Batman & Red Robin #19 Review

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So here it is the first non Damian inclusive issue in Tomasi and Gleason’s epic run. And somehow, someway I am a bit underwhelmed. Look don’t get me wrong I liked the story well enough to warrant a purchase but there are some things here that are worth breaking apart….

The entire point of this previously titled “wtf month” was to show off ridiculous and shocking covers that tied into the stories of their respective books. For many weeks we all speculated that the gatefold cover of this book would feature Tim Drake as the subject of the hidden half.  This soon turned out to be not true. Carrie Kelly, the alternate universe Robin from Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns has now joined mainstream continuity. But is she the new Robin? well, this book won’t answer that. Yet it doesn’t deny it either. Should she become the new Robin? maybe Harper Row should? NO!. Carrie Kelley is a nice addition, really she is, but I cannot shake the feeling that this seems like a desperate move to replace Damian with someone who will lessen the blow. 

PLOT: 

A red headed, college aged girl visits the Wayne mansion and asks for Damian at the door, she knocks 1365166415repeatedly but no answer is given. Bruce Wayne looks on from his window as the girl leaves a set of DVD’s and a note to Damian at the door of the mansion. Bruce picks them up and discovers that Damian had some sort of friendship with his girl. Damian owes the girl money for acting lessons and she had come over for an additional lesson. In wonder and seeming curiosity Bruce delivers a check tot he girl who he tracks down to a college dorm. Bruce knocks ont he door and it seems the girl; Carrie Kelley is hosting a college party. She answers the door wearing a classic Robin costume and Bruce freezes. He hands her the check along with the items she left for Damian. She says they were for Damian but Bruce quickly leaves and asks Alfred to speed off. Batman has tracked down Frankenstein for what seems to be days and abducts him. Alfred, now worried for Bruce’s well-being, calls for Tim Drake to track Batman down and bring him home. Tim tracks Batman down to Frankenstein’s castle where Bruce has begun to dissect and break apart the monster. Tim watches in horror as Frankenstein tries his best to convince Bruce to let batman-and-red-robin-new-52-19-resurrectDamian rest in peace instead of trying to desperately revive him. Bruce does not listen and argues that true horror and unfairness is watching his son be murdered by his own mother. Tim steps in and tries to talk Batman out of his actions but to no avail. It seems Tim is still haunted by the fall out of Death of the Family and has no kind words for Bruce who retaliated by telling him that the only member of the family who deserved better was Damian who trusted him unconditionally (I agree, screw you Tim!). Tim is left with no choice but to blow up the castle and so leave Batman unable to do his work. Bruce leaves angrily  and Tim stays behind to repair Frankenstein. Back to Carrie Kelley: It seems her blonde roo mate (oddly resembling Stephanie Brown) and her are playing some sort of video game and she spills information to her on how Damian was her acting student and how she hopes he comes back from wherever he is soon as she misses him. The story ends with her revealing that Bruce Wayne has paid more than enough for her lessons to Damian at $10,000.

OVERVIEW (or rant):

Before i say anything else i want to say this: I loved Carrie Kelley here, she was great. Okay, let’s get on with my thoughts. I can;t help but think this is just a ploy to sell more books. Yeah i loved Carrie but to have another robin other than Damian within the next year seems like a bit of a stretch. I’m fine with him coming back soon but I’m not fine with someone else filling up the role, why? well because the New52 has reduced the role of Robin to nothing more than an internship program, and while that may be the point i feel like they really could have had the chance to cement Damian as the proper and most meaningful Robin here in this DCNU. If we’re not getting him back I’d prefer we have Tim take up the mantle why? because the role of Robin must not be allowed to become a replaceable one. It must hold weight and meaning. Damian’s death was a heroic one and truly cements him as the ideal example of what it meant to be Robin in the old DCU. With the reboot Tim’s reasoning behind becoming Robin felt fake and forced, Jason’s death was meaningless and Dick Grayson’s ascension to Nightwing was not gradual and meaningful but a quick decision to leap from apprentice to self-made man within a year or so. If the timeline is already so compressed than do not add to the problem by instilling yet another Robin when we have so many that can still be fleshed out further. I do not blame Pete Tomasi or Patrick Gleason for this, given different circumstances i believe they would have made Damian this generation’s definitive Robin but because Morrison decided to end his character here we won’t see that. I’m all for originality but Damian is a character that best serves DC when alive rather than when dead. As great as Batman Inc is, after that story is said and done i feel we will get nothing we haven’t already seen before from the mythos. Another Robin dies, how long till the next one dies? as a reader i find it increasingly frustrating that comics refuse to gradually accept change and embrace evolution. Batman has evolved before let him evolve now. Must he always be the dark harbinger of justice who stands alone with an overbearing amount of grief and guilt? no he shouldn’t. Killing Damian brings him back to post Jason Todd days. Grant Morrison knew well enough to not go to the moody Bruce side of things but other writers would probably want to deal with Bruce’s grief and so we arrive here to a grieving Batman who is now so desperate to bring back his son, he’s willing to go out of character to do it. I’m disappointed that we are cheated from potential stories with such a unique character but I’m even more disappointed to see that DC is just only eager to sell more books and that is that.

FINAL GRADE: 6.5/10

– Buzz

What i want DC to do at this point.
What I want DC to do at this point.
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