Dark Nights: Death Metal Robin King #1 is the latest Dark Nights: Death Metal one-shot that’s better than the main story. Focusing on the hit Robin King character, we learn more about his history and his relationship with The Batman Who Laughs.
The issue is an interesting one. We dive further into this twisted version of Bruce Wayne and “Batman”. Bruce is the one who killed his parents. From there goes on a mission to take on the adult heroes and their rules. There’s a brilliance to it all and we get to see why the Robin King is so good at what he does. Like Batman, he plans, and plans a lot. But, that’s both good and bad.
Writer Peter J. Tomasi handles the main story and adds depth to the breakout character. We get a vision and a mission and it’s one that’s consistent. With distrust of adults and rules and wanting the children to rise up, Robin King has a distrust of everyone. That includes The Batman Who Laughs. With that small detail, Tomasi gives us someone who can rival that character and likely will be a thorn in his side down the road. He’s more than just another evil Batman now. The crumbs for what’s to come are sprinkled here. Like the other one-shots, Dark Nights: Death Metal Robin King #1 is going to be a vital chapter in Dark Nights: Death Metal.
What Tomasi also does is deliver a chaotic glee about everything. Robin King has a kid-like excitement about the carnage and destruction. The attitude and actions make sense and are fun in a weird way. We see heroes murdered and there’s a bit of humor about it. That’s partially due to Tomasi’s writing but also the art by Riley Rossmo.
Rossmo is joined by Ivan Plascencia on color and Rob Leigh on lettering. Rossmo’s distinctive style with Plascencia’s colors creates a chaotic symphony of destruction visually. There’s an almost Looney Tunes feel about it all as Robin King’s joy explodes off the page. Rossmo’s character style adds to that and what could easily be gore and horror comes off as over the top humor. The glee with which the art presents Robin King too is somewhat infectious. Mixed with his at times child-like innocence, there’s a combination of a comic that’s reminiscent of 90s Bisley Lobo, a celebration of over the top destruction.
The issue also features a second story, “The Quiet Ones.” Featuring Signal, it has him going up against a new evil Batman we haven’t seen before. It too feels like a key moment that’ll have an impact down the road as the character “rights” his power and gets focus. Written by Tony Patrick with art by Daniel Sampere, color by Adriano Lucas, and lettering from Andworld Design, it’s another story that probably should be in the main comic but is relegated to this one-shot.
Dark Nights: Death Metal Robin King #1 is an odd comic like many of the one-shots. It’s likely an important part of the story filling in key moments not in the main comic. There’s clearly things here that’ll have an impact down the road and play in to what’s to come. But, at the same time, I’m not sure how you would add any of this to the main series. Even adding an issue, it’s too much of a side quest focus to keep the flow of that going. It’s also far more entertaining than what we’ve seen there. It’s focus on a few characters allows them to have depth delivering a comic that feels like it’s more about the character than the gimmick. That’s something that has plagued Dark Nights: Death Metal as a whole.
Dark Nights: Death Metal Robin King #1, like the other one-shots, stands out. If you want to learn more about Robin King, it’s out there but there’s just enough having to do with the main event, it also doesn’t stand on its own. Still, it’s an entertaining read that’s beyond insane and fun.
Story: Peter J. Tomasi, Tony Patrick Art: Riley Rossmo, Daniel Sampere
Color: Ivan Plascencia, Adriano Lucas Letterer: Rob Leigh, Andworld Design
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review