Robin tracks Metallo, and finds he's been leaking radiation. This is one of those occasions where I think Robin's not quite using good reason. To quote Alfred: "You are entering a dangerously irradiated zone in pursuit of a miscreant who can transform into a tank," definitely a time where our boy probably _should_ try calling in for more help again. Robin, however, continues tracking, wisely knowing the trail is getting warmer as the rad levels increase. Metallo surprises Robin, captures him, and eventually uses him as ammunition for his cannon against the newly arriving Superboy while Metallo escapes. Robin and Superboy then enter a contest over who's the better superhero, which is quickly interrupted by a return confrontation with Metallo. The boys actually give Metallo a thumping, destroy a lot of property, and believe they've destroyed him (they haven't). After disposing of the nuclear reactor, Superboy is whisked away by Poison Ivy. Recognizing the need to save Supes from Ivy, Robin heads back to the cave and picks up the Kryptonite ring!
Hours pass and Robin arrives, accompanied by Alfred, in Hawaii, hot on Superboy and Ivy's trail. Metallo has come to "visit" as well. It isn't long before they see news footage of a "super weed" and head to Kauai to rescue the dazed and controlled kid of steel. While scoping out the weed, Robin is attacked by Metallo and deduces that metal-head's after the Kryptonite ring. Robin escapes only to be ambushed by Superboy -- whom he beats, with help from said ring, only to be blindsided by Poison Ivy. And then Metallo rears his ugly head again. This is definitely not our boy's best day.
Looks sure can deceive, though. While Superboy overcomes Ivy, Robin's overriding Metallo's controls and runs him off a 4000' cliff, taking himself along for the ride. Well, heroic sacrifices DO make the best deaths...but Superboy does try and save him -- until he gets dazed by a crack on the noggin from a falling rock. Robin, of course, recovers and saves them both. Robin even later pulls a fast one on Superboy to get the Kryptonite ring back before returning to Gotham.
(These events were catalogued in the "World's Finest 3" mini-series. Definitely worth the ducats if you haven't already gotten them.)
While the nasty villains are up to their foul deeds, Dick and Tim share a few moments strengthening their connection to each other over household chores before heading off together as Batman and Robin to bring in the Ventriloquist. The two are a tad too late to stop a gang hit caused by Ventriloquist's men. They do catch the Ventriloquist, but his dummy, Scarface, gets away and falls into one of Vent.'s goons' hands, along with an instruction manual on ventriloquism.
Open on Tim having a dream he's gone to school in uniform, and segue into Tim waking up and lamenting the weight of all his secrets before it's off for a day of fishing with dad. Meanwhile Two Face is busy planning both Robin's death and total anarchy for Gotham. Segue again into a scene between Tim and Ariana where she forgives Tim rather quickly for having fallen asleep during their last date. And then it's back to crime-fighting with Batman, and successfully tracking down Two Face.
Arrgh! I don't have part 5 to see what must be a great Two Face confrontation. I want to cry...
Well, looks like Two Face must've escaped because he's still on the loose. Meanwhile there's a riot at Blackgate and it's Batman and Robin off to save the day. But wait, Robin shows a lack of confidence in his hang gliding skills and a fear of heights (after scaling Wayne Tower in Annual 2? Guffah) and decides to sit this one out while Batman saves the day.
Enter Tim at home, rightly calling himself on chickening out on Batman earlier. He calls Oracle, and shares a moment when he's interrupted by his dad. He and Oracle drum up some leads and then Robin's off to investigate. Segue through a pointless Batman/Cluemaster fight scene into a scene that begins with Robin already caught by Two Face. (You know, many of the anti-Dixon folks out there criticize him for being too heavy on the action. If that's so, I just HAVE to ask -- where's my freaking Robin/Two Face fight scene?!? If he's going to get caught I want to see it happen! Too much action my foot...). At least Robin brags to Two Face that he was Robin's first slam dunk -- that whupping on him was part of the audition for the job. Of course, Batman shows up just in time to save Robin and bag Two Face.
