Pencils by Phil Jimenez with Inks by Peter Gross from Showcase ‘94 #6
“Benedictions” Part 3: “Vengeance and Forgiveness” Written by Chuck Dixon. Swipe to see the death of Deathangel! 💀💀💀🔫🔫🔫🦇🦇🦇
One supporting character introduced in Robin III who would eventually become quite important in the life of young Tim Drake was Ariana Dzerchenko, a Russian American cutie pie who lived in Gotham's Little Odessa neighborhood with her father, who was unfortunately killed by the KGBeast and his former Soviet Union goons. Ariana would be sent to live with her uncle and aunt, and by the time Tim's long-running solo series started in 1993, the two of them were dating. They had their ups and downs like all normal high school couples, but things were aggravated by the usual teenage superhero problem of Tim not being able to tell Ariana about his secret identity. Ariana suspected Tim of cheating on her during more than one occasion, and the pair broke up a few times but usually got back together. Their relationship reached a particular bubbling point around Robin issue 40, where Ariana tried to initiate sex for the first time with Tim only to have Mr. Drake say probably the most unlikely thing to come out of the mouth of a 15-year-old boy ever - "Making love is like a DOORWAY. You step through once and you can never step back." Lol, actually, Tim's a good dude and realizes that Ariana wants them to "do it" for the wrong reasons - because she's recovering from implied sexual harassment (it actually seems like an outright rape, but Ariana says that it didn't go that far...hmm) from another guy at school and wants her first time to be with a guy that she loves. Tim and her have a very mature moment for a pair of teenagers, though Ariana's uncle happens to walk in on them afterwards and has a fit at his niece's state of undress. Unfortunately, Ariana and Tim weren't meant to be, as the pressures of teenage crimefighting eventually made it too difficult to maintain a relationship. Tim increasingly became involved with Stephanie Brown (Spoiler) as well, who may have been a better match for him since she too was a teen hero. But in many ways, Ariana - or "Ari," as Tim called her, was the quintessential first girlfriend and an important step on Tim's path to learning about love. (Art by Tom Lyle, Tom Grummett & Staz Johnson for Robin III issue 1, Robin issue 1, and Robin 40!)
Cover Art by Bart Sears from Showcase ‘94 #6
“Benedictions” Part 3: “Vengeance and Forgiveness” 🐦🐦🐦🐦🔫🔫🔫🔫
Pencils by Irv Novick with Inks by Steve Mitchell from Batman #325
Vol. 1 “Death - - Twenty Stories High” Written by Roger McKenzie. 🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🕵🏼♂️🕵🏼♂️🕵🏼♂️🕵🏼♂️
There were a few interesting subplots raised in Robin III that made a lot of sense but were surprisingly unusual for a comic book about a teenage superhero. They revolved around Tim Drake's civilian life - specifically how his school guidance counselor began questioning him about all the bruises he always had whenever he came to class, as well as the increasing pressure Tim felt from his father to spend less time at Bruce Wayne's house. There's a reason that comic book heroes, especially youthful ones, are so often orphans - it's because it's easier to have them go out and save the city night after night when they DON'T have concerned parents worrying about them. Tim was different in that his old man was still alive, had recently recovered from a coma and was worried about all the time that his son was spending over at the house of a man who wasn't his father. Which is a perfectly legitimate concern! There's also the sense that Tim's father feels afraid that Tim has mentally replaced him with Bruce Wayne, which is a realistic family fear that you don't see comics tackle very often. Unfortunately Chuck Dixon didn't really develop these threads all that well in this mini-series, and they sorta get resolved by the end when Tim escapes from his guidance counselor's interrogation sessions and his old man forgives him. But the fact that they were brought up at all is interesting, and balancing his crimefighting life with his regular existence was a major theme in the long-running solo Robin series that would follow this one. (Art by Tom Lyle, words by Chuck Dixon.)
Cover Art by Jim Aparo from Batman #325
Vol. 1 “Death - - Twenty Stories High” 🦇🦇🦇🦇
From my #cultofthebatlibrary
,, a new acquisition! 🦇📘📒. Currently on sale on Amazon for $12.99 (hardcover! Swipe left for video flip through). Following text from Amazon: The unforgettable world of Frank Miller’s Dark Knight saga—reimagined by the comics industry’s greatest artists with a collection of variant cover art—is brought to life in this hardcover title, BATMAN: THE ART OF THE DARK KNIGHT: MASTER RACE.
