Dish Of The Week 3/18/20: Robin 80th Anniversary 100 Page Super Spectacular

Each week I highlight the ultimate Comfort Food Comic release. This is the comic that gets me the most hyped. The comic I’ll remember and revisit the most. The one that gave me that special feeling above all the other releases that new comic book day.

The Dish Of The Week for 3/18/20 is the Robin 80th Anniversary 100 Page Super Spectacular with stories by:

  • Marv Wolfman and Tom Grummett
  • Chuck Dixon and Scott McDaniel
  • Devin Grayson and Dan Jurgens
  • Tom King & Tim Seeley and Mikel Janin
  • Judd Winick and Dustin Nguyen
  • Adam Beechen and Freddie Williams II
  • James Tynion IV and Javi Fernandez
  • Amy Wolfram and Nicola Scott
  • Peter J. Tomasi and Jorge Jimenez
  • Robbie Thompson and Ramon Villalobos
  • Plus pin-up pages by:
  • Kenneth Rocafort
  • Nicola Scott
  • Andy Kubert
  • Frank Miller

DC Comics have been putting out an awful lot of these big anniversary issues for a lot of their main characters. The Wonder Woman one was pretty solid, the Flash issue had that wonderful Geoff Johns story, the Detective Comics and Action Comics ones were not too great, but all of them pale in comparison to the Robin one. I honestly wasnt sure what to expect with these as most of tthe previous ones havent really gone out of their way to celebrate all the eras of DC Comics history & rather boost the new status quos. If you were hesitant about this one, definitely pick it up. It does an amazing job of highlighting so many important creators that have contributed to all the various Robins’ mythology through the years. This book truly was a Super Spectacular, a legitimate celebration of the character and DC Comics’ strong character legacy. I REALLY recommend this one. Lets go over some of the individual stories that really pushed this one for me to make it the Dish of the Week:

I was thrilled to see Devin Grayson write for this issue. I always loved anything she wrote for all the Batfam. The real treat was seeing her again briefly write the 1999 version of the Titans, a book I just absolutely love & had custom bound into some hardcovers. Her story blends that with the fun of Dick Grayson, another character she excelled at writing back when she had a run on Nightwing. All in all its just a fun revisit to a largely forgotten era of DC Comics which delights me as a fan.

This issue reunites the entire original Grayson creative team for a fun little story. Grayson remains one of the most creative shockingly great titles DC ever put out. I was sure the series would be terrible but it ended up being one of my favorite comics ever. Being able to see that fun confident spy Dick Grayson again during the current status quo of “Ric” Grayson really gave me some nostalgic comfort. It also was just a really funny extremely comic bookey story

Judd Winick and Dustin Nguyen team up for a Jason Todd story and this one absolutely DESTROYED me. This was a really emotional one that really punched me in the gut. I was surprised how many feels this one brought to the surface. I like Jason Todd but I have pretty much always disliked anything Winick writes, especially his Red Hood stuff. There are some obvious exceptions to the Winick rule, such as Alexander Nero and a few parts of his Kyle Rayner Green Lantern run, but for the most part I dont really care for the former Real World member’s writing. So for this story to just resonate so strongly for me and be the best story in here by a writer I largely dislike, you know its gotta be something special. I urge you all to get this issue solely for this story.

Similar to the Winick story, we have a nice little story that really explores Tim Drake as a character that I really dug. Again, I was shocked to discover this one was written by Adam Beechen, a writer that wrote some of my most reviled Batfamily stories of all time. This one however had a lot of fun charm and highlighted more of those fun past times for the character in a really smart guidance counselor story that really drove home how multifaceted Tim Drake is as a character. Two great stories in a row by two of my least favorite comic writers. This issue is really shockingly good.

Next up is a James Tynion written story that acts as a prologue for his recent run on Detective Comics. It features Tim Drake trying to find his place so he visits and chats with all of the other Robins in an attempt at finding his path. It ends up being an extremely well written story that really delves deep into each Robin perfectly in only a page or two. Its a wonderful achievement in the space given to write an alltimer about every single Robin, but Tynion pulls it off here.

After so many years of DC acting like Stephanie Brown as Robin never even happened, it was so affirming to see her be included in this anniversary issue. Damion Scott’s art here was really fun and very welcome to see as he did so much with the character in the past. All in all this story was extremely my jam as a huge Steph fan. And oh my God that Nicola Scott pinup!! That thing is GORGEOUS!

We also get a surprise Supersons team reunion in this book. The Supersons by Tomasi and Jimenez was some of my favorite comics content ever, full stop. I hate that we didnt get hundreds of issues of that status quo and that DC so quickly moved on from it but this was a bittersweet happy surprise to really sink into here.

The issue ends with a current status quo story of Damian and Batman with contrasting inner monologues about how they both love each other but cant seem to be able to open up to each other and work together. Its done in a very satisfying way that tugs at the heartstrings. Ramon Villalobos is a fave artists of mine and his work here is just a prize for the eyes.

This issue had to take home Dish of the Week because DC really succeeded in honoring a character’s legacy through so many different versions of the character and different eras and creators. It lives up to its promise and has some of the best Robin stories Ive ever read in small bite sized bits that dont overstay their welcome. Its a wonderful mix of creativity, nostalgia, legacy, inspiration and fun and isnt that what all comic books should be?

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