This week from DC Comics we get the junior version of the Council of Owl. Robin 5 instead gives us the council of Robins. The last issue ended with all four major former Robins coming to talk with Damian about his reckless behavior. First, he had to deal with the return of Ra’s Al Ghul, but now Damian must face, Dick, Jason, Tim, and Steph. Can he find a way out of this new mess and return to the tournament? Or can Clan Robin talk some sense into the reckless youngster?

Ravager is dead, or at least she was. Being the last contestant to die for the first time, the true tournament begins at sunrise, but Damian has yet to make it back. Apparently, Ravager contacted Jason to alert the Bat-family to Damian’s reckless plans. Determined not to be stopped, and five-man rooftop race begins. The stakes? If anyone catches Damian he will return home. If not he will fight in the tournament. During this race, Damian puts on a display of prowess that surprised even me.

Damian has long been the angry rogue of the Robin group. Yes, Jason had his issues too, but Damian’s rebelliousness far outranks that. He’s turned on not only Bruce, but the entire Bat-family, and that is what I like most about this issue. For the first time, we actually see Bruce’s proteges working together as a family to protect one of their own, whether he likes it or not. Post Future State the entire Bat-community works together like it never has before.

The Race of All Races

I love this race across the rooftops in Robin 5. It highlights each of the Robins’ strengths. Damian beating Steph I see as a no brainer. Him beating Tim and Jason I see as pretty easy as well. Tim is more brains while Jason is more brute strength at this point. I love how Damian even turns Jason’s sentimentality against him, brilliant but cold, but when it comes to Dick? No way. When Damian cuts Dick’s rope and looks to sail easily across the finish line, I had a problem with that, but the race did not end there.

In many ways Dick led the race from the very beginning. As it turns out Damian just had a birthday. Damian may think he knows the other Robins well enough, but he did not see this coming. Dick and Damian share a bond unique amongst the Robins, for Damian was Robin to Dick’s Batman for a time. Also, once again the death of Alfred plays heavily on both. Unlike virtually every other person on the planet, Damian lets Dick get inside his mind. Dick realizes Damian has to do this. He needs to find himself just as all the others did. He may not like the methods, but it needs to be done.

The one thing that really stands out to me after all this is Damian’s prowess. Even though he is the youngest of the Robins, he can already go toe-to-toe with all of his predecessors. His physicality for his size marks him as elite. Unlike all of his former counterparts, he possesses both sides of Batman. Dick is physical, but lacks the detective skills of Bruce. Tim is the exact opposite, being more the sleuth that the combatant. Jason and Steph are simply good crime fighters as both lack exceptional skills. If Damian can screw his head on straight, I truly think he is the one worthy heir to the mantle of the Bat.

Robin 5 – Let Immortal Kombat Begin!

Damian slips right back into the tournament without anyone noticing. In the process, the League of Shadows tips their hand at how invested they are in this tournament. They thought they had it won because this tournament, despite all the great fighters, boiled down to Damian and Conner. When asked where Damian disappeared too, I love his response because it’s so true. He says he was “training”, and it felt like he was. He now possesses that which he lacked before, and he feels more unstoppable than ever.

I love the title for next issue. “Lots of Fighting”. Not sure what more can be said. The tournament begins in earnest and we shall see if the present Dick gave Damian comes into play before all is said and done.

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