. Tim Drake became the Red Robin, and Stephanie Brown became the new Batgirl. Batgirl, written by Bryan Q. Miller quickly became one of the best monthly comics, bringing seriousness and a fun tone, as well as making everyone, even Damian likable. Red Robin written by Christopher Yost quickly became one of the worst monthly comics in my opinion, even to the point some of my fellow bloggers decided to drop the series. So, what happens when you take one of the best and one of the worst series, with two characters who have history comparable to Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon? That's what we find out in Red Robin/Batgirl - Collision. (By the way I'm very happy with this opening paragraph.)

Collision takes place in Batgirl #8, and Red Robin #'s 10, 11, and 12, which is why he gets top billing of course. Our story starts with Batgirl and Red Robin running into one another in the recently abandoned by Batman but re-bandoned (?) by Oracle and Batgirl. Tim is upset to find Steph still "playing dress-up" as he calls it. After some bonding, if you can call it that, Tim lets it spill that Ra's Al Ghul and the League of Assassins are after Bruce Wayne's friends and allies and Doctor Leslie. After kicking some assassin butt and saving the good Doctor, Tim and Steph share a romantic moment on a rooftop while in costume, intil the part is crashed by Prudence a.k.a. Pru, a former member of Ra's League of Assasins. Pru tells Tim that she was hired to kill Stephanie Brown, before pulling a gun out and pointing it right into Stephanie's face. Steph then proceeds to lay down an all-star Smackdown onto Pru that would make Bruce Wayne do a double take. After Steph is done beating Pru senseless, we find out the gun wasn't loaded and Pru came to help Tim, because she owed him one.

Meanwhile, we see that Ra's has come to Gotham, and he's looking for an audience, with Thomas Elliot. Ra's tells Hush, he want's everything Bruce Wayne has. We also see both Vickie Vale and Tamara Fox looking desperately for Timothy Drake/Wayne together, little do they know their being hunted by Ra's Al Ghul's assassins. At the same time, the power in the Batcave is disconnected and we see two more of Ra's assasins jumping down a rope to enter the Batcave and attack Barbara Gordon. After an dodging an explosion back at one of Tim's weapon cache's in Gotham, Red Robin, Batgirl, and Pru come face to face with Ra's best assassins, The Seven Men of Death, which is an odd name because one is a woman. Also, why the hell are the X-Men called that when they have women on the team? But I digress, after an amazing fight scene with the Seven Men of Death and Red Robin, Batgirl and Prudence, the heroes escape on Batgirl's "Ricochet" Motorcycle thing. Tim hooks one of the Seven and drags him away so he and Pru can beat some answers out of him. Steph leaves to make sure Oracle is okay. Right outside of Wayne Manor, Vicki Vale and Tam Fox are running after being shot at by the assassin sent by Ra's.

While Red Robin and Pru interrogate their hostage, Gotham's Finest, Batman and Robin arrive on the scene. Damian makes a hilarious joke about Red Robin having some decency and getting a longer skirt. Damian eventually recognizes Pru as one of his grandfather's assassin's and attacks her before Red Robin SLAMS him harder than necessary, which made this comic worth the price of purchase. Vicki and Tam pull one over on the assassin and Vicki clocks him with a shovel. Vale then grills Tam about Drake and asks what's his big secret? Tam quickly answers, covering for Tim who she knows is Red Robin, "We're engaged!" The assassin wakes up in time to grab Vale from behind and hold a knife to her neck, but she's luckily saved by Batgirl. Red Robin tells Batman to trust him and do as he asks, Batman agrees to do so and Red Robin tells him to wait for his call. Finally we see Ra's assassins ready to strike on each intended target. The targets are all unaware of the danger surrounding them. The targets include Damian Wayne, Dick Grayson, Barbara Gordon, Alfred Pennyworth, Lucius Fox, Stephanie Brown, Vicki Vale, Julie Madison, Selina Kyle, and Jim Gordon.

