It's likely you've heard the news about the identity of who the next Robin will be after Robin Rises. Damian Wayne was killed in BATMAN INCORPORATED #8, which was released in February 2013. It's hard to believe he's been dead for so long. But with December's ROBIN RISES: ALPHA, we will actually get to see who becomes the next Robin.
As we've seen Tim Drake, Jason Todd, and even Barbara Gordon come into the story along with the New 52 introduction of Carrie Kelley and Stephanie Brown, we were left wondering who would be the next Robin.
"Let’s just say that we are most definitely bringing back a Robin for Batman’s 75th anniversary."
We thought we'd have to wait until December but DC's solicitations for their January titles were released this week and the info for BATMAN AND ROBIN #38 says it all. DC released a cropped version of the cover, seen here, but Peter Tomasi posted the full cover on his Twitter page.
I've stalled long enough. If you managed to avoid the spoilers and still don't want to know, you shouldn't be reading this far. This is your last chance to look away.
The Robin that will be returning to Batman's side is Damian Wayne. This shouldn't be too much of a surprise. We know his body was taken by Ra's al Ghul. Even though he wasn't immediately revived in a Lazarus Pit, Ra's put the Chaos Shard in his coffin, which has drawn the attention of Darkseid. Damian's body has been taken to Apokolips and we can assume being there and the power of the Chaos Shard being able to defy the laws of physics and reality will somehow bring Damian back.
But it won't necessarily be the same Damian we knew.
According to the solicit for BATMAN AND ROBIN #38, Batman will have to deal with Damian now having superpowers. This is one area where the Dynamic Duo will have a new...dynamic.
You could only imagine what Bruce would do if Damian came back exactly how he was before he was killed. Damian has proven time and time again he is more than capable of taking on rooms full of dangerous villains. But the last thing Bruce would want would be to see his son die again. He went through an extremely tough time. He was protective and paranoid before Damian's death due to the bounty Talia put on his head. Having him return from the dead would likely cause Bruce to keep him locked up in some deep corner of the Batcave.
The idea of a super-powered Robin doesn't seem right. It is different. That's what makes this something more than the simple return of a Robin. We've seen that before with Jason Todd. If Damian came back and everything went back to normal, that would make the months of stories and grieving feel wasted. This isn't just Damian returning, it's super-Damian. Batman is going to have a whole new set of headaches coming his way.
Bruce's natural instinct will be to protect or even ground Robin (again). Damian is known for running off half-cocked. If he has super-powers, how will Batman be able to stop him? Well, we know he always finds a way to come up with contingency plans but with his son being the opposition, it'll make things more difficult.
Batman will have to keep a close eye on Damian now. Damian has, in the past, killed the bad guys with no remorse. Having more abilities, it'll take all of Batman's rules and outlook against crime to stop Damian from doing what his instincts and lifelong training, in the League of Assassins, have taught him. Will Batman be able to keep him in check?
The other question is what state will Damian be in when he returns? How much of his death, and whatever came after, does he remember? Will he remember the pain and possible nothingness of dying? Will he be afraid to jump into dangerous situations out of fear of dying once again?
What's more likely is Damian, as a young 10 or 11-year-old, will think he's indestructible now. He died and managed to come back, better than before. The idea of Batman and Robin has always been Robin being the sidekick. Batman will always have the edge in being "Batman" but partnering with a young and potentially powerful 'sidekick' will be something new and different for him. He's worked with the Justice League for years but he hasn't really been partners with them. As much respect as he may have for Damian, he likely wouldn't see him as an equal partner.
Also, what will be Damian's reaction to Dick Grayson being "dead"? Will Bruce tell him the truth or will Damian blame his father for allowing him, Dick, and Jason all to die on his watch? That could add even more tension between the two.
Then again, maybe his powers will just be temporary.
The Dynamic Duo is about to see a change in how they operate. With Damian's return and the arrogance he had in abundance before, seeing the two work together is going to be pretty interesting. Batman would have his hands full with a normal ten-year-old raised by assassins. Having that same kid, now with super-powers, is going to add a huge number of complications.