The action starts with, well, some action. Specifically, an action movie that Tim and Ariana are watching. Or rather, trying to watch. They have a couple of yahoos sitting right behind them, commenting very loudly on how the movie sucks. Tim wants to say something to them, but Ariana doesn't want him to. Well, of course Tim does say something, and is rewarded with a coke dumped over his head. Tim just about loses it, but reigns himself in from kicking the guys' collective butts as Ariana begs him not to get into a fight, and Tim Drake can't suddenly make like he's Bruce Lee. So of course, the two yahoos are waiting for Tim and Ariana when they leave the theatre, and proceed to lay a beating on Timmy as Ariana watches. Eventually a cop breaks it up. Tim's not too hurt, obviously his pride has been shredded though, and they head back to Ariana's house, where his pride takes another beating from her uncle, who pretty much calls Tim a wuss for not being able to protect Ari.
Back at the cave, Dick (who's been filling in for Batman, remember, this is part of the Prodigal story), examines Tim's bruises and asks if he still wants to go out. Tim does, and Dick understands that he's looking for a little payback. So out they go to bust some badguys, and Tim feels slightly better, but he still hates the fact that as Tim Drake, he has to look like a weenie in front of his girlfriend, when he knows darn well that he could've taken down those two bozos.
Next morning, Tim's dad wakes him up bright and early and gets him to help move some gym equipment into the house. Jack is determined to get out of the wheelchair, and so has bought the equipment and hired a personal fitness trainer, Dana Winters. Fortunately, Jack didn't notice Tim's bruises.
Meanwhile, down at Ariana's, a new mob is now putting the moves on her uncle. Ari, seeing the entire scene play out before her again where her father was killed, runs off. Fortunately, her uncle Vari was not killed by the gangsters.
While Ari is being traumatized again, Tim's finally getting the payback he wanted, as he comes across the two yahoos from the movie theatre. He lays a very satisfying beating on them, and then heads off to Ariana's. He finds the shop's window all shot out, and then Ari comes running towards him and starts sobbing in his arms. He comforts her best he can.
The scene switches to a meeting between three top Russian mobsters, who have vowed to throw in together and reap the benefits of American capitalism. And of course, a meeting between Russian mobsters just wouldn't be complete without an appearance by the KGBeast, who merely wants the deaths of Batman and Robin. Get in line pal.
This whole issue is devoted to a fight between Batman and the Tally Man. If not for a few flashback scenes of Dick reminiscing his early days I'd barely recognize this as even being part of the Prodigal crossover. It's still a good issue, but NO Robin or Tim, and I don't see how it ties in in any important way. Que sera sera.
Ooh, now for some fun. Batman and Robin get a lead that makes them believe they need to take down Azrael. Tim, however, does voice the opinion that maybe it isn't Azrael, but someone else altogether, regardless they take the subway rocket to investigate their strongest lead. This too only results in Robin and Bat-Dick separating to investigate different hunches, as Robin refuses to believe it's Azrael assassinating mobsters anf Dick refuses to believe it isn't.
Robin, following his own hunches, falls into the hands of Handy Andy, a protection goon, beats his men. While Dick's off proving himself wrong, Robin gets ambushed by the real villain, Steeljacket and aside from a minor scene with Bruce's return, the issue ends on that note.
I'd like to start by saying that I thought the art in this issue seriously wanked. Other than that, this issue ended off the Prodigal storyline well.
We see our intrepid hero deftly avoiding being sliced by a nut calling himself Steeljacket. Robin wasn't even looking for a fight, he was investigating some mob murders, but the fight found him as it inevitably does. Turns out Dick was wrong about these mob murders. He thought it was Jean Paul Valley up to his old tricks again. So its Robin, partnered with Gotham's finest in the forms of Rene Montoya and Harvey Bullock, trying to capture this armour plated, winged nutjob and not having much luck doing so. Steeljacket is leveling cops left right and centre as Robin tries to come up with a plan.
