Two days before the issue is scheduled to hit stores, DC Comics has exclusively told the NY Post the ending to "Batman Incorporated" #8-- that Batman's sidekick Robin dies.
In this case, Batman's 10-year-old son Damian -- the latest young person to put on the Robin colors -- "eats it" (as it says on the Post's URL for the story). He dies "battling a brutal enemy," according the article, with writer Grant Morrison adding, "He saves the world. He does his job as Robin. He dies an absolute hero.”
If you are a comics fan and reading this right now, you might be upset about "spoilers." Well, if the headline of a major news site runs an article that says "Robin Dead," with a highlights box featuring Robin's face with the words "Holy Hit Job!" -- it's pretty much spoilt. (though to be fair, the Post did post a spoilers warning about five paragraphs down about the spoiler -- after spoiling it)
Anyway, Robin the Boy (sometimes, Girl) Wonder is dead. Again.
Batman has had a series of Robins over the years -- some have quit to go on to do better things, and some unlucky others, such as 1980s Robin Jason Todd, get their fate decided by a call-in number. Others, such as "Girl Wonder" Stephanie Brown, "sort of die" (as well as "sort of" be recognized as Robin, and then "sort of" come back to life).
Why do these teen -- and, in the case of the current, soon-to-be-dead Robin, child -- sidekicks seem so ripe for the offing? In the book "Teen Angels & New Mutants: Rick Veitch's Bratpack and the Art, Karma, and Commerce of Killing Sidekicks," author Stephen R. Bissette sees the phenomena as a cross between some sort of primal sacrificial ritual and a periodic sales-bump:
"In case you didn't already know it, killing sidekicks has become big business, and not just in comic books. It's nothing new, really. As a society, we've always savored the spectacle of youth snuffed out, be it horribly abrupt or a chlling slow fade...a sacrificial rite-of-passage we inexplicably crave as a culture."
The Veitch graphic novel "Bratpack" itself seems to be inspired by the gimmick-laden death of Jason Todd, and presents a superhero universe where these young sidekicks are perpetually killed off and replaced. Indeed, "Batman Incorporated" writer Morrison teased a possible new Robin to take Damian's place:
"You can never say never in a comic book...Batman will ultimately always have a partner."
Will Batman indeed have a new Robin? Who might take the place of Damian? Is Damian really dead, or will he be eventually chucked into a Lazarus Pit somewhere?
Find out sometime in the future: same Bat-Time...same Bat-Channel!