Our final book starts with Ra's wondering why no one can find Red Robin. Maybe that's because he's behind ya big guy. Ra's tells Tim his efforts are futile because even if one person survives the others will die. Red Robin takes a walkie talkie off of a guard he knocked out and says "Report." The Walkie Talkie answers "Hey, Ra's. How's it going?" We see that the intended targets have been saved by allies of Tim Drake, either former Teen Titan partners or other Gotham heroes. Superboy having saved Alfred Pennyworth, Kid Flash helping Catwoman, Mahunter and Jim Gordon, Batgirl who was still with Vale and Tam Fox, Huntress with Lucius Fox, Manbat saving a freaked out Julie Madison, Wonder Girl... attempting to save Oracle who saved herself and Batman and Robin who beat up the Ninjas that attacked them. Prompting Damian to chime in with "Really, Grandfather? Ninja? I'm insulted" as Batman swings off. Ra's is shocked that Red Robin was a step ahead of him, and Tim tells him "Did you think I was going to run all around the city, desperately trying to save everyone all by myself? I'm not Batman. I have friends." Tim shows that he's never trusted Ra's and has been gathering information for a while now. Ra's angrily attacks Tim, and Tim knows he can't beat Ra's. He mentions that Ra's can take Bruce to a stalemate and has been around forever and knows all types of fighting styles, so Tim just tries to survive. It's shown that Tim has been stalling to give Lucius time to prepare the paper work. He tales Ra's today he became an emancipated minor, and as of right now he is the controlling shareholder of Wayne Enterprises. He says Bruce knew that just in case something happened to him, that Hush could steal his Legacy, so left work to Lucius that if he started spending recklessly, to transfer his majority shares to Tim. He knew that Hush was going to transfer everything of Bruce's to Ra's after a simple threat, so he beat him to the punch. After finding this out, Ra's tells Tim, "Well done, Detective." before kicking him out of the building window. As Tim falls, satisfied in stopping Ra's Al Ghul, he is saved by Dick Grayson in mid-air.

Tim wakes up surrounded bt Steph, Dick, Damian and Alfred. Tim tells Dick he knew he'd save him, because he's his brother. Stephanie then asks him if he forgot to tell her anything. Tim looks confused as Damian gives him a newspaper and says "Congratulations, you dog." Tim opens the newspaper to see the headline "Engaged: Teen Wayne Heir Tim Drake to wed older woman" by Vicki Vale. A confused Tim askes, how long was he out for. Tim is later shown swinging around Gotham, with some alterations made to the Red Robin costume, claiming he's redeemed the honor of it, and it's no longer a punishment. Next, we see Ra's talking to a woman with a hood on saying Tim Drake passed every one of his tests, and "He will produce a worthy heir." Lastly, we come across an angered Tim Drake from a year ago after being told Damian was replacing him as Robin. He breaks a portrait on the wall of "Mordecai Wayne" and recognizes him as Bruce. The last thing we see, is Tim saying, "He's Alive." As we finally know what sent him around the world looking for proof that Bruce was lost in time.

Damn that was a long review. You owe me X! But really, I enjoyed reading this crossover, and I thought it did a good job of showing Tim finally come into his own. We also got to see why Tim has been so adamant that Bruce was alive. Sadly, Yost couldn't keep this going since the beginning because I really enjoyed this crossover. Now that Red Robin is getting a new writer I can only hope that Tim continues to grow and show that he definitely belongs to stand side by side with Dick and Bruce.  I very much so enjoyed seeing the growth between Tim and Steph as well, and I hope they get back together and don't get the run-around like Babs and Dick. With that said, I'll give this entire crossover a solid 8/10 rating and I'd recommend it to anyone who's a fan of Tim, Steph or just a good comic.

Also, below you can see the results of last week's poll. This weeks poll is going to be a little different, I had so may picks that I decided this week we'll have two polls so be sure to vote on them both. And below are the results of the last poll which was "Which character would you like to see star in their own Video game?"

Last place with 10% - Once again a Speedster falls behind, The Flash.
3rd Place with 20%  - The Cap falls back as well, Captain America.
2nd Place with 30%  - Our favorite Amazonian, Wonder Woman.
The Winner with 40% - The Emerald Archer, Green Arrow should get his own video game. No Boxing glove arrows!!!!

And that said, looks like I'm done for the day. I'll be back for a huge edition of Ratings and Rantings later this week, and a review of Wolverine: Enemy of The State as requested by Marc, as well as a new poll next weekend. Until then, you've just been Gobsmacked!

