Robin trapped in concrete

Teenagers are a giant mess of sweat, insecurity, and mistakes.  That’s not even opinion; I imagine science could back me up on that.  And like all non-adults, teenage superheroes – aside from still being perfect physical specimens, going through puberty with relative ease, and attracting more of the opposite sex than the school they attend combined – make terrible errors in judgement. Such as Robin today in Robin #4-5, written by Chuck Dixon and drawn by Tom Grummett & Ray Kryssing. He breaks up an attempted robbery, except he didn’t think through the bad guy’s full plan.

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Y’see, the money’s hot, right?  The cops’ll be looking for the stolen cash and armored car, so the supervillains decide to bury it in concrete for a few days before excavating it, thus losing the evidence if they get caught or whatever.  So our whole story takes place in the five by ten foot enclosed square of an armored truck with Robin and Cluemaster (Spoiler/Batgirl/Stephanie Brown’s father) stuck together.  It starts off pretty much how you imagine it would.  Badly.

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This is why superheroes are only applicable in a fictional universe.  Superboy and Wonder Girl in a single punch would have been back home sleeping soundly in his barn by now.  Beast Boy would have slipped out before the concrete came down.  Starfire could blast her way out.  And Cyborg must have dozens of methods to escape or call someone or he might not even need to breathe at all.  But poor Robin has to rely on luck.  His utility belt has many gadgets, but none of those pockets contain miracle guns or divine intervention lasers.

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The clock indicates what time it is.  It builds suspense while Spoiler runs around on the surface in the sub-story I’m not showing you.  And poor Cluemaster, getting lectured by a high school sophomore. No one takes Cluemaster seriously rocking a ponytail like that.  Hairstyles for supervillains must be short, normal, or outrageous, not a style blaring Nostalgia for the ’80s.  But luckily as you’ll see below, Robin has learned the most important lesson one could under Batman’s teachings: blame yourself for every little thing you do wrong no matter what the situation or uncontrollable variables because you should know better always and forever.

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We all know Robin isn’t going to die.  It’s only issue five of his series, and DC usually waits until sales get low before they kill off their series’ main characters.  Dear Robin gets saved entirely by the chaos of the comic book universe and not his own abilities.  It’s an acceptable method of storytelling as having the superhero lose once in a while raises the stakes for their next battles.  That’s why Superman usually battles dudes stronger, faster, and tougher than he is.  Though I imagine this is a story Robin won’t be telling Batman about when he gets back to the cave.

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This moment marks more than Robin’s embarrassing rescue.  You’re about to witness the beginning of the Robin/Spoiler romance, despite Robin having a girlfriend and it taking thirty-ish issues before they actually become a couple – and even then, Robin won’t tell Spoiler who he is although he knows Spoiler’s real life identity.  It’s a slow, drama-filled burn, like all high school relationships should be.

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2 Comments on “Robin trapped in concrete”

  1. Js says:

    Tim was always my favourite Robin. I didn’t buy his book regularly, almost never, but it looks like I was really missing out. Yeah, there is a little bit of “hey, I could have stayed home and the outcome of this story would have been the same, because my girlfriend did everything”, but on the whole, the articles you present make the book look great.

    Speaking of which, that one guy IS the Electrocutioner, right? He was a big time deal once upon a time. If Spoiler/Steph is taking him out, she was already a bad ass little crime fighter.


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