What They Say:
Robin starts looking for Tony Zucco despite Batman’s orders to stay out of the case. As Robin remembers the time when as a little kid he found Zucco and then Batman revealed his real identity to him, he decides to put an end to Zucco once and for all. Robin is able to find Zucco, but he ultimately proves his true character by choosing justice over revenge.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first half of this two-part storyline was one that worked well as we got to see some of the relationship between Batman and Robin in the present, which isn’t always dealt with that often. Especially with fritction being the name of the game. Bruce’s realization that the opponent at the heart of this criminal escapade was involved in the death of Dick’s parents has him being protective in not bad ways but it’s been nearly a decade and Dick isn’t the little kid that he brought home all those years ago. He really needed to work with him on it and to help him grow past it directly instead of trying to keep it from him. But at the same time, you understood why he did what he did, knowing his own trauma, and wanted to put things in a better place for one of the few people he truly cares about above most others.
With Batman off the grid, at least from Robin’s perspective, that has him trying to track down Zucco on his own – something he did in the past. Like the previous episode, a good chunk of this one takes place in the flashback sequences as we see young Dick looking for Zucco after hearing about him by listening in on Bruce and Gordon. That sends him out into Gotham to find him on his own and we get a decent feel for the young man as he stops some other criminal acts while out there. He’s got his focus on revenge to be sure but there’s that good side to him as well. The past plays well in seeing how close Dick got at the time and how things went bad because of his actions, which in turn helped to shape how he would handle things as time went on being Robin. Of course, here he is once again, making similar mistakes, but with a chance to grow from it.
What I do like is that when it focuses on the present for the back half of it we see how Zucco is definitely not handling this well. He knows Batman is after him and his time in the past and knowing Batman’s exploits means he’s got a slim chance of getting away. It eventually leads to a confrontation between the two with Batman close to handling him and Robin showing up and not dealing with it well. He gets ramped up in dealing with some of Zucco’s thugs first but he’s losing some of his cool when he gets his hands on Zucco proper, which is no surprise. But that’s part of the struggle as he wants to get revenge even after all he’s seen and done – and knowing what Bruce went through – and that conflict rages within him. It’s no surprise the position he takes when you get down to it, he’s a hero after all, but I like that he starts coming close to the line with what has to be dealt with in a tough situation like this.
The concluding half to this storyline works pretty much as expected and it’s a good one. Working through showing us who Dick was in the time after the death of his parents as well as years later with how it haunts him even as he buries it within delivers a strong performance overall. The echoes of the past to present are well-handled and the end result is something that lets him finally move on and deal with it all. Batman is used well throughout it where he plays a solid role in past and present but it’s kept more to focusing on Robin and what all of this means to him. It’s fun when it needs to be but is otherwise a solid and serious story that delivers exactly what it should.