DC Comics 2021
Written by Joshua Williamson
Illustrated by Gleb Melnikov & Max Dunbar
Coloured by Luis Guerrero
Lettered by ALW’s Troy Peteri
It was the smooch heard ‘round the world…and it’s the one thing Damian Wayne DIDN’T see coming his way in the Lazarus Tournament! As Robin battles for the secrets of eternal life against the deadliest killers on the planet, can he-will-he-DARE HE-survive…a girlfriend?
I know that part of this is due to the diverse and interesting cast of characters and the lion's share is because Joshua writes the bad guys like no one else around. I mean the dude is seriously good at writing complicated messed up characters and it’s really no wonder how he’s been able to get into a Damian Wayne book and actually enjoy the heck out of it.
There are a lot of interesting things happening here. I know who a lot of the bit villains we’ve seen on the island are but there are those that I don’t know like Respawn or Flatline or even who this woman is who runs this tournament. We slowly learn who Mother Soul really is and her connection to Lazarus Island. That this isn’t drawn out and neither is it rushed but that it flows at the right pace for the story is exceptionally well rendered.
I’m a huge fan of the way that this is bedding told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exceptionally well. The character development that we see through the dialogue, the character interaction as well as how we see them act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter does a marvellous job of bringing us these personalities. The pacing is excellent and as it takes us through the pages revealing the story the more I simply must know.
I’m really rather impressed with the way that this is being structured and how the layers within the story continue to emerge, grow, evolve and strengthen. The way we see the layers open up new avenues to be explored and how we see this add depth, dimension and complexity to the story is sensational. I mean that avenue featuring Mother Soul oh yeah that’s a perfect example of this. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward are impeccably achieved.
Aside from the fact that we really do need to see more backgrounds, the interiors here are very nicely done. It does feel a few steps up from say the Young Justice and I kind of wish it were more Batman less sidekick. Don’t get me wrong the linework is clean, crisp and strong and how we see the varying weights and techniques being utilised to create the detail work is extremely well rendered. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a very talented eye for storytelling. The various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work shows a great understanding of how colour works.
I’m pretty impressed with the way that this story flows and that we don’t have to see the entirety of these fights. Instead we see this get to where it needs to go while showcasing bits and pieces. It really is effective and we all kind of knew who the two in the final were going to be and I’m still wondering what Hawke is doing there at all but hey I suppose we’ll learn eventually. With some superb writing and this solid characterisation alongside these interiors make for some extremely interesting reading.