- Jason Todd


  1. Hoo boy, X is gonna love this. And I agree with you, good job on the opening paragraph - it set up the review perfectly. Not a lot to say on the review itself, although I did enjoy your intermittent commentary (the name X-Men IS a little chauvinistic).

    I went with X-Men on the poll, which I guess is sort of unfair since I haven't seen Spectacular Spider-Man yet. If it's as good as people tell me it is, though, I'm sure I'd have voted for it if I was more familiar with it. But thanks for reminding me that I need to check it out; I'll try to rent/borrow it soon.

    P.S. I just sunk another hour into this timeline. I really can't believe how far I am along already, although there's still tons to do. I'm up to 8 pages now. x_x

  2. Lol thanks Marc, glad I'm not alone in that opening paragraph. I didn't wanna toot my own horn but I was very happy with it. And yeah I always wondered why they refer to Storm, Jean, Rogue, Jubilee and the rest of them as X-Men.

    I went with Spectacular Spiderman, which I didn't think would be good but the writing is phenomenal, it's definitely one of my favorite cartoons of all time even though there was only two seasons. And yeah, the sooner you can get it the better dude.

    Man on man, I may need to push that aside until I get a full-time job because that sounds like a hell of a lot of comics. I bet you're gonna get a lot of replies if you post that online. When ya do, feel free to plug my blog somewhere :D Lol

  3. Never thought I'd be saying this when I woke up this morning, but I'm far enough along on the timeline at this point that I think I can start setting some realistic goals for it. It probably won't go past the year 2004 initially, but I'll expand it over time. It'll be a little while until it rolls out, mostly because there are some books I need to read to figure out where they go, but it hopefully shouldn't be all that long.

    So is Spectacular Spider-Man officially cancelled after two seasons? I remember hearing that they were going back and forth on it, but I never heard an announcement one way or the other. If it's done that would be too bad, considering how many people love the show.

  4. That's pretty freaking awesome dude. So is it a little confusing placing things and trying to figure out when and where they go?

    Yeah they announced it was cancelled because their doing some other Spidey animated series now, which sucks because I just started watching near the end of season 2, and had gotten all caught up.

  5. A little confusing? More like overwhelmingly convoluted, haha...but in a fun way. It's like trying to put a puzzle together, except that no matter what you do there are some pieces that will never fit together exactly right. The hardest part right now is that I don't know what characters show up in the books that I haven't read yet.

    Luckily I've already accomplished some of the things I thought would be hardest and which were holding me back from trying this in the first place. The hardest part was getting started, and now that I've done that I think it will be fairly downhill from here. It's a lot of research, but I'm finding it to be pretty fun so that's a reward in and of itself. So even if no one else in the world finds the timeline interesting, at least I'll have succeeded in entertaining myself for a little while. :)

    That's really disappointing about Spectacular Spider-Man. Won't stop me from checking it out though. Have you seen that new show, Iron Man: Armored Adventures? Is that supposed to be any good?

  6. Lol I believe it dude. So, does this timeline have stuff like comics from notables like Ironman to people like She-Hulk and Iceman?

    Well I can't speak for anyone else but I can definitely say that it'll become a staple of my favorites list. Haha.

    Yeah I hate they cancelled it but what can ya do? I haven't seen Armored Adventures actually, so I can't comment on it, I'll ask Falisha thought because I think she did watch it a few times.

  7. The ultimate goal is for the timeline to include every Marvel collected edition, much like the DC one already in existence. (Much like that timeline, it would cost an absolutely absurd amount to buy everything on the list!) Also, there's never been an Iceman TPB that I know of, although he was in a very good miniseries circa 2002 with art by Skottie Young.

    From what I've heard, Armored Adventures is about the Iron Man characters being in high school together. Sounds kinda weird to me, but I won't judge it based on that...weirder things have certainly been pulled off successfully.

  8. Just the fact that you know that makes you the right man for the job. You happen to remember the name of that mini?

    ....Odd, but yeah like you said it could be a sleeper. I'll have to look into it, may look for some reviews first to see if it's worth my time.

  9. It was just called Iceman, although technically it might have been called "X-Men Icons: Iceman" in the indicia, I'm not sure. There were several "X-Men Icons" miniseries that came out around that time, and they were all excellent (with the exception of the Nightcrawler one, which was just okay). The Iceman one had to do with Bobby Drake finding out he has a son!

