Batman RIP, the epic tale of deconstructing the Batman, is nearing a close, and as we’re getting closer to the final issue, we’re starting to see hints at what might be coming next for the Caped Crusader and the other members of his Gotham City posse. About a month ago, I predicted that Dick Grayson is the Black Glove, and I’m still fairly convinced that I’m correct.
Beyond that revelation, though, we’re left with trying to figure out where everybody fits in to the post-RIP era. The events of Final Crisis are taking place after Batman RIP, and, so far, we haven’t seen either Robin or Nightwing in that series other than in the one splash page where the heroes were all called together by Jay Garrick. Either that’s a mistake, or those aren’t Dick and Tim in their costumes, or the events I’m about to predict don’t take place until after Final Crisis. And, hey, there’s no rule that says anybody other than the readers know who the Black Glove actually is. The rest of the DCU could be left in the dark, no pun intended.
And, to just further solidify my argument for why I think Dick Grayson is the Black Glove, let’s take a look at the solicitation for the next issue of the series, Batman #681:
The final, heartrending confrontation between Bruce Wayne and Jezebel Jet. The final fate of The Dark Knight. And the horrifying and shocking truth behind the Black Glove. With The Joker, the Club of Villains, Robin, Damian, plus an ending you’ll never see coming!
Notice that Dick Grayson/Nightwing is absent from the list of players involved? Seems fishy to me. Oh, and just yesterday Tony Daniel revealed his variant cover to Detective Comics #851, the first post-RIP Detective. Nightwing is front-and-center, before the faces of all of Batman’s other Rogues. And, if you look at the cover to Batman #683, which I posted at the beginning here, Nightwing is depicted as literally turning his back on Batman.
I’m just saying. I am so right.
But that’s not all. Where do we go from there? Last week, we got another hint about the future direction of Batman and the rest of the gang, when DC announced that after Batman RIP, they’ll be cancelling the long-running series of Robin, Nightwing, and Birds of Prey.
Now, when a series is canceled, it’s usually due to one of only a handful of reasons. Either the sales on the titles are no longer up to snuff, so from a purely business stand-point it makes sense to give them the axe; or, on the other hand, teams splinter apart or characters switch identities or any number of other story-related explanations. In this case, I’m going to guess that there will no longer be a Nightwing, and Robin will be markedly different, so their stories will no longer need to be told. As for Birds of Prey, I really don’t care what the reason for cancellation is, and neither should you.
But what can we find out about the direction of these characters based on what DC’s already told us? Well, according to the solicitations for whatever month it’s supposed to come out, here’s what happens in Robin #182, the second-to-last issue of the series:
After “Batman R.I.P.,”Gotham City demands a better class of hero, and the new Robin is going to give them exactly what they deserve…
I’m responsible for the bold emphasis. So, okay, we can see that the character of Robin isn’t simply going to disappear. Why the need for the cancellation, then? Well, if you’ve been keeping up on Robin’s monthly, you’ll know that there’s a new mysterious guy lurking around Gotham that goes by the name of Red Robin, and we could definitely see some sort of development with that, whereby he becomes the new and only Robin.
But we all know that he won’t be the only Robin. After all, there’s that image that’s been floating around for months of the new Batman and Robin, with Robin looking like a little kid about the size of, oh, I don’t know, let’s say Damian.
Let’s wrap this thing up, with some big, grand, bold, sweeping predictions. Here’s what the landscape is going to look like after Batman R.I.P, in this guy’s opinion:
1. Detective Comics is going to be the only solo Batman book (in continuity). Under the mask, Batman will be somebody from the Club of Heroes. Or Jason Todd. Or Hush. Or Tim Drake.
2. The current Batman book will have its name changed to Batman and Robin. Robin will be played by Damian.
3. The current Robin book will no longer be published, but a new series titled Red Robin will start up, featuring a more badass version of Tim Drake or maybe just Jason Todd, unless they decide to leave him out of things for a few years while he gets the fetid stench of Countdown off his person.
4. Nightwing will be gone. Dick Grayson may be presumed dead for a few years.
5. Birds of Prey will continue to not matter in the least bit.
That’s my take. I guarantee that I’ll be wrong on a lot of these specifics, but, generally speaking, I think that’s how it’s all going to go down. As for Bruce Wayne, what future awaits him? Maybe a trip to Arkham or a few years as the Spirit of Vengeance.
Surely, you have some predictions, too. How do you think this thing is gonna shake out? Sound off like ya got a pair!