Shonen Manga’s Greatest Arc Inspired Robin: Lazarus Tournament

by Marsha Reilly
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Shonen manga is known for one of the greatest arcs which inspired the Robin: Lazarus Tournament. As simple as it sounds, the Tournament Arc is filled with twists and excitement from the incredible action-packed fights, to the planning and plotting going on behind the scenes.

We see so much character development in the arc from the main characters and the side characters, some for good, some for bad. No one comes out of the Tournament Arc the same, or even alive in a lot of cases. It’s a great way to force characters to get stronger, work on their weaknesses, and challenge them in ways nothing else will. 

Shonen is a genre of manga translated as “boys’ comic”, and houses some of the world’s greatest titles, like One Piece, Attack on Titan, Full Metal Alchemist, Death Note, and Dragon Ball, to name a few. Just like how a huge amount of anime have a one Beach Episode, a good amount of Shonen have made their characters suffer through a life-changing Tournament Arc.

Naruto barely survived the Chunin Exams, Jujutsu Kaisen fought through the Kyoto Goodwill Event, Fairy Tail regained honor in the Grand Magic Games, and My Hero Academia broke almost every bone in the U.A. Sports Festival. The one thing all of these arcs have in common: lots of pain, blood, and things not going as simply as they should have. This makes it very fitting for Damian Wayne to enter into something as brutal and complex as one of these tournaments.

When primary architect Joshua Williamson and artist Gleb Melnikov teamed up to give the chaotic Wayne a solo Robin series, they looked to Japan’s comics, Manga, for inspiration. Deciding not to waste time and get straight to the good part, Robin: The Lazarus Tournament was created. You’ll get no complaints from me.

Heir to both Ra’s al Ghul and Batman, Damian Wayne vanished from Gotham City after the tragic murder of beloved Alfred Pennyworth. Arriving at Lazarus Island, Mother Soul offered guests the chance to compete for an astonishing prize: the gift of life everlasting. The catch was, those fighting in the tournament for the chance to live forever, had to battle to the death. However, everyone killed on Lazarus Island was immediately resurrected, meaning that there was no reason to hold back.

Taking his grief and anger out on everyone he fought, Damian learned the hard way that the only way to move forward was to stop closing himself off.

Williamson, who has worked on some major events, like Infinite Frontier, Shadow War, Dark Crisis, and the newest series, Knight Terrors, pulled most of DC’s greatest martial arts characters into one small place. He was determined to give Damian the greatest challenge of his life. Melnikov’s stunning artwork really worked with all of the fights that were packed into the series, really giving each character life and action with his art style.

Robin: Lazarus Tournament is packed with action, character growth, revelations, and emotion. It all came to a head in the final fight, and paid a big part in the “Shadow War” and “Batman vs. Robin” events. As well as setting up stories that will continue over in Batman and Robin, and Green Arrow.

Source: DC Comics

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