Review: Robin Hood 2020: There Is No Conspiracy #1

The idea behind Robin Hood is one that is very appealing to our modern society. In our current economic climate the idea of someone fighting for the poor and taking down the bloated wallets of the rich is definitely an idea worth exploring, but that’s a surface level idea with not much surprise to it. Robin Hood 2020 takes the concept of Robin Hood and times it by ten adding a layer of political thriller along with social commentary. It’s an interesting concept and this first issue does a good job of setting the stage, but not much else. The first page is an unfortunate one; it gives the readers three panels of what to expect in the future of the very issue we’re reading. To be honest it confused me at first until I just moved on and got into the thick of things with the story, but I still felt as if I had missed something. After that we receive a run down on the school system in England and how it’s basically stacked against public schools, by the people in power that favor the school that they once attended. In another way it shows just how much the old money still controls the political system.

From there we cut to our modern/near future Robin Hood, dressed more in the vein of a covert ninja as he breaks into the Government Communications Headquarters. He checks in with Marion as he continues his search for the man he’s been sent to retrieve, but Marion informs him that their line has been tapped. They disengage with one another and Robin calls out for Jenkins. Jenkins has been shot and asks where Marion is since he was expecting her. Robin lets him know that she’s busy, but that he’ll be taking care of the extraction. They briefly discuss what it is that Jenkins’ has discovered and why someone is trying to kill him for it. Jenkins tells Robin that its information that will change everything and that it goes all the way to the top.

Robin Hood 2020 #1 CoverBack with Marion, she begins talking to her computer system to find out how much of their operation has been compromised. She begins protocols that will prevent her from being found and leaves the computer to do most of the tech work. After that we meet up with a woman in red as she sits down for dinner at London’s Lanesborough. She talks to herself while unwrapping a “present” that Marion arranged for her and it turns out to be a gun. She focuses in on Lord Peregrine Smythe who is there having dinner with a sixteen year old girl. We cut to their conversation and it becomes clear that Lord Smythe has agreed to pay off the girl’s family’s debt if she sleeps with him. It’s pretty fucked up, but we get the idea that our red-head went through a similar situation with Lord Smythe, when she was younger.

The issue is a full 32 pages if you don’t count the first page and so the story continues on from the point I’m leaving off at. We’re introduced to Little John and one of the Merry Men and they each have an extensive introduction within the story. We’re also introduced to several elements of the overall plot that include people who could end up being antagonists at some point.

I will say this about the writing; the villains of this story are detestable and there isn’t a single likable thing about them. They’re people that if you met them in real life you would possible spit in their face and walk away. Real dredges of society and so in that regard I loved them. If the villain doesn’t make you feel anything then they’re not a villain.

This issue is very plot driven and though it introduces us to our characters I don’t know anything about their personalities. You have to assume by their names and some of their actions that they’re the good guys and that’s about it. It’s not bad, but it really is just a standard set up issue. And that’s fine, not every first issue is going to be something spectacular and most of the first issues that are, fall on their face for the rest of the story run. The way this story is crafted has me very interested in the second issue and that’s the right choice in my opinion. I didn’t personally care for the different stories running parallel to one another since I didn’t know the characters yet; it works, but it didn’t give me any attachment to them.

If you read Meadow Hell, then you know what to expect with the art. Its photo referenced for sure giving it a very realistic look, but the coloring keeps it grounded in fantasy. It’s a strange mix, but it’s definitely creator Craig Daley’s trademark style. Daley fills the story with real settings giving this not-to-distant-future a feeling of being closer to reality than further. Most people are going to either love or hate the art, but I myself am down the middle. I just like it and think that it works very well with Daley’s storytelling as it gives it a layer of realism that another art style may not be able to bring to it.

I enjoyed this story and even though it was a pretty stock and standard set up issue, it still has my attention and that’s a good thing. Additionally, the parliament meeting was hilarious to me. Three people yelling, “Guffaw, guffaw, guffaw” is just ridiculously humorous to me, but that’s probably a cultural thing. Doesn’t make it any less funny to me and I wish more books would fit it in somewhere.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t your typical Robin Hood story as it deals with conspiracies and corruption more than it is about stealing bags of money and slipping it to poor people. It’s a high concept story that has a great and very realistic conspiracy about England’s current economy. It’s rich with social commentary and so if you’re interested then you should check it out. Also there’s no damn bows and arrows so be grateful for that because I for one am tired of that shit.

Score: 4/5

Writer/Artist/Creator: Craig Daley

Publisher: CD Comics

Price: $3.99 (Currently $1.99)

Release Date: January 2013

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