So in the most recent issue of Batman Incoporated (issue 8) Robin (Damien Wayne) died. It was supposedly Grant Morrison’s plan all along. It didn’t feel big or important or necessary or anything to me. I like the Damien character enough. He was a very different kind of Robin and I like the dynamic he brought to the Dynamic Duo but I just couldn’t bring myself to care. This may end up being a little bit convuluted but so is the source material so here are my opinions on all this.
That Is A Lot of Robins
Before the New 52, there were 5 different Robins since 1940. They were Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown and Damien Wayne. Grayson quit being Robin to become Nightwing in the mid 80’s. Jason Todd would go on to become Robin for a short while before getting killed off by the Joker and the wishes of fans. Tim Drake would become Robin a few years later but would step away some time after. Stephanie Brown would take on the role of Robin without permission only to die within issues. She has since proved to still be alive. After her death Drake became Robin again and then Red Robin. This would lead to Batman’s son taking over the role of Robin. So that brings us to 2013. 73 years worth of Robin history.
With the New 52 they adjusted storylines and continuity to make a more cohesive universe. Some things that happened remained to have happened while other things did not. It is so cluttered that I am only vaguely sure as to what the definitives are and what got lost or thrown away in the revamp. Since 2011 when the New 52 began they have strayed from the more singular vision to bring back the multiverse and really just go back to the way things were, making any changes at all a moot point.
What is Old is New 52
What makes this more ridiculous for the Batman family is that in the new 52 Batman only really got going 5 years ago as shown in flashbacks in the Justice League comic. In the beginning issues of that team book they show how the team came to be at the beginning of Superman’s and Batman’s super hero careers. That book and the solo books now deal with the modern day tales of these characters but with that timeline we get a 5 year gap for many major things to have happened. This means that Batman has had 5 different Robin’s in 5 years. Jason Todd died but he is back as The Red Hood. Stephanie Brown died but apparently is still alive and now Damien Wayne has died. So…..yeah Batman sucks at having sidekicks. Those are the facts.
Every Little Thing Is Gonna Be Alright
There are a couple of other things that need to be said as well. DC recently had their Death of the Family story arc going across all of the Bat Family books. It was the big return of The Joker and that didn’t feel too big either but set things up for a change to the status quo. No real change came about. It just felt like another Joker story, albeit a more drawn out one. Also, nobody died. I’m not saying anyone had to it just seemed like with the build up there would have been something more important such as that happening in the story. Fast forward a couple of months and we get the Death of Robin in Batman Incorporated without much fanfare. Which is fine. I don’t like that big, bold, “neon sign” kind of marketing that has been more prominent in comics in dealing with such things as deaths or returns.
Death in comic books does not carry the weight it once did. Anyone can come back for any reason, however wild it is. Few characters remain dead, and those that do, have to in order to be the reason another really does what they do or for the simple reason that nobody really cared about them anyway. All of this is reason enough not to care so much about this Robin R.I.P. thing going on now.
But wait…..there’s more. Now I know death is a story device and now we will deal with month’s of grieving and revenge and the such but when it is so blatant that it ultimately doesn’t matter, I just can’t buy the further motivations of those dealing with said event. Especially since Damien Wayne is the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul…..Grand Son of Ra’s Al Ghul. A guy who has access to the Lazarus Pit, which has continued to bring him back from near death or in fact death a number of times over the years. So this dead boy has immediate access to Ressurection Soup. That will be how he is brought back. I guarantee it.
Maybe. Possibly. Perhaps.
Now maybe this is just a way of setting up future storylines with Damien as an antagonist when he returns. I’m fine with that. I would have given it a few more years of build up and the forging of relationships and all that before doing such a thing but I don’t work with DC creative. Maybe I will be surprised and some of the best stories and writing will come from this, but not one thing DC has done with the New 52 indicates that even a little bit to me.
I know it is hard to keep such long lasting characters interesting and new over the years. A lot of things get recycled. Some things get done that are out of character. Sometimes chances are taken and work and sometimes they don’t. I just think this was lackluster and unnecessary right now and directly reflects a general indifference and dispassionate approach to both Batman, and the rest of the DC universe. These are just my views on it all. Right now I don’t have a presentation for how I would personally change things. All I’m saying is that it feels like even a little more thought being put into the ideas and directions of these books would be infinitely better than what is going on right now.