    So other than those two, there were also a Cyclops miniseries and a Chamber one, both by Brian K. Vaughan, who is my favorite comic book writer after Grant Morrison. The Chamber one was especially awesome -- it was about Chamber going to college and basically being undercover to learn about mutants there. None of these have ever been collected, unfortunately, but the issues can be found pretty cheap, like $1 or less per issue. If you ever order from, I'd definitely recommend checking them out.

  10. Damn you blogger for eating my comment. Basically I said they sound really good and I saved this post in my email so I can check them out after I get some cash on my card.

  11. Excellent review JT, thanks for saving me from breaking my non-Yost vow. The ending kind of left me a bit confused though, why would Tim ever be given the Wayne fortune while Bruce Wayne is still around!? I mean, sure we all know Bruce is "dead", but in the DCU, he's thought to be alive and well... That just makes ZERO sense to me. I do like the idea of Tim altering the costume/meaning of the Red Robin name, because that gives him his own spot even after Bruce comes back(although that unfortunately means Damian isn't going anywhere...)

    As for the X-Men question, what else would you call them? The X-Men & Women? That would be a kind of awkward title! The X-People? Maybe I guess, but the X-Men WERE created in the chauvinistic early 60's, so I'd guess that's as good an answer as any!

    Hey, I loved that Chamber mini! Then again, I was always a big fan of Chamber, so I guess that explains that. Out of curiousity, what exactly are you talking about Marc? Oh, and before I forget, Brian K Vaughn is indeed a great writer, although I'm only familiar with his Marvel work, I can't recall reading any of his non-Marvel stuff...

  12. No problem dude, glad ya enjoyed it. That review was WAY longer than I expected it to be. I also don't get the whole Tim getting control of Bruce's stuff, maybe now they'll snatch Hush off the streets and say Bruce is taking an Exile or something?

  13. Brian K. Vaughan's non-Marvel work includes Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, Pride of Baghdad, and the TV show Lost! Those first two are my favorite comic series of the last few decades, and the last one is my favorite TV show (even though I'm a few seasons behind), so that should tell you something.

    X, I was talking about a TPB timeline that I've started working on for the Marvel Universe. It's modeled off an excellent DC TPB timeline that JT and I were talking about in the comments on his Ratings and Rantings post.

  14. Lmao Marc I JUST started watching Lost, and I'm too deep into it, I haven't played any video games or anything because I'm always watching that, BTW Im on season 5 now...

  15. I've watched everything prior to Season 5, but haven't watched that one yet. I love every minute of that show. BKV's Ex Machina is told in a very similar format as Lost, which is one of the reasons why I like it so much.

  16. Well I'm definitely putting that at the top of my list. And same here, my cousin had to make me take the first season and watch it and now I'm freaking hooked.

  17. Another cool thing about Ex Machina is that it's great for people who don't even normally read comics. I bought the first trade on Free Comic Book Day for a friend who doesn't read comics but was kind enough to go with me, and he really enjoyed it. I also gave him Y: The Last Man to read a while back, and he said he liked that as well.

  18. I don't think I want to try and join in this conversation, it's already far too gone in it's talkingness…
    I notice you didn't comment on the artwork, probably because it was poor-average really…
    Oh, and a Green Arrow game would HAVE to have boxing glove arrows. Just no antler arrows ;)

  19. Lol I agree with Nagash. You guys were definitely going with the conversation. But definite great job on this one. Luckily I've been reading this cross over and I'll say that I really enjoyed reading this.

    I think Tim did a fantastic job as Red Robin and proving Bruce Wayne is not dead. And issue 12 definitely had me on my seat.

    I love Ra's he's just a fantastic villain. And their brawl in this issue had my eyes glued to the page. I also liked how he turned to the Teen Titans for help to save all of Bruce's loved ones.

    But once again great job on this review.

    As for the poll....Wonder Woman should have won! lol. Guess the closest thing I'll get to having wonder woman in a game is DC vs. MK right? lol.

  20. Marc - Just added it to my list, I'm gonna see if they have the first trade when i go pick up my weekly comics on Wednesday/Thursday.

