Graphic Novel Review: Robin & Batman by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen

Robin & Batman by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen. DC, 2022. 9781779516596. Contains #1-3.

If you haven’t read Lemire and Nguyen’s multi-volume graphic novel collaboration Descender and its sequel Ascender, go read them now. Lemire’s writing is exceptional and Nguyen’s illustrations are inspiring. And the pair bring the full force of their talents and experience working together to this short graphic novel which you should absolutely check out.

It takes place just after Bruce Wayne adopted Dick Grayson, and he’s training Grayson to become his crime-fighting sidekick. In the opening pages, Grayson doesn’t have a superhero name or a costume yet, or the skills to go on missions with Batman. He’s reckless. He’s not listening to his mentor. And then he goes off to fight crime on his own in his crazy, bright costume. The story makes it clear how impossible it would be for a teenager raised by Batman, from whom it’s impossible to keep secrets, and how brutal (both emotionally and physically) the lessons he tries to impart are.

There’s a plot throughout involving Killer Croc and Robin’s family, and the whole book has a great emotional arc. This is one of the best mainstream superhero graphic novels of the last few years.


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