No comic has shaped the future of superhero storytelling like Frank Miller’s THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. Even 30 years later, the iconic story of an aged Batman in a strange dystopian future still sets the gold standard for what a comic book can be.
So when Miller’s highly anticipated third installment of the series, BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT: MASTER RACE, hit comics shops, it was accompanied by DC’s most ambitious variant cover program ever—over 150 variant covers produced by an all-star roster of artists, from veteran industry legends to the hottest rising stars. This special edition collects all the covers, variant covers and mini-comic covers from MASTER RACE, along with never-before-seen sketch material and an introduction by longtime Miller collaborator and Dark Knight saga inker, Klaus Janson.
FEATURING STUNNING ARTWORK BY
Frank Miller, Andy Kubert, Klaus Janson, Jim Lee, Rafael Albuquerque, Neal Adams, Michael Allred, John Cassaday, J. Scott Campbell, Greg Capullo, Darwyn Cooke, Tim Sale, Brian Bolland, Gary Frank, Ivan Reis, Francis Manapul, David Finch and many more! . . .
#cultofthebatman #batman #thebatman #familyofbats #thebatforce #thebatforcetimes #batforcetom #robindcross #thegrumpler #legendsoflegobatman #grandpabatman #thetrunkler #thebatofgotham
Art by Leonardo Romero with Colors by Tony Aviña from Batman ‘66 #19
“The Villain of Vapor Street” Written by Jeff Parker. 🦇🦇🦇🦇💨💨💨💨
Robin III not only had Tim Drake working with the Huntress to defeat a group of former Soviet Union counterfeiters, but it also featured a rumble between King Snake, the big bad of the first Robin mini, and the KGBeast. It's always fun to see two villains ignore the heroes for a second to go at each other's throats (that "enemy of my enemy is my friend" kinda thing) and King Snake proves that despite his blindness and the Beast's cybernetic upgrades he is still the superior fighter. At the end of the story, Robin, Huntress, and Ariana, Tim Drake's future girlfriend, manage to cut a deal with the victorious King Snake, who's more concerned with taking over the counterfeiting operation for himself and his Ghost Dragons. When Tim - who secretly sabotages the dollar bills and has the last laugh - asks King Snake what currency they're dealing with here, it's revealed that these are Euros...the "paper cash of the new European Commonwealth" and "potentially the most stable currency in the world!" Truly quaint talk by today's standards, but this was printed in 1993! Also, if you squint, you can see that Huntress is wearing a black arm band with the Superman shield on it - this is because this book came out around the same time as the "Death of Superman" story, and as per DC editorial mandate, all costumed heroes wore these bands that month as a sign of respect to the fallen Man of Steel. But when you actually think about the timeline of the Batman books, this mini-series happened right before the beginning of "Knightfall," and there was pretty much no time for Bruce Wayne and Tim Drake to attend Superman's funeral in Metropolis, which was where they were in the Superman books at the time. This is why I've always found the attempts to create perfect continuity in a shared comic book universe to be a losing man's game, because while it might have been cool to see all the heroes of DC wear Superman armbands for one month if you were a reader at the time, these bands appeared MID-STORY ARC in most instances, and it really sticks out as kinda silly when you read the thing in a trade paperback years later! (Art by Mike Zeck and Tom Lyle, words by Chuck Dixon.)
Cover Art by Michael & Laura Allred from Batman ‘66 #19
“The Villain of Vapor Street” 🦇🦇🦇🦇💨💨💨💨🔍🔍🔍🔍
Art by Bernard Chang with Colors by Marcelo Maiolo from Batman Beyond #11
“Rise of the Demon” Conclusion. Written by Dan Jurgens. 🦇🦇🦇🦇🗡🗡🗡🗡😈😈😈😈
Robin III! Tim Drake continued his tradition of having excellent mini-series with this one, the last one he got before finally receiving his own long-running book. Not only does Robin III feature Tim teaming up with the Huntress, Tim's first difficult interactions with his wheelchair-bound father (who's finally out of his coma and home from the hospital), the debut of Tim's first girlfriend Ariana Dzerchenko, and a great gang war between the Russian and Chinese mobs of Gotham...but it also has the return of the one and only KGBEAST, who hadn't been seen since "Ten Nights of the Beast" in the late 80s! Awwww yeah I friggin' love the KGBeast, and here he debuted with the cyborg-esque eyepiece and arm that would become his trademark throughout the 90s. Writer Chuck Dixon also saddled him with a RIDICULOUS Eastern European accent which wasn't in his original story arc, but then again I suppose all of his dialogue there could have been in Russian. Anyway you get to see the Beast mistake Tim Drake for Jason Todd (who actually disposed of the Beast's suicide bomber assistant by...kicking him off a hang-glider and watching him explode in midair; Jason didn't mess around) and spout fantastically hilarious lines like "I AM TO BE KILLING YOU. DECADENT AMERICAN YOUTH IS MOSTLY ANNOYING!!!" Ah, it's good, so good. (Cover art by Mike Zeck, interiors by Tom Lyle.)
