Following the spoiler-laden article in The NY Post regarding the latest developments to rock “Batman Incorporated,” the comic’s writer Grant Morrison gave his Batman “exit interview” at DC’s The Source blog:
“Little did I suspect when I accepted the BATMAN writing assignment back in 2006 that I’d wind up spending the next six years writing the longest continued comic story I’ve ever attempted.”
It’s clearly the end of an era, and with it, perhaps, one of the characters most closely linked to the Morrison run. (Spoilers to follow):
I do have to wonder if the character of Robin is the metaphorical sacrifice that has to be evoked every time another Batman “era” sees its way out.
For example, Jason Todd was originally brought in at the same time a new, streamlined DCU was being born in the mid-1980s. Originally as “sunny” as his predecessor Dick Grayson, he was soon considered too boring, too nice — and soon he became darker, and then D-E-A-D. This fit perfectly with a grittier Batverse as imagined by Frank Miller, but when the 1989 “Batman” movie was set to come out, we got back another “sunny” Robin in the form of Tim Drake (with the corporate spotlight on the franchise, one would presume that a dead Boy Wonder simply wouldn’t do.
Robin Returns with Tim Drake
Drake’s Robin lasts for over a decade, but with the Oughts we again get into a “dark and gritty” period where the Wesley Crusher of Robins just doesn’t fit in. Stephanie Brown, a relic from a long, uninterruptred era of Batness that is about to be turned upside down and closed (with liberal help from Grant “Batman R.I.P” Morrison), is quickly introduced as Robin, and just as quickly disposed of. Morrison then begins to introduce Batman’s young son, Damian — and a new era begins.
And another era now ends.
Who’s getting the keys to the Batcave? I think it will be tightly connected to whomever the “new” Robin is. If I had to guess, it seems like spunky Harper Row (which was a fine publisher back in the day) will most likely take up the role; her recent appearances in the Batman continuing “Owls” storyline seem to strongly hint at that possibility. That would mean that Scott Snyder’s Batman era is now poised to be DC’s iconic one, and he gets the keys to the Batcave that Morrison has so recently abdicated.
Harper Row: She has spunk. Batman HATES spunk!
Where will Batman develop from there? What will define the Snyder/Capullo era of the Caped Crusader? Was the recent (and somewhat anti-climactic) “Death of The Family” crossover a prelude for more cleaning house in the Batman Universe? And if Harper Row does become the new Robin, will it be the disaster Stephanie Brown’s short, confusing, rather violently-handled run was — or will Row be embraced as the Robin for a whole new generation?
(What type of grown man takes on a teen sidekick on dangerous adaventures, anyway?)
Regardless, Morrison seems to be at peace with the end of his Batman journey. He writes:
“Four issues and I’m done, while Batman himself continues into as yet unimagined future adventures. He’ll still be here long after I’m dead and forgotten; long after all of us have come and gone, there will be Batman.”