Comic Corner: Remember when…

Illustration by Antone W Pires, Juan Velasco Hernandez, and Carlo Barberi
Illustration by Antone W Pires, Juan Velasco Hernandez, and Carlo Barberi

By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor


It’s September, and for many of us that means it’s back to the daily grind of school, homework, part-time jobs—basically all those not fun things. So what better way to celebrate than with a little classic Batman? Well, not so much a classic, as classically inspired.

In Batman: Orphans, writer Eddie Berganza takes us back to the good old days of Bruce Wayne (Batman) and his third protégé, Tim Drake (Robin). The pair is investigating a strange murder involving a dead Robin look-a-like, only to find themselves caught up in a Hunger Games-style competition involving a lot of angsty, highly-acrobatic teenagers. The catch is that they all seem to think that they’re competing to BE the next Robin.

The reason I use the term “classically inspired” is because it draws on a lot of emotional triggers from comic story arcs of the past. Drake’s emotional confrontation with seeing a corpse that resembles him is very reminiscent of Jason Todd, Wayne’s second protégé, in Batman: Under the Red Hood. And the other teens’ stylization in both appearance and personality almost sets them up to become the DC version of The Runaways—a Marvel superhero team made up of teenagers. The problem is that the plot alludes to these references in a very obvious way, leaving it incapable of standing on its own, and instead becoming an homage.

Art-wise, I find myself conflicted. I like the Eastern-manga influence that Carlo Barberi and Juan Vlasco present, but I’m not sure if it fits completely with this very dark storyline. The awkward teenage appearance of a lot of the characters is exaggerated to the point of being cartoony. This appears out of place next to all the blood and violence.

Overall, I found Orphans lacking. I wanted so much more out of this title, but instead got an oddly pasted scrap-book of “remember when…”