Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Comic Book Reviews: Batman #30 and Batman Eternal #2 (plus the return of Robin!)

I'm going to save my actual comic reviews for the audio (Give it a listen. We had two good ones this week.) and instead use the print to talk about an announcement from DC Comics.

I freaking love this cover.
It was announced that the 'Batman &' title I recently dropped from my pull list is returning to the title Batman & Robin, and there will be a Robin again come July.

It's generally assumed it will be Damian, as it makes no sense for any of the previous Robins to take up the mantle (as much as I'd like Tim Drake to just do it) and Harper Row is apparently becoming a heroine called Bluebird.

The only other major candidate would be the Carrie Kelley character they created, but it seemed clear she has no fighting skills. At a stretch, Cassandra Cain or Spoiler could take on the role upon introduction, but that wouldn't really make a lot of sense.

If it is indeed going to be Damian, my thoughts are... I have mixed emotions on it.

Don't get me wrong, I thought Damian was a great Robin and there were great stories that could be told with him alive. Heck, my top book of 2013 that would have received a 10/10 had I been giving out ratings was the Batman & Robin Annual #1 issue.

Batman Eternal #2
But the thing is, I think there are real stories that could be told with a dead Robin. I like Jason Todd as Red Hood, but I'd be lying if real emotion didn't shine through in Batman during the 1990s thanks to Todd's death.

It gives the Bat-verse a sense of stakes. Having child sidekicks is, in fact, a risk and a dead Robin is a good reminder of the weight that these battles carry.

It's already heavily implied that Jason came back in this universe thanks to Talia al-Ghul and the Lazarus Pit. And considering the issue before B&R returns to its name is titled 'Batman and Ra's al-Ghul' it looks like Damian will be back through the same means.

If any Batman character dies, there's essentially a get-out-of-jail-free card in place. If you go through the emotion of a silent issue and have Batman go through the five stages of grief, I'd rather Ra's destroy the body and leave the emotional scar.

Besides, Bluebird could serve as a great sidekick to Batman and could help distinguish New 52 Batman from pre-Flashpoint Batman. Why not make it 'Batman and Bluebird?' Or turn B&R into a true 'Brave and the Bold' style book?

See you soon, Damian?
And if you are going to do something like this, why not surprise your audience and not give them months to analyze it? I'm sure some people in DC's offices watch wrestling. Did you see the reaction to Undertaker's loss? That's going to stick with people for a LONG time.

WrestleMania XXX became must-see for any wrestling fan, even if they didn't watch it live. WWE will make lots of money off that decision. Without an issue for people to judge, this announcement could be long forgotten by the time Damian comes back or the new Robin is named.

I may still rejoin the B&R reading brigade because Bruce and Damian are great in the hands of Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, but it's more likely to be like Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior's second runs with WWF - unable to recapture the magic - more than a true restoration like Shawn Michaels' second run.

But hey, if you're going to take a risk, at least it's with a capable creative team.

In closing, here are my issue scores:

Batman #30 - 9.0/10
Batman Eternal #2 - 7.0/10

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