Written by Joshua Williamson
Drawn by Ale Garza
Inked by Oliver Nome
Published by DC Comics
Retro-review time! Superman/Batman was an ongoing series that DC Comics started publishing back in 2003, which teamed up Superman and Batman on various adventures. It lasted 87 issues until it was canceled in 2011 just before DC rebooted their entire comic-book line. This particular issue that I am reviewing today was a unique single-issue story which didn’t feature Superman or Batman but rather, as you can probably guess from the above cover, Supergirl and Robin.
At this point in comic-book continuity, this version of Supergirl is Kara Zor-El, Superman’s teenage cousin who had arrived on Earth a few years earlier (her parents sent her off in rocket when Krypton exploded, but she was in suspended animation the whole time because the rocket she was sent in was less-advanced than the rocket the Superman’s parents sent him in, and thus her journey to Earth took much longer than his). She has all of the same powers as Superman but is a little naive. And this version of Robin is 10 year old Damian Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s secret illegitimate son with Talia Al-Ghul, who had just recently come to live with Bruce. He’s been trained since birth to be a deadly martial artist, and he’s an arrogant little bastard.
And it should also be noted that during the time of this story Bruce Wayne was considered dead (although actually he was just stuck traveling through time, trying to find his way back to the present, because comic-books) and Dick Grayson, the original Robin, had taken over the role of Batman and was working with Damian, although Damian didn’t respect him much.
Originally released in October 2010 this was meant to be a Halloween-themed issue, with the story “FRIGHT NIGHT”. It begins during a rainy night in Metropolis, Superman is out of town so Supergirl is on patrol by herself when she happens across a grisly crime scene. Police have uncovered a mass grave of dead bodies. Supergirl is determined to help find the cause but realizes that even with her powers there are limits to what she can do, so she flies to Gotham City to ask for Batman’s help as a detective. But Batman is also out of town at the moment, and all she finds is Robin, who is working on his own. When he first appears in the story it doesn’t look like he’s doing so well…
But as I said, he’s been trained since birth as a deadly martial artist and soon shows his resourcefulness. Supergirl then arrives on the scene asking for Batman and prepares to leave when she finds out that he’s unavailable, but Robin offers his help. In fact, he pretty much insists on helping her, much to Supergirl’s chagrin. The two heroes reluctantly team up and follow a trail that leads to one of Superman’s villains and at one point requires them to go undercover at a college Halloween party.
The trail leads also potentially leads to one of Batman’s classic villains. But who is responsible? Well, that would be a big spoiler. I don’t want to ruin the whole story, which is pretty simple, but suffice to say that the mystery is resolved satisfactorily.
This is a fun story. Writer Joshua Williamson captures the personalities of Supergirl and Robin perfectly. Robin is a jerk, who constantly talks down to Supergirl throughout this issue, usually referring to her simply as “alien” rather than by her name, and Supergirl is clearly annoyed by him but never lets him bait her. She is just concerned with solving the crime and seeing justice done, and is willing to put up with Robin’s attitude as long as it’s necessary. And perhaps Robin does show her a modicum of respect in the end. This is something which Batman notices when he makes a brief appearance at the end, just in time to see Supergirl leaving the Batcave.
And Williamson’s story is beautifully illustrated by Ale Garza, whom I’d long been a fan of and he does some of his best work here. Supergirl is pretty, but not drawn like a sex kitten (she is just a teenager, after all), and his Robin looks like a tough little kid. Together this is an excellent done-in-one story, which I highly recommend.