Cover Art by Bernard Chang with Colors by Marcelo Maiolo from Batman Beyond #11
“Rise of the Demon” Conclusion. 🦇🦇🦇🦇🗡🗡🗡🗡😈😈😈😈
Cover Art by Neal Adams from World’s Finest Comics #178
Vol. 1 🦇🦇🦇🦇💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼🏹🏹🏹🏹
! Here’s some “Nano Metalfigs” Batgirl, Poison Ivy, Batman and classic Batman.
Batman: The Animated Series Batgirl Mega-Mega Magnet 🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇
Taking a break from my Tim Drake coverage today to shoot some random thoughts about the rumor that's been floating around about Warner Bros thinking about casting Michael B. Jordan as Superman one day. I don't really think it will happen, because half of these rumors about the DC movies have been BS. But it's amusing to speculate, and I think I'd be more enthusiastic if Michael B. Jordan were playing Val-Zod, the current Earth-2 version of Superman who's black. But I feel like the execs at Warner Bros probably don't even know about Earth-2 Supes and likely thought, "Hey, everyone loved Jordan in Blank Panther, diversity is big now, so why not make a movie about a black Clark Kent," which means that they're not serious about promoting diversity, they're just serious about jumping on it as a shock value fad. That said, people are correct when they say there's no real reason why Superman HAS to be white - he's an alien, after all, and him being white is just the portrayal that audiences are used to. With that said, what about Batman? Bats actually has a few canon stories that point towards him being of Scottish descent (see "The Scottish Connection," which I've covered here previously), but aside from that, race isn't hard-coded into the DNA of his character the way it is for, say, a hero like Black Panther. However, I did hear an interesting argument from Marc Bernardin, who does the Fatman on Batman podcast with Kevin Smith. According to Marc (who's black), he'd prefer Bruce Wayne to be played by a white actor on screen because Wayne specifically comes from an "old money" family, and because of the United States' troubled racial history, there really aren't any non-white families stretching back for generations like the Waynes. Makes some sense, and I think some of the possible appeal of Bruce Wayne is that he's the epitome of white privilege in America yet willingly throws all of it away in his psychotic NEED to help his fellow human beings regardless of social status or race. (Continued in comments below!)
Pencils by David Lopez with Inks by Dan Green from Legends of the Dark Knight #161
“Loyalties” Part 3. Written by John Ostrander. Swipe to see Batman save Barbara! 🦇🦇🦇🦇
Tim Drake versus the Joker - the finale of Robin II, and Tim's chance to defeat the villain who killed the Robin before him! It begins after Tim fools the Joker and his henchmen by making them think they've blown up a truck with Batman in it, only to swoop down from above to catch 'em all by surprise. I quite like Tim's opening monologue: "Now, while they're surprised. Now, while they're off balance. Now, while I still have the guts." The fight unfolds across the frozen lakes of Gotham's harbor, and we have an early appearance of Tim's R-shaped throwing star, plus the first Batman-themed rendition of Jingle Bells! I believe the one that the Joker sings here predates the famous one that appeared in the "Christmas With The Joker" episode of the Batman animated series. (You know the one I'm talking about - it has that line, "Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg, etc") Robin ends up chasing the Joker to a waste treatment plant and nearly gets stabbed before toppling Mr. J backwards into a huge vat of shit, where he belongs. A victory for the new Boy Wonder! (Artwork by Kevin Maguire and Tom Lyle, script by Chuck Dixon.)