Review by Frank Plowright
Partly to make a clean break from events in Blüdhaven, and partly for reasons not entirely revealed, Dick Grayson was seen in Mobbed Up recovering from injuries while assisting some old, small town gangsters. The consequences have left a young girl in an orphanage.
Devin Grayson moves things forward quickly over an opening chapter featuring a skirmish with Deathstroke, a rescue attempt and an agreement that Dick will train Deathstroke’s daughter Rose, once Ravager. Grayson’s captions both here and before concentrate on Dick wanting to distance himself from Batman and his previous life, but Deathstroke’s a threat even beyond his capabilities.
Mobbed Up had a nice mood of uncertainty about sympathetic characters, and that mood’s not maintained here because the one remaining sympathetic character is more of a ploy than a personality, and an unconvincing one at that. Furthermore, Dick’s saddled with Ravager for much of the book, and his having to rein in her violent tendencies is repeated too often. Even guest appearances don’t freshen up that scenario, and Dick as a real gangster is unconvincing.
More artists working on the single story don’t help matters either. Phil Hester’s chapters are nice, but he only draws half the book. Cliff Chiang’s single chapter slots in nicely, but Wellinton Alves, Marcos Marz and Brad Walker make no attempt to fit in with the established style. At least Walker’s background art is decorative, but some pages by Alves and Marz are plain ugly.
Dick’s plan is, naturally enough, a ploy to ensure no-one steps up to take Blockbuster’s place atop Blüdhaven’s criminal pyramid, and Grayson surprises by rapidly pulling the rug out from under the supposed solution. Her finale has Dick sorting things out and coming to terms with a few matters, which is actually sweet, but it’s just before a great DC continuity leap, and Brothers in Blood picks up a year later, by which time Grayson is no longer writer.
Her run is controversial, but the two graphic novels collecting her work are the aftermath to her major plots causing that controversy, which haven’t been issued as graphic novels. This is a far weaker outing than before.