Robin #148

"Boy Wanted Part One: Out Go the Lights"
Story by Adam Beechen, art by Karl Kerschl et al

There's nothing really egregious about this story. Mystery villain lures Robin into a fight, blinds him with floodlights, plants a corpse in a Batgirl suit on the ground, and calls in the cops, and boom -- the Boy Wonder is wanted for murder. But the plot feels shopworn: Bruce Wayne was wanted for murder a few years ago, and Nightwing (the original Robin) got framed just last week, and Beechen deals with this by having characters go around saying things like "First Nightwing, now you?"

Plus there's a lot of little botches that add up. The in media res opening is confusing and necessitates some clunky exposition. (The trick with these One Year Later stories is making the reader wonder what's happened since last issue without making them wonder what the fuck is going on now.) The characterization of Batman and Oracle is wrongheaded: Oracle comes off like a big soppy girl, and Batman clumsily apologizes for hurting Robin's feelings. And Beechen spends about half the issue awkwardly contriving to keep Batman from pursuing the case himself (a problem that anyone writing a Robin solo book must face on a monthly basis). This comic would be fine if it were, you know, better.