Thanks to Zenescope’s massive Age of Darkness crossover event that has been running since late last year, I came to know about their Robyn Hood comics, which feature Robyn Locksley as the publisher’s take on the Robin Hood tales. All the Robyn Hood comics I’ve read to date have been quite fun to read and in the Age of Darkness event I think that she has really come into her own, especially in the current Realm War: Age of Darkness series which is positioning her as a major villain. In the wake of the landmark Grimm Fairy Tales #100 issue, one of the new series launched by Zenescope is a Robyn Hood ongoing, something I’ve been wanting to see for a while now.
Before the advent of the new Robyn Hood ongoing, the character featured only in three 5-issue mini-series and a small handful of one-shots or ensemble offerings here and there. But now she has her own title and it really couldn’t be coming at a better time for her. Pat Shand guides the character in a post-Age of Darkness world where Robyn has taken on a vigilante aspect along with her friend Marian, where they’ve started working out as private investigators specializing in the mystical. It is kind of like how Angel did things in Joss Whedon’s Angel. It is fun, it is quirky, and Robyn and Marian are both awesomely kickass.
Robyn Locksley for me has been a complex character from the get go. She turned a traumatic event in her life into a strength and then went on to topple corrupt rulers and even took down the powerful Sheriff of Nottingham back in the land of Myst. And she has a certain history with the Dark Horde that has only just started blooming over in Realm War: Age of Darkness. I’m always a sucker for archers and Robyn Locklsley, when she is being all badass in combat and snarking on her friends and enemies alike, proves to be as good as her.
In the first issue of the new series, we see Robyn take on a corrupt politician right from the start. It sets the tone for the kind of work that Robyn and Marian do now and it helps to give the series a direction as well, and show what kind of a woman Robyn is now. As the issue progresses we see how her relationship with Marian has transformed into a genuine friendship of equals, even though Marian is having trouble with the technology of Earth, for which Robyn is always there to guide her. As the duo take on a new case involving mystical drugs and pretend priests, things aren’t looking so good for them.
And in the second issue, we begin to get some revelations about what is happening and eve get an inkling of what really the pretend priest is up to. He is a fanatic, of that there’s no doubt, but he’s something much more and part of the fun figuring all that out is watching Robyn give him a beating of his life.
Pat Shand’s characterization of Robyn is as good as it has been in the other issues he’s written about her. He presents her as a person who is the same as she was in in her first mini-series, and also as someone who has grown since then into the person she is now, post-Age of Darkness. And with Marian working with her, we get to see their friendship bloom and solidify. The series is focused on Robyn yes, but that doesn’t mean that Pat ignores Marian either and in fact, I’m quite excited to see more of Marian in this series.
Larry Watts is the penciller in the first issue with Claudia Balboni coming in as his replacement in the second issue. The two have different art styles that hew close to the house style, but it is still fun to see the differences. There’s a certain simplicity to their panels that, while they are often detailed in the background, the characters themselves aren’t too detailed. It is an interesting balance to be sure. Slamet Mujiono is the colourist on both issues and he too delivers quite handsomely. The colours in both issues are excellent, with Robyn’s typical preferences of bold, bright colours everywhere.
And of course, Emilio Laiso/Mirka Andolfo’s cover for the first issue, and Sean Chen/Sean Ellery’s cover for the second issue are both kickass. They are variant covers yes, but I love them.
Good start for sure and I can’t wait to see more.