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Red Robin #9 [Review]

Quick Rating: Solid
Story Title: Collision (part one of four)

Beginning with apprehending a Killer Moth, Tim reacquaints himself with Gotham before retribution from Ra’s al Ghul begins…

redrobin009 Writer: Christopher Yost
Penciller: Marcus To
Inker: Ray McCarthy
Colorist: Guy Major
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Assistant Editor: Janelle Siegel
Editor: Mike Marts
Cover: To & McCarthy
Published by: DC Comics

I’ve long been a fan of Tim Drake, and until the One Year Later break and price hike several years ago had followed the character since long before he even had his own series. And though I read a handful of issues toward the end of that series, and the previous 8 in this series…Red Robin #9 is maybe the first issue that has felt like there’s still that same character to be read that was in Robin.

We begin a new 4-parter in this issue. Tim reacquaints himself with Gotham, takes down someone in a Firefly costume (as the costume and person behind the name changes so much), has a moment with Connor (Superboy), catches up with new love-interest Tam Fox, and we see Vicki Vale prying into "Bruce"’s life. When Ra’s al Ghul ruins Tim’s good moment, Tim puts everything else aside to turn for help–pride be darned–and finds someone in the Batcave he had not at all expected.

The art for the issue’s good…my main complaint is that I still don’t like the Red Robin cowl–but I do like the way Tim himself is depicted. The visuals actually look like I’d expect for a comic, which is a definite plus; nothing that’ll blow one away with awesomeness, but significantly better than a lot of art in comics out there.

The story is decent–something about it leaves me wondering how firm a direction there is for this book. In a way, we have Tim–less than a year in–feeling much like the star of the 180-some issue Robin series, and quite unlike the dark, brooding character that began this current Red Robin series…almost like the primary difference is the costume instead of an attitude or specific story/character direction.

At the same time, it’s refreshing to see that a story doesn’t have to be exactly stretched or compressed to six issues for a "graphic novel" collected format–four-parters are ok, too. What’s rather frustrating, is that the four-parter this issue begins appears to continue directly into Batgirl #8…which is, for me, an entirely unplanned-for purchase, to say nothing of the fact that Batgirl #7 isn’t even out yet, I’m told. The cover has zero indication of any crossover…just a fairly "generic" or "iconic" shot of Red Robin, where I would expect a story continuing into another title would have something on the cover to indicate the crossover.

While one would not have the context of the "Eurotrip" and the setup of things from Tim getting on the bad side of Ra’s al Ghul and his League of Assassins, this isn’t the most horrible point to jump on the title. Still, the issue’s fairly standard, and not much here to truly draw someone in outta nowhere if they’ve not already been "on the fence."

Ratings:

Story: 3/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

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Red Robin #9 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 3/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Red Robin #1 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Ender’s Game: Battle School #4 [Review]

Creative Director & Executive Director Orson Scott Card
Script: Christopher Yost
Art: Pasqual Ferry
Color Art: Frank D’Armata
Lettering: VC’s Cory Petit
Story Consultant: Jake Black
Pasqual Ferry & Frank D’Armata:
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Beginning this issue, I feel like I’ve missed something. I’m not sure if I simply missed an issue…or if there was a story jump that’s alluded to in the opening text, or what–but I found myself wishing there was a bit of a recap page for this issue. I’ve read the novel this is based on, so know what’s happened…just no memory of seeing everything in this visual format.

We pick up with Ender having been transferred out of Bonzo’s army and into another army, which opens up different dynamics between Ender and the other kids. We move through the incident of the younger kids getting away from the larger bullies in the battle room, and finally to where Ender–in the computer simulation game–throws the snake through the mirror and is set upon by many smaller snakes.

On the whole, the art continues to be good and fairly stylistic. The visuals are different than what I have in my head for these events, but I can let that slide with no real trouble.

The story holds up as well–though again, I’ve read the novel and so can fill in any gaps that I’d otherwise find myself missing. This definitely continues to feel–both visually and the story–like an adaptation. Yost and Ferry do a good job of holding to the spirit of the source material, though, which is indeed a plus in that department.

For the point of the story we’re at 4 issues in out of 5, I can only assume that we are indeed going to hve a series of mini-series adapting the entirety of Ender’s Game. However, I wonder at the same time if we might get a longer series combining both Ender and Bean for the next segment, as it seems likely that this mini will end not long after the two are introduced.

If you’re not already familiar with Ender’s Game or interested in beginning with something that is an “adaptation of” the work, this probably isn’t for you–especially for the price. Otherwise, this isn’t bad, and one could do much worse than revisit the story in this format.

Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 7/10

Ender’s Game: Battle School #2 [Review]

Creative Director & Executive Director: Orson Scott Card
Script: Christopher Yost
Art: Pasqual Ferry
Color Art: Frank D’Armata
Lettering: VC’s Cory Petit
Story Consultant: Jake Black
Cover: Pasqual Ferry & Frank D’Armata
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Picking up where the previous issue left off, we see Ender’s trip to and arrival at Battle School. His teacher lays it on a bit hard, intentionally (and effectively) isolating Ender from his fellow students from the get-go…the hope being this will prevent Ender from getting comfortable, and force him to think outside the standard “system.” We see Ender’s craftiness as he quickly engages older students, proving himself worthy of their level…we also see Ender’s skill in the Battle Room, easily adapting to a zero-gravity situation other students have a harder time with.

The story seems quite true to the book as I recall reading. Whether this holds up under close/immediate comparison I’m not sure. I find it to be quite satisfactory, though. The concepts Card presents work well in present-day American culture where we’ve got a war going on a couple of fronts and non-traditional enemies abound…and military advances seem to be pushing the bounds of traditional practices. While obviously set in the future, the story has that charming relevance in present-day.

After the first issue, the visual style’s growing on me a bit–it’s still not what I initially imagined when I’d read Ender’s Game years ago…but it fits, and it’s not hard to let this visual take influence my memories. There’s a certain vibe to the art that I can’t quite put my finger on…sort of a manga influence while seeming like it’s trying to fit a live model for certain characters.

On the whole, not a bad issue. As an adaptation this holds my interest–a sort of re-reading of the familiar story, but with pictures replacing thousands of words.

I’m not entirely sure why I bought this issue…this is a 5-issue limited series, and I would be absolutely shocked if the collected-volume (aka “graphic novel”) isn’t available within a month or two of the final issue’s shipping. You’re probably better off waiting for that version, unless you’re absolutely chomping at the bit for a visual production of Ender’s Game.

Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 7/10

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