Meanwhile, guess who's returned home finally? Bruce of course, and he and Dick are having a discussion in the Batcave. Bruce has returned to take up the mantle of the Bat again, and Dick seems a little resentful about the whole thing and tells Bruce they're gonna have it out NOW.
We switch scenes back to the fight, and Robin's getting himself into quite the predicament. He's thrown a line around Steeljacket in an effort to trap him, but Steeljacket takes to the air before Robin can secure the other end of the line around something stationary, and drags Robin with him.
Back to the Batcave where Dick begins telling Bruce much of what has been on his mind for years now. About how the partnership was dissolved but they never discussed it. Bruce didn't think there was anything to discuss, Dick had outgrown being Robin and that was that. Dick doesn't understand that Bruce never needs words or anything like that.
Robin is being treated to a spectacular, up-close and personal view, of Gotham's tallest buildings. This whole thing is not working out how Robin planned it. He's not even slowing Steeljacket down, and his arms are going numb from his death-grip on the jumpline. The cops, who are still back at the place where they originally found Steeljacket, spring into action to try to follow Steeljacket and Robin. As they follow, Robin and his new found friend crash a rooftop fundraiser for Mayor Krol and keep on going.
Dick thinks he's finally figured Bruce out. Bruce began to question himself, and everything began to fall apart. Bruce tells him that he's wrong, that he questions himself all the time.
Steeljacket's gaining altitude and Robin can't think of how to get out of this mess. Then he says the magic words… what would Batman do?
Right now, Bruce is being told he made a very large, very bad mistake in choosing Jean Paul Valley to become Batman while Bruce was away. Bruce just says there wasn't time to find a more suitable replacement, and Dick angrily wonders why Bruce didn't ask him to do the job when it first came up.
Robin's going to be street pizza very soon if he doesn't get out of this. Steeljacket dives downwards, straight at the street, and Robin desperately tries to get some slack on the line and loosen his grip. Bullock and Montoya are following in their car, trying to figure out how to save the crazy kid. Robin has managed to entangle the jumpline around a statue, but this slows Steeljacket down for all of two seconds, as he slices the statue with his razor-sharp wings and is off again.
Bruce tells Dick that he didn't know that Dick wanted to follow him as Batman. Dick tells him he had thought about it. Bruce says he just assumed that Dick wanted to make a name for himself and that he didn't feel he had the right to call him back. Dick then says that he'd die for Bruce, and Bruce replies that he couldn't ask him to, he didn't know how to.
Steeljacket is now dragging Robin and the statue with minimal effort. Robin decides if he should bail now, it's only a 10-floor fall. Robin and Steeljacket smack into a building. Bullock and Montoya arrive at where they saw Robin go down and eventually find him inside a building.
Meanwhile, Bruce and Dick have come to some sort of agreement now, and Bruce admits he's handled their relationship badly. But, he says, isn't that always the way it is between fathers and sons?
The cops open fire on Steeljacket and blow him out the hole he made in the wall. He falls 10 floors to the ground and does not move again. The ordeal is over and Robin returns to the Batcave…
To find Dick back in his Nightwing costume. Robin tells him he caught Steeljacket and then asks him why he's dressed as Nightwing again. Dick replies he's leaving, and then Bruce shows up, in a new, blacker, scarier looking costume.
(Some issues of "Prodigal" did NOT appear in the Robin series itself, but were still included for as much consistency as possible)
Next up, open on Robin facing off against the KGBeast, who this time has an atomic weapon he plans to detonate in Gotham. With Detective Bock's help, Robin slows down the beast enough to get an unconscious Harvey Bullock out of harm's way (lost? Though not necessary to enjoy the issue, check out the "Troika" issues of Batman's comics for the lead-up) Unfortunately, Bullock's heart stops -- good thing for him, Robin knows CPR because otherwise he'd have been feeding the trees. This save is immediately followed by another match between Robin and the KGBeast. The two of them accidentally blow up a gas tanker during the fight, which only seems to make KGBeast angrier. Robin has a short moment where he almost takes up Bullock's gun, but proves himself the better man by holding to his convictions and returning to fight KGBeast with good old knuckles. Robin rips the beast's eyepiece off, sending the man excruciating pain, and causing him to toss his nuclear bomb. Oops. Though he tries to catch it, he doesn't -- thankfully Batman FINALLY shows up and snags the bomb so that it doesn't blow. At least Robin got the honor of saving Bullock's life AND taking down KGBeast all by himself. We end on a foreshadowing of Cluemaster attempting revenge on our boy wonder.
