Should Certain Story-Arcs Supersede Current Continuity?

A question that has been running through my mind lately is whether or not substantial events in comic book history, which have the potential to be more influential, have an obligation to trump current continuity. As a caution, there will be spoilers to Batman Inc 8, so back out now if you wish to remain pure.

Over the years I have become a stickler for comic book continuity (my passion for this has waned since the New 52, as I value my sanity). The idea of another living world full of complex interactions and iconic heroes has swept my imagination, and maintaining a cohesive feel throughout that environment is vital to sustaining my suspension of disbelief. I also have a passion for revisiting truly great stories in the form of trades, yet sometimes can feel bogged down by trivial details not referenced in the main story.

Recently the events of Batman, Incorporated #8, and the death of Damian, have me wondering whether current continuity should be set aside in order to help the story and fallout issues be better received in the future. This idea has been especially intriguing due to the already separated feel that this title has from the rest of the DC Universe. In recent months Batman and family have had to deal with the Joker in the Death of the Family arc, however, Batman Inc has kept its distance from the storyline, and proceeded along with Morrison's vision. Now that Damian has perished, however, the events of Batman Inc seem to be bleeding into other titles of the DC Universe (mainly in the Batfamily) and as such may begin to blend the separated feel of Batman Inc and the other titles.

Fallout issues are a big part of "meaningful" story arcs these days, and can often help to show more detail as to how a character is dealing with a trauma, without taking away from the pacing of the main title. When future generations revisit these stories, they should be encouraged to delve fully into the tale, and immerse themselves in the character's feelings and sorrow. With the death of Damian, this begins to bring confusion. The Batman and Robin title will be showcasing other members of the Batfamily, such as Red Robin and Red Hood, in order to help Bruce through this tough time. However, certain events occurring in both Teen Titans and RHATO may make this confusing for future readers (Tim's possession, and the different portrayals of Jason in Batman Inc and RHATO). Therefore, should the current continuity be disregarded for the benefit of this meaningful event?

Another example that comes to mind, and happens to be currently unfolding, is Age of Ultron. The main story seems to be ignoring the events of Superior Spider-man, except for in the tie-ins. Does Bendis, as the author, have the right to decide whether his story can disregard potentially dating continuity (SpOck) in hopes that Age of Ultron may appeal to future readers unaware of the body switch?

When reading past stories it can sometimes be fun to see how current comic events at the time had an effect on the storyline. However, it can also in some cases lead to disappointment and a constant nagging of what if. I personally wonder how Secret Wars would have been different had the more iconic Tony Stark been Iron Man at the time. Ignoring continuity for certain "game changers" might lead to a battle of which stories are iconic, and which are merely fillers. This could potentially create a second class of comics, those that are not worthy of meaningful events.

In my own opinion I believe that some stories truly are more lasting and important, and therefore deserve to avoid continuity traps. The Death of Damian would be on this list for me, as it is a major point of Bruce Wayne's saga, regardless of whether Damian returns or not. Simple continuity points such as Tim's possession or backlash from Death of the Family should be ignored in this case, for the better benefit of preserving a more time-immune story.

Do you believe there should be times when continuity takes a backseat? Or would it be more meaningful, in the long run, to maintain continuity across the board? Let me know what you think.


Nightwing and Red Robin

It seems to me that DC seems to be taking very similar steps in the New 52 to introduce Tim Drake, in his Red Robin persona, as they did with Dick Grayson as Nightwing back in the 80s.

The Costume:

Tim has been reintroduced in the New 52 with a costume that I find similar to Nightwing's debut in the Teen Titans. The two costumes give off similar vibes with the yellow accentuations. Aside from the wings on Red Robin's costume, they both feel similar. Another important aspect of the dramatic costumes is that it sets them apart from Robin.

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Team Leader:

Another way that Tim and Dick have been made similar since the New 52 reboot is that they are both shown to lead a "new" team of younger heroes. Nightwing took over leadership of the Teen Titans when he was first introduced, forming a team of sidekicks that had not been seen before. In the New 52 Tim is seen forming a team of young heroes known as the first of its kind. This similarity is used to show Tim's leadership abilities and connection to the DC Universe in a similar way that DC handled Nightwing's departure from Batman.

