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Red Robin and Booster Gold: A Tale of Two Books

Red Robin

I’ve long followed Tim Drake’s adventures. His first appearance was in the Batman: Year Three arc, the final issue of which was my very first-ever Batman comic to own. The very next Batman arc was the Lonely Place of Dying 5-parter crossing over with New Titans, that officially introduced Tim Drake to the Robin role. I had initially missed–but quickly caught up on–the original two mini-series the character had, bought the Eclipso: The Darkness Within annual that summer, and the first year or so of the ongoing series following Knightfall.

While I’ve not been a completist regarding Tim Drake’s series (I have the 3 minis and the ongoing up to One Year Later as well as a couple of the Batman: RIP tie-ins and the series finale), I’ve generally enjoyed keeping up with the character. His changeover to the Red Robin identity brought me back, and while I was somewhat interested in where the character’s headed, told myself that I’d stop at Yost‘s final issue (Red Robin #12), as the end of that story seemed as good a jumping-off point as any.

However, I couldn’t resist checking out what Nicieza‘s going to do with the character, and bought the first issue of his run–Red Robin #13–and quite enjoyed it. I’m fairly torn on sticking with the single issues, though and lean toward simply waiting for collected volumes. At the least, I’m confident that Nicieza‘s got a good grasp of what Tim Drake’s all about, and the character is in good hands moving forward.

Booster Gold

Along similar lines, Booster Gold is a character I’m familiar with going back to 1992’s Doomsday / The Death of Superman arc. The character has matured quite a bit since then, particularly throughout 52 and the current ongoing series. Aside from guest appearances, the character was largely off my radar, though, from the late 1990s until 52.

I initially picked up the ongoing because of Geoff Johns‘ writing, and having been hooked back into the character during 52. I considered leaving when Johns left, but the announcement that Booster Gold’s creator, Dan Jurgens, would be taking over after a short interim team kept me onboard. With Jurgens‘ departure, I decided that I would probably step away as well.

Still, like with Red Robin, I couldn’t resist picking up the first issue with the new creative team (despite an ugly cover) to check ’em out, see what they seemed likely to be doing with the character. And again, I have to admit that I’m intrigued. Though this is the “Bwa-Ha-Ha” creative team, they keep a decidedly serious angle on the character (just with that humor thrown in), which is a welcome element: both in having the humor as well as them not in their very first issue discarding everything that’s come before. Instead, they seem to be leaving in place what’s already come, and are simply building from it…moving forward with a look back in the rear-view instead of turning the whole car around to GO back.

Also as with Red Robin, I’m not sure I want to stick to the single issues…but I’m definitely likely to be interested in the collected volumes. Lack of interest in the single issues is a comics-in-general thing for me, and not indicative of the creative teams’ quality.

Other thoughts

In the wake of the huge Blackest Night event across 9 months or so, and the majority of comics seeming to be hitting the $3.99 price point with virtually no stop in the $3.25 or $3.50 range, I’m burning out. I’ve also been increasingly frustrated at collected volumes either being over-priced for what they contain, or being a superior “package” to the single issues, as they often make me feel like I’m almost being “punished” for buying single issues.

Rather than burn myself out entirely and buying strictly out of habit and such, I’m looking at starting from scratch as to what titles I’m going to buy and keep up with, and probably cut loose a bunch of others for a time, as I can play catchup later if needbe–whether single issues at a convention or collected volumes from the comic shop or Amazon.

Red Robin‘s the only Bat-book I’ve been getting after deciding to bail on the Batman Reborn stuff last summer, and Booster Gold‘s been the only “general-DC” book I’ve been getting after opting to stop buying JSA when Johns left (I tried the first issue after and wasn’t sold on the new team).

And now as I look to pare down my buying even further…I’m likely to let these two titles go primarily for budgetary reasons. Red Robin will likely tie in to the Return of Bruce Wayne and/or whatever follows that, and Booster Gold‘s likely the same, as well as having ties to Brightest Day and Generation Lost.

If you’re interested in either character, where they’re going, or the creative teams…I still very much recommend them, and my choosing to let ’em go does not feel like a statement of quality as much as sacrificing books that seem likely to play into larger stories I’m not willing to risk getting pulled into on top of these books.

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