SPOILER ALERT!!!!! This hasn’t happened in comics yet, but it’s all over newsarama.com: Damian Wayne is dead. Gotta say, I did NOT see that one coming.
This will probably come as happy news to some. At least a couple of my fellow bloggers were not fans of Damian Wayne as Robin. He never really bothered me, but I can see why he would. First, his conception doesn’t really make sense in the New 52 timeline. If Bruce Wayne has only been Batman for 5 years and Damian is 12, that means Ra’s al Ghul decided Bruce Wayne was worthy to mate with his daughter a good 8 years before he ever put on the cowl, when Bruce was barely into his 20s. Second, Damian’s a whiny little kid. Nobody likes a whiny kid.
But my immediate thought when I heard the news was “so who’s the new Robin?” There’s got to be a new Robin, doesn’t there? There’s always been a Robin, hasn’t there? Turns out, there has.
Jason Todd was actually introduced in the Batman comics while Dick Grayson was still wearing the green short shorts. As soon as Dick became Nightwing, Jason was there to step into his booties. Tim Drake debuted a year after comic readers voted to kill Jason Todd and became Robin after 5 months. Except for Stephanie Brown’s short stint (which may or may not have still happened), Tim was Robin until he became Red Robin, specifically so Damian could become the new Robin.
But in New 52, Tim Drake was never Robin. So Batman had Dick (who turned out all right), then Jason (who was beaten to death with a crowbar by popular vote), possibly Stephanie (who was tortured to death), and Damian (who is murdered by his clone…no, seriously). So maybe there won’t be a new Robin? That’s really not a very good track record. If I was Batman, I’d be having second (fourth?) thoughts about bringing another tweener into the game.
But get real, there’s got to be a new Robin. And it’s got to be someone the fans already know. So let’s speculate!
Why not just go back to what worked? I think most people of my generation and after consider Tim Drake to be THE Robin. Dick Grayson was the first Robin, but Dick is Nightwing and Tim is Robin. That’s how it’s been our whole lives. Tim was never Robin in New 52, but he is an experienced hero and Teen Titan as Red Robin, and he still has ties to Batman in his past. He’s never been Robin…yet?
DC has been all about diversity in the new 52…making Robin a girl would fit right into that. Remember how I said she may or may not have been Robin? That’s because it’s never been confirmed if Stephanie was Robin in the New 52 continuity or not, either in a story or by the editorial staff. And the internet tells me creators have been denied permission to use the character in the New 52 so far. Perhaps because editorial already has big plans for her? I’d imagine she’d be taking the mantle for the first time if she took it over, because her previous stint is pretty firmly rooted in Tim having been Robin previously. But a girl Robin…
In the New 52, Huntress is actually Helena Wayne, the Robin of Earth-2 and daughter of Batman and Catwoman. This is the same Huntress from the pre-New 52 universe with an updated origin, former member of Birds of Prey and the Justice League. Batman knows her and trusts her, but she’s been hiding her true identity for years. Maybe she’d adopt her old namesake to get closer to her “father,” or maybe he’d discover her secret (which is more likely, since he’s Batman). Regardless, a scantily clad sexy adult lady would probably make as good of a distraction as a scantily clad little boy, and if she’s one of the most skilled fighters in the world it’s all the better!
Come on, this is Grant Morrison. He “killed” Batman too. Plus there are clones involved. This stinks of a Dusty Finish.
A minority to be named later
I don’t see DC making any white male Robin unless it’s Tim or Damian. It’s too easy to make him a minority (unless they make him a her, and face it, they wouldn’t do both). They made Green Lantern Middle Eastern. They made the other Green Lantern gay (although that was a net zero for diversity, since it means Alan Scott’s gay son Obsidian doesn’t exist anymore). They gave Cyborg a huge boost in significance, and not because the kids love robots. Hell, they even turned Metamorpho into a woman. I think Atom might be one too. So why would they hesitate to make one of their most prominent characters into a minority? Maybe Batwing dies in the line of duty (fingers crossed!) and he has a kid. Bam! Black Robin. Replace Batwing with Renee Montoya. Bam! Latino Robin. This stuff writes itself.