Riko gets her spotlight in We Ar Robin #4 written by Lee Bermejo, pencils by James Harvey, inks by James Harvey with Diana Egea, colors by James Harvey and Alex Jaffe and letters by Jared K. Fletcher.
Following the confirmed death of jock “Robin” Troy from our main group, we have a moving reaction issue revolving around Riko, one of Troy’s teammates and thus far a fan favorite for her cloud cuckoo-isms. The girl considered eccentric and weird at school and we learn is part of the school band and she is a big fan of Batgirl, her room covered in memorabilia.
This issue is extremely reflective, musing, and generally not much actually occurs at least narrative wise. Riko is having something of a mental crisis, talking to a vision of Batgirl in class. She’s been somewhat disenchanted, the compulsion to help has been surely shaken by Troy’s death but also by comments from classmates, the public and yet she still feels it. We have a good interaction between her and her mother. When she does don a (newly revamped) Robin costume to patrol and finds herself up against a group of kids bent on “exposing” and taking pictures of masks for their blog, Babs appears and helps put them in their place.
This is a really unique issue. Everything about it is unique; the reflection period after a huge (more or less) death is seldom ever done or done correctly in comics and this issue felt like grieving. It’s confused. This extends to the hyper-stylized pop-art artwork which is probably the most striking and original work I’ve seen at DC in a long time. Labyrinthine and jumbled blend of pop art, youth culture and retro fashion it’s incredibly unique. It looks like it would belong on an indie or Vertigo comic and that’s amazing to have this kind of art on this book. The art team really created something special here and it’s really worth to give them huge kudos. While it does owe to the writing and script, fanastic visions from Lord of the Flies, a book Riko’s mom gives her, juxtaposed to Riko’s own struggle and perseverance were additional abstract content that enriched the text and set this issue above.
Babs, once she shows up is written better here than probably anywhere else. While she still no matter who is writing comes off as still a bit Stephanie Brown-ish as the new lo-fi Batgirl, there is a firmness to her demeanor and the humor used for her does bring to mind the best parts of BTAS Barbara and Year One incarnations, who are generally considered the best incarnations of her as Batgirl so huge kudos there. The “I wasted Batgirl’s Time” panel is perhaps one the best subtle uses of comedy.
Amazing effort. I liked this one a lot. Keep em coming.