    Nagash - I didn't think the artwork was that bad to be honest, It was better in Batgirl but I liked it in Red Robin too. And NOOOO Boxing gloves. I want a straight up arrow game, maybe a few nets.

    Falisha - Agreed Falisha, I loved how great Ra's came off looking, and if he became one of Tim's main villains I wouldn't mind it. I also loved Tim having help and calling his friends in because that shows that usually a Robin (Dick, Tim) will have more friends than the Dark Knight.

    Lol looks like she'll have to wait then :) Lol I would play a Wonder Woman game, she was pretty cool on MK vs. DC too.

  21. Cool, hopefully your shop has will not be disappointed. And the first trade is only $9.99, so you can't really beat that.

    This is completely unrelated, but if you enjoy getting comics for free (and who doesn't?) I would highly recommend stopping by my blog. I posted a link to another blog that's giving away free comics every day this month.

    Also...12 pages and counting. ;)

  22. Sweet, I hope they do as well, I know what I'll be reading when i finish up with Lost.

    Dude I just saw that at your blog, that's pretty awesome, I entered my name so hopefully I get something too.

    And 12 pages already, man you're working over time, and a review tonight? You're gonna have typing cramps lol.

  23. Ha, I'm with Nagash and Falisha! I'm not even going to try to keep up with what's going on here! I'll just say a few quick things, a)what's Ex Machina about? b)You've GOT to have the boxing glove arrows in any GA game! and c)You could also play as WW(and GA for that matter)in the pretty under-rated JL: Heroes game. IMHO that game was WAY better then DC vs MK(but then I hated DC/MK!)

  24. I hated that JL Heroes game just because of the voices. Woooooo I hated those voice overs SOOOO bad...I can't even mention them. And I still say no boxing gloves!!!

  25. Ex Machina is about a former superhero who becomes the mayor of New York City. Through flashbacks we're able to slowly piece together his past, which is very mysterious...initially we don't know the extent of his powers or how he even got them. There's also the question of why exactly he gave up being a superhero, and it's strongly hinted that there's a tragedy in his past that's central to answering that question.

    It's very much like Lost in that the story is strongly rooted in flashbacks that relate thematically to what's going on in the present. It's also like Lost in the sheer number of questions you desperately want to know the answer to, and it seems like every time one question is answered, two biger ones take its place. Lost is the only TV show that I can watch five or six episodes in a row without wanting to stop, and likewise Ex Machina is the only comic where I can sit and read 15 or 20 issues in one sitting. It's that addictive, and that awesome.

  26. Aww, come on JT, how can you let the voice-overs bother you that much? Then again some of them ARE pretty brutal... One of my favorite bad lines is Flash, who says, "Fastest man alive?" as opposed to, "Fastest man alive!" I mean, it sounds like a question more then a statement!

    Hmm... I'll have to do some searching and see what I can find Marc. So far you haven't steered me wrong yet(I'm really enjoying the Wolverine: Weapon X: Adamantium Men trade). I'll probably be placing an order this Wednesday, so I'll see if I can snag the first trade.

  27. Lol dude if the voiceover sucks it can ruin a game for me, that's why I hated Spider-Man Web of Shadows. Whoever player Peter was Horrendous. And the example you mentioned was perfect lol. I also hated Pearlman as Batman.

    Yeah that does sound interesting, I'm gonna pick up the first couple of trades Wednesday if I can get the cash, if not maybe next week.

  28. You know, I didn't think Web of Shadows was all that bad. At least, not as bad as everyone claimed it was. The way everyone was ripping on it when came out, you would have thought the game was barely playable. In reality, the controls and gameplay were great, with the only real fault being the voice acting.

    I think the most fun I had with the game was just swinging around the city and beating people up, to be honest. When I did that I'd usually turn down the sound and listen to music so Peter's voice wouldn't bug me. I still remember the first time I saw Avengers Tower when I was swinging around...I just about wet my pants. I had no idea that was going to be in the game. :)

  29. Yeah, I'm with you, that's why I didn't like it. The story and choices and stuff weren't bad, I thought it was cool except the horrible voice acting. Man Spidey was awful, but Wolvie and Black Cat were excellent.

    Yeah that was pretty damn epic, and the billboards with the Registration Act voting, that was pretty sweet too. I hated that if you beat Wolvie you like...Bend him in Half, that was pretty stupid lol.