Robin Ramifications

Grant Morrison was having a pretty epic run on Batman when the “new 52” showed its ugly head (more two-faced then anything, since there is good and bad). It involved Batman getting his whole life ripped apart in front of his eyes by the Black Glove and then travelling through time after getting hit with Darkseid’s omega beams. Once back, he had a much different way of going after crime. He created Batman, Incorporated, funded by Wayne Corp, which brought together a global team of heroes that were either long time allies or an international hero influenced by Batman. I wasn’t really sure if this was going to continue after the new 52. Fortunately, they found a place for it.

SPOILERS for the newest run of Batman, Inc

This last leg of Morrison’s epic involves Batman, Inc going up against “Leviathon.” Leviathon is a shadowy terrorist group made up of brainwashed and genetically altered super humans led by Talia Al Ghul. Under Talia’s leadership, they have declared war on Batman. She seems to be lashing out on her son with Batman, Damian Wayne. Damian was being raised by her to be the next Ra’s Al Ghul, but he chose to be by his father’s side instead as the newest Robin. Talia already did a number on him so his emotional and psychological development as a do-gooder under Batman’s code has has heavy focus in Morrison’s plans. Talia got so angry should put out a hit on Damian. In issue #8, that hit is successful. Hopefully, you read the issue, but it is possible that it was spoiled for you


Doesn’t help that this is the cover

The series only has 4 more issues before it is all over, and I can only imagine what kind of gauntlet Batman is going to have to run through. For one, the loss of Jason Todd hit him hard, what is going to happen when he loses his own flesh and blood? Will it be worse because of that? Or will the loss of Jason numb him somehow? The Bat-family is still reeling from the return of the Joker. The allies have been scattered to the winds now that they don’t think they can trust Bruce, and based on the solicits, the death of Damian is going to bleed out into the Bat-family books. I can’t possibly guess how these characters are going to react, but I can try to guess what will happen to the role of Robin.

The Robin role has been put down and criticized over the years, either family groups claiming pedophile subtext or die hards claiming Robin was too goofy and made Batman weak. He was created in the first place because it was mostly young boys buying the comics, and the creators wanted to give them someone to associate with. A lot of people thought, “Well, that’s stupid. We don’t want to be Robin, we want to be Batman!” But it worked for me. I was born almost 50 years after his debut, but I never thought “When I grow up I could be Batman.” I used to think, “If I was Robin, I could kick it with Batman right now!” Plus, I always liked the comic relief characters more. Iceman is my favorite X-Man. Michelangelo is my favorite Ninja Turtle. I liked that Robin was kind of sarcastic and funny next to Batman’s emo-growls. The tasteful thing would be to let the Robin costume cool down, but the way the comic industry has treated every other issue like sweeps week, I’m guessing it won’t be too long before we see a new Robin. Not to mention, Peter Tomasi is currently writing a book called Batman and Robin that I don’t think has shown any signs of stopping (except for the death of Damian, of course).

Robin Batman

Stephanie as Robin

Comic Vine recently took a poll on who the next Robin should be. Stephanie Brown won with 19.6% of the votes. I don’t know if she was necessarily a good Robin, but she certainly got the short end of the stick. Stephanie Brown ended up as Robin after Tim Drake quit, and I am pretty sure she was a ploy to get Tim jealous so he’d return. Than she was tortured and killed by Black Mask but never honored in the Batcave. Instead of just saying Batman was a jerk for not doing so, they brought back Stephanie claiming her death was faked and Batman secretly knew it (Total BS!). She had a pretty good run as Batgirl, but “new 52” took care of that though. Now, she has gone the way of Wally West. I would love to see her come back in any way.

I think if anyone is going to end up being Robin though it is probably going to be Harper Row, the newest addition to the numerous Bat-allies. I featured her on my Best NEW Characters of the New 52 list, and on the Comic Vine poll, Stephanie just skirted by her by .2% of the votes. Last August, Bat-writer, Scott Snyder, set aside an entire issue to explore Harper Row’s origin and insinuated that we were going to be seeing a whole lot more of her. In fact, she is showing up again in Batman #18 . She became obsessed with Batman and started using her computer whiz know-how to figure out where Batman was going to be and how he got around town so fast. In a way, she reminds me of a female Tim Drake with a little Carrie Kelly thrown in.


Harper Row

UPDATE:  I couldn’t write this article fast enough. Peter Tomasi is setting aside 5 issues of Batman and Robin to deal with the 5 stages of grief where Batman teams up with a different Bat-family member.

With the death of Jason Todd, the fact that Batman should just kill the Joker became more hotly debated than it ever has before (and rightfully so!).  Now, I wonder could Batman kill Talia? Should he?