Thursday, February 28, 2013

Batman, Incorporated: What's Next?

So that sucked. As we found out Monday, I was unfortunately correct, and now I'm back round two of speculation! I'm going to touch on three points. First, the deaths may not be over with. Second, the oldest trick in the book. Finally, third, the roll of Robin in the future.

So, all my thoughts after the break, and I don't think I need to say this, but spoilers to follow.

The Death of Talia

I've said this before, but I might as well say it again, I believe Talia al Ghul will die before Grant Morrison's time on Batman is up. Let's bring up the fact that there are two graves, one of which we now know is Damian's, and not those of Thomas and Martha, whose grave from Batman and Robin #1 you can see in the background of the picture to the right. (I feel like I don't need to remind you all that artistic details can be very deliberate in Morrison's books.) So who would be fit to be buried next to Damian? The only answer I can come up with is his mother, who despite being a terrible person recently, still at one point held a place of her own in Bruce's heart.

How is this going to happen? I don't know. I currently think that Bruce is going to Zur en Arrh the fuck out and go crazy. We've already got the red and black checkers last issue, and the solicit for #10 mentions only one surviving the "man or the bat" and we know that ZeA Baman = Batman - Man, essentially. Do I think Bruce is going to kill Talia with his own hands? Maybe. I think it's more likely that he inadvertently causes her death. That, or Heretic freaks out and kills her. One of the two. Regardless, I feel confident in my belief Talia will die. 

Just ask yourself, where does Talia go from here? It's hard to make her anymore compelling than she is now, as she's probably committed the worst possible atrocity in her capabilities, outside of slitting Damian's throat herself. Also, it's not like you can come back from this, no one can redeem Talia in any feasible way. She may eventually feel sorry for what she did, but she'll never be able to go back to that morally grey version of herself where she's torn between her love and duty. I feel Talia has reached a peak, and she's not coming back from it.

Is Damian Coming Back?

Honestly? I don't believe so. Not anytime soon. I'm sure eventually down the line, someone may pull that clichéd trigger, but in the immediate future I believe he's staying dead. You can bring up lazarus pits and whatever you want, but if there's one thing Grant Morrison's books aren't, it's cheap. As I put in my review of Batman, Incorporated #8, this was a story that was much more than a cheap shock. Morrison himself mentioned how the concept of a child being lost between his parents fighting was inspired by his own parents' divorce. Like many of Morrison's stories, he uses these personal experiences from his life to craft them, and to believe that Damian will be up and running again by issue #12 is just naïve. Morrison is not going to negate himself here. 

Finally, as much shit as guys like Dan Didio get, I believe them to have enough brains not to pull a New X-Men Xorn/Magneto bullshit retcon immediately after Morrison leaves. 

The Next Robin?

Now the question is, who, if anyone, will be the next Robin? Many people were quick to point to Harper Row, or even Squire of the now defunct Knight and Squire (the Heretic is a dick). Let's get one thing out of the way... Squire is not going to be the next Robin. I'm pretty sure that no writer outside of Morrison even knows who she is. Sorry... just being realistic. 

Moving on to Harper Row, I'm going to say "probably not." She's an obvious choice, but nothing has been shown of her to say that she'd be dawning the cape and cowl anytime soon, especially not in two weeks. In her brief appearances, Harper hasn't exhibited anything that would demonstrate her being physically able to go toe to toe with Killer Croc. Does that mean she's not going to become a close ally of Batman? Not necessarily. What Harper has demonstrated is a knack for technology, and the intelligence needed to go with it. If anything, she'll possibly take somewhat of an Oracle roll.

No chance in hell, but I honestly wouldn't be surprised option: Steph Brown or Cassandra Cain. I can see DC using this as a backdoor to get one of them back into the picture, but I don't believe they will. Besides, this is not how I'd like to see them come back.

So, to answer the base question, I honestly don't believe we'll have a Robin for the time being. Putting a new Robin in the saddle so soon after Damian's death would do as much to invalidate the story, as bringing Damian back immediately would. On top of that, DC rushing to a new Robin would feel forced and artificial. I believe DC truly knows they're under a microscope of criticism, and have been since the New 52, and to commit any comic clichés as big as "death means nothing" or shoehorning a new Robin into the mix too soon, would harm them more than it would help. 

So, that's what I got. I feel pretty confident on being right with all this, but we'll just have to wait and see. If anything, 2013 is going to be an interesting year for the Bat Family.


  1. 100% agree about Harper Row. I just wonder how long Tomasi can sustain a "Batman &..." comic.

  2. I get what you mean with Harper's lack of skills, but what I can see them doing is having Bruce train her, and we get to actually see her transform into someone who could fight alongside Batman. That was, after all, the original intent of Robin--to show that "one of us" could, if we were brave and strong enough, be able to live up to this heroic figure.

  3. Great article! So who's yellow cape is on the edge of the Batman & Robin 19 cover?

    Am I the only one who misses Harold Allnut and Ace from the early 1990's? Harold taking care of Ace in a back corner of the Batcave away from crazy Jean Paul Valley was the best part of Knightfall. If Harper assumed the "Harold" role, provided tech support for Batman, and took care of Damian's animals, I would love it. Bat-cow, Titus, and Alfred the Cat must not be forgotten!

  4. Bruce will somehow, reluctantly, bring her into the cave on a tech monkey basis. Once her foot is in the door, she will want to be Robin. He will eventually, reluctantly, train her and the role will be kind of like Tim Drake pre-52, where we actually get to follow her steps towards donning the yellow.

    They've already said Batman will be teaming up with the others in the family for the next few months as they try to help him out of his grief.

  5. Debilitating misery? In MY Bat-titles?

    Anyway, yeah, I hate Scott Snyder but he has made some vaguely interesting contributions to the mythos and I really like Harper Row. I hope we see a lot more of her in the future, and I also think the next Robin should be female (but let's hold off on Robin for the next couple years.) That said, Harper's abilities do seem more technical than physical so who knows. A Harold-type role would suit her well.

  6. You're the only person I've seen who agrees with me on Talia dying soon! I agree that there's just nothing else that could be done with Talia after this, it's the end of the road for her. I don't think Bruce will kill her though, either the Heretic will kill her or she will kill herself. I thought this theory makes sense to when you read the solicitation for Inc 12, it mentions the Heretic and Leviathan but not Talia.