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Robin Replacement:

Both Tim Drake and Dick Grayson have also been replaced in similar ways. For Dick, it was Jason Todd that next took over as Robin, whereas Damian takes over for Tim. Both of these replacement Robins have similar personalities, and both are drastically different from the preceding Robin. Both Jason and Damian have darker, more rebellious attitudes than the ones before them. By choosing Jason and Damian to replace Dick and Tim, DC is encouraging followers of the previous Robin to buy their new book and continue following their adventures, rather than just be complacent with the new Robin.

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There are many similarities between Nightwing and Red Robin and their departures as Robin. Could this be DC's purposeful method of trying to build Red Robin to the same level of popularity that Nightwing currently enjoys? Do you think that in the next few years we will start to see Red Robin make his way into DC animated adventures to continue boosting popularity?


Stop the Adoptions!

I read a thread the other day about Tim and Cassandra getting together as a couple. It made me think of how perfect it would be to set up another on/off again couple similar to the Batgirl and Robin flirtations of long ago. The only problem seems to be that Bruce Wayne has gotten pretty trigger happy with the old adoption papers.

It all started with Tim Drake's father being killed by a boomerang in Identity Crisis. I assume that at the time Tim was about 14-15 years old, as he had spent a fairly good time as the Boy Wonder before this event. Now, I don't know about other people, but I can sure as hell tell you that I would not let myself be adopted after spending 15 years with my real father. Especially not when my father actually cared about my life and was not extraordinarily neglectful.

It seems that in the recent years that Batman has adopted literally every Robin or Batgirl, excepting Barbara Gordon. In my opinion this severely limits the story telling ability, at least on the romantic side, between the different members of the Bat Family. I know that Tim and Steph have a long history, and depending on your own opinion of the two, they may be destined to end up together. However, this should not prevent the other Bat family members from interacting together romantically, rather than making new characters or (god forbid) trying to pair Robin up with Supergirl.

So in conclusion, I think that it would be great to see a Tim Drake and Cassandra Cain couple. However, the recent trend of having Bruce Wayne adopt every member of the Bat Family is not only unrealistic in terms of real family interaction, but it also limits the ability of future writers to tell stories based on the interactions of these obviously close and intimate teens.

What does every one else think of these points? Do you think that the members of the Bat Family should be able to date without fear of incestuous relations, or would you rather have the various Robins and Batgirls get involved with other Super Families (such as Superboy/ Supergirl) or with entirely new characters that may expand on the Bat mythos?


Missing the Cowl

I'm new to the site and this is my first blog post, so I'm sorry if this has been covered already.

I'm a big Tim Drake fan, as is obvious by my name, and have been following Teen Titans since the launch of the New 52. Despite my enjoyment of the series, I have to admit that I miss Tim no longer having his own title. I have loved tracking the evolution of the character, and as I'm a 90s child myself, I have always been able to relate to him. When tim transitioned into his new role as Red Robin it seemed like a great coming of age moment for the character, this is most evident by him abandoning the domino mask of Robin and taking a more Batman like Cowl.

The Cowl fit Tim's character for me in two different ways. First of all it showed that he was maturing and growing up. Abandoning his role as sidekick and embracing that of a full-fledged hero in Red Robin. The other important aspect of the cowl was that it differentiates the different atmospheres of Tim and Dick's separation from being Robin. When Dick left the Dynamic Duo it was due to him wanting to get out of Batman's shadow and become his own man, however Tim's separation was quite different. As the only person convinced that Bruce was still alive, Tim's adoption of a cowl is logical as it symbolically places him closer to his mentor. This to me is the biggest reason that Tim should retain his cowl rather than switching back to a domino mask in the New 52. It shows the differences between the two former Robins and characterizes their styles of heroism (this is also the reason I enjoyed Dick's blue Nightwing costume, but that is for a different post).

It seems as though this new representation of Tim in the New 52 has made him a younger, less developed character. What do you think of his new depiction? Should Tim go back to having the cowl as he ages, or should he stick with the more Robin like Domino mask?