Finally, a bit of a respite. Next on Robin's docket is a light work-out against some cash machine bandits. No sweat broken there. Robberies are becoming epidemic, and clues are popping up in the mail. Hmm... given the lasy scene in the previous issue we shouldn't need to be as good a detective as Robin to figure out who's behind this one. Anyway, since Robin doesn't read his own comic he heads home for some sleep while Batman does the sleuthing. Batman wakes him a couple hours later, having come to the Cluemaster conclusion and enlists Robin's aid since Robin has more of a connection to the man than Batman does (because of Spoiler, natch). Now here, we have Robin do the exact same thing he chickened out on with Dick -- hang-gliding in to Blackgate. His reasoning for newfound confidence is so lame that I'm not printing it -- this is one of a very small selection of disappointments I've ever received in this series, so let's just happily ignore it for the story's sake, ok? Cool.
At Blackgate Cluemaster reveals that he's being blackmailed into planning robberies for someone, but that he's leaving clues hoping they'll be stopped. He hands Robin plans on the next four heists, and reveals that Spoiler is the person being held to blackmail Cluemaster. Batman and Robin then depart, Bats taking the info to look into, leaving Robin to go home.
The next day at school, Tim can't get his mind off of Stephanie and he's worried sick. Tim is pulled from his reverie by Hudson and Ives, who are then chased off by Glenn Doppler who needs to talk to Tim alone. It's now that Glenn reveals to Tim that he and Ariana went out on a date that time Tim stood her up. Tim next is shown arriving home to find his dad almost walking again AND heading off for a romantic weekend with physical therapist Dana. At least Batman has work for Robin to help Tim blow some steam.
Batman knows Robin's taking this case personally though, and sticks him with watching the courier and tracks him to an abandoned factory -- where he finds Steph as well. A quick easy rescue is ruled out though, as the whole gang shows, royally peeved at being thwarted by Batman, deduce Cluemaster's role in their thwarting and put a gun to Steph's head. Nice place to stop and leave us readers with a cliffhanger.
Robin does a quick recap of his history with Steph as he leaps in to save her, and then the two of them find some uses for a bed that I'd never thought of before: they carry it around (because she's cuffed to it) and use it to beat up the goons. Once there's time to pause for breath, Robin frees her from the cuffs and is rewarded with a big fat kiss. A little romance is ALWAYS nice during a rescue. Steph at this time, is still shown to be relatively immature, reckless and foolhardy in her attitudes towards crimefighting. As always, Robin tries to set her straight, and the two of them make their escape.
While stopping off at Steph's place to pick up her hero duds Robin learns that the gang leader has escaped as well. While Batman definitely does NOT approve of Spoiler, she forces her way into a team-up, revealing that her dad had set them up from the start. Batman does go to cover a different "angle" to the case, however, leaving Robin and Spoiler alone to discuss, among other things, Robin's romance problems with Ariana. Herein we also get a glimpse of what's to come with Spoiler developing into a more mature character in the future: "I wish you'd let me get closer Robin, but I understand why you can't."
Following another of Cluemaster's clues, Robin tracks the crooks, gets shot because of Spoiler's recklessness. Thanks to his costume's bulletproofing he's ok though and Spoiler nabs the badguy. Close on Steph "visiting" daddy at Blackgate and the cops letting her beat on him for a few minutes of her "visit."
(Aack! I don't have 17-20 either, sorry dear readers. I'll get synopses of them asap)
Issues 1-10, 0;Issues 11-20; Issues 21-30; Issues 31-40; Issues 41-50; Issues 51-60; Issues 61-70; Issues 71-80
Issues 1-10; Issues 11-20