From his first appearance in Dark Nights: Death Metal #2 (opens in new tab), Robin King has become the event's breakout character - and lucky for fans his story continues this week in a one-shot, Dark Nights: Death Metal - Robin King #1 (opens in new tab), written by Peter J. Tomasi and illustrated by Riley Rossmo.(opens in new tab)
"It all started when Scott actually asked me to do the Robin King short for the Death Metal Legends issue and he really dug what Riley and I did," Tomasi tells Newsarama. "So, he mentioned when they got around to the Death Metal mini-series there'd be a Robin King one shot and if I'd have any interest in doing that, too. Of course, my answer was: 'Hell yeah,' especially since I had such a blast doing the eight-pager. For this issue, Scott threw me a few specific things he needed to see and just said cut loose and go crazy. So, I took his direction to heart and dove off the cliff with Riley."
Tomasi and Rossmo's first Robin King short in Dark Nights: Death Metal - Legends of the Dark Knights #1 (opens in new tab) "set the bar pretty high in terms of what I thought we could do in a comic" according to the artist, but he was up for the challenge of topping it with this one-shot.
"The one-shot goes further illustrating how ruthless Robin King is," Rossmo says. "The opening sequence is really wild and really harsh. The other thing I really enjoyed about the one-shot was the space to have a few cameos of characters I really love in the DCU."
This week's Robin King fleshes out this dark-Bruce-Wayne-turned-Robin that weaves into the "wonderfully insane tapestry" that Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are doing into the main Death Metal book.
"We dig really deep into his past to see what makes this kid tick," Tomasi says, "but also keep it centered on the present day and reveal how all his crazy moves reverberated and pay off."(opens in new tab)
Those "crazy moves" are something Rossmo paid special attention to in this standalone story.
"I love how far I can go when illustrating Robin King's body language and expressions," says Rossmo. "I think my favorite part about drawing him is even though his appearance is a little whimsical, he's one of the scariest expressions of Bruce Wayne possible. Robin King is totally calculating, creative, and dangerous which leads to me drawing some of the craziest action sequence story I've ever had to draw."
In addition to the full-length Robin King story, this one-shot also includes a back-up story introducing a new DC villain, Quietus.(opens in new tab)
In 'The Quiet Ones,' writer Tony Patrick and artist Daniel Sampere focus on Batman's sidekicks during the quagmire that is Death Metal. For Patrick, it's a chance to write more of the Signal, after co-writing the character's first limited series with Scott Snyder.
"Since Scott Snyder, Cully Hammer, and I came up with Duke's incarnation as the Signal, revisiting Duke Thomas post-Batman and the Outsiders is like reuniting with an old friend who has earned his stripes since our last encounter," Patrick says. "Trained by Batman and endorsed by DC's best and brightest heroes, the Signal is evolving into the hero we've been waiting for in the DC Universe and is the perfect representative for our 2020 zeitgeist."
This new villain Quietus is debuting to challenge Duke Thomas "on an emotional level.(opens in new tab)
"Daniel Sampere is a genius who brought this entity to life," Patrick says of the design. " I'm looking forward to working with him, the brilliant Adriano Lucas plus And World Design again!"
Sampere is known for his clean linework on books like Injustice: Gods Among Us and Suicide Squad, but calls this Dark Nights: Death Metal - Robin King #1 back-up an even darker storyline.
"I always try to adapt my style a little bit to each project, depending on the specific tone it has," Sampere says. "In this case, the story was dark in an environment of destruction so I used more dry brushes and textures than usual to help create this muddy and dark tone."
Bruce Wayne is but the latest name to take up the Robin moniker. Check out our list of the greatest Robins of all time.