By Pat Shand
With the highly anticipated continuation entitled ‘Wanted’ set to hit shelves on Wednesday May 7th, I figured this would be the appropriate time to introduce you to, recommend and review Zenescope’s Robyn Hood trade paperback which features the first run of the 5 issue mini-series, as well as a cover gallery featuring all covers from the single issues including variants and con exclusives.
In the realm land of Myst, a tyrant rules the city of Bree with an iron fist, leaving its citizens living in fear and terror. Robyn, was secretly placed in our world after being saved from a sacrifice as a baby by a Keepers of the all realms, meanwhile the other Keepers felt she held great power and should have been destroyed (they don‘t SAY that but it is most definitely implied). While on Earth, her upbringing shows the type of woman she will become. She lies, cheats and steals from the bad guys of the world to get money for her adoptive mothers medication, until the father kicks them out of the house, eventually leaving the mother to die and Robyn to be an orphan. Her harsh upbringing and selflessness for others aids in her growth (as both a person and the lead character of the story) and though she has a beautiful exterior she is tough to the core. Enter the stereotypical rich boy undeserving of the life he leads & his wealth, who gets and does anything he wants (to the utmost extreme in this tale). Robyn attempts to teach the boy a lesson by stealing his car, which goes horribly awry as he and his friends catch her and do horrible things to her (that are implied but not shown). When the police arrive, they cover it up because they know WHO did this to Robyn and they know who his father is.
With vengeance and personal justice consuming her while she literally gets pulled into Myst, Robyn uses it to help the townspeople of Bree, she sees herself in all of them and sees her enemies in the King. If she cannot make it back to her dimension of Earth to exact that revenge at the moment, then she will help those in need and dethrone the king so undeserving of his crown.
First and foremost, do not let the title of the character and cover art fool you. At first glance a majority of Zenescope titles get dismissed because of cheesecake covers of beautiful women in scantily clad outfits, and often more dismissed because others simply believe that it’s the same story we all grew up on but with a female lead. When in fact this story, and many others by Zenescope, is not just the story of Robin Hood as a female. Robyn has a purpose, and while it does feature elements of the original story, as it should, there are differences, plenty of differences. Robin Hood is the basic outline, but the plots and twists of this tale are very different from the original tale, and the transitions between the dimensions of Earth and Myst to further the story gives this modern re-telling a new life.
Secondly, while a majority of the Zenescope titles deal with the metaphysical and could very well fall into the category of horror comics since they all have a Lovecraftian tone, this book does not. There are no elements of horror, but there is a lot of violence and rightfully so. While other reviewers stated that the violence in this book is gratuitous, the violence in this book is justified. It is a violent world we live in, and while it isn’t right to take matters into our own hands when it comes to justice, it is rewarding to read a comic where the protagonist gets their revenge and you as the reader can even justify it. The wrongs get righted, whether it was in the “right” way is questionable, but it was righted nonetheless. I would consider her more of a grey character, doing wrong for right, her character is that fine line that everyone walks upon in which one ends up picking the side of right or wrong, good or bad. She is both, yet she is neither, she is simply Robyn.
As I mentioned before, this trade paperback collects Issue 1-5 and in those issues you get a fantastic origin from Robyn as a baby to the present, as well as fantastic character development. You get an Earth villain and Myst villain, that you as a reader will loath just as much as Robyn does. You as a reader get your heartstrings tugged at and you feel the need for vengeance just as much as this fictional character does. That empathy goes a long way, not saying that you can relate to her, but you feel for her.
In the fictional world of Zenescope, the character of Robyn has attained the notoriety of Calie from Wonderland, representing a beautiful, strong yet fragile female lead character that finds who she is, finds what she is meant to do while on a journey that she didn’t even know she would be on, let alone lead to self-discovery. That is what I always love and will continue to love about the Zenescope comics, the roads of self-discovery and the many forks in the road that the character can take which could easily make them differently, just like if the Joker and Batman took the opposite roads in life that they took, their places in the DC universe could very well be reversed.
Despite the comparison, I will go forth with saying that reading Robyn Hood made me feel like I was reading something else entirely considering the work that Zenescope has given to us prior to this. Instead of being up against creatures of other realms and of hell, Robyn was up against other mere mortals, and righting the wrongs whether they be hers or someone else’s, and regardless of her doing wrong by righting the wrongs, it gave her an air of heroism. Within that heroism though is humanity in that she questions herself and her acts, wondering why she lacks the remorse and guilt for the things she’s done. So dare I say, with this, I felt like I was reading what could possible be Zenescope first super-heroine. A dark yet beautiful tale of a troubled young orphan girl who comes to grips with her demons and uses them to help others…if that isn’t super-heroic than I don’t know what is.
4 out 5 nerds