Off My Mind: Is There A Longing for the Death of Robin?

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Posted by G-Man (31704 posts) - - Show Bio

A long running gag in comics is that sidekicks have a short life expectancy. Rarely are they as skilled or powerful as their adult mentors. They usually run around in brightly colored costumes, brighter than their partners. They stand out in the shadows and their youthful attitude and eagerness often puts them directly in harm's way.

When Robin became Batman's sidekick, it changed and evolved his character. Batman now had someone to work with and confide in during his war against crime. Robin immediately proved to be a worthy sidekick but lacking the years of training Batman went through, it would be no surprise if anything ever happened to him.

While we know a Robin did die in 1988's Death in the Family story in 1985, that wasn't the first time a story dealt with the Boy Wonder's death. Looking back, other stories exist indicating that writers may have had a secret wish to make the death story stick. The tenure of being a Robin doesn't last very long. Is it possible we will see the death of Robin once again?

== TEASER ==

The pairing of Batman and Robin was always a little odd. Batman wanting a youthful ward to share his life and try to have some semblance of a family life makes sense. But Batman and Robin always came across as night and day. Batman was dark, mysterious and serious while Robin wore a bright costume and was always making wisecracks. Growing up with Batman comics and cartoons, Batman was always cool while Robin...wasn't.

Seeing some of the past stories, you get the impression that writers might not have thought Robin was cool either. Issues that immediately come to mind are 1963's BATMAN #156 ("Robin Dies at Dawn") and 1972's BATMAN #246 ("How Many Ways Can a Robin Die?"). Both issues dealt with the apparent death of Robin and the effect on Batman. Beneath the surface, it felt more like a way to write stories dealing with killing Robin in brutal ways (especially in #246).

After Dick Grayson moved on and Jason Todd became Robin, the idea of killing Robin still lingered. The results of the phone in poll made if official. Robin was brutally killed. It wasn't an imaginary story, hallucination or trick. Robin was dead (even if he was to return from the dead decades later).

The almost deaths of Tim Drake.

It was Tim Drake as Robin that really made the character cool. Readers became more accepting of the Boy Wonder and he even earned having his own solo ongoing series. As cool as he was and as much as readers liked him, of course he faced near death on several occasions, one time when facing Damian, the next Robin and also when fighting Jason Todd, the previous Robin.

Tim's time as Robin would also come to an end but not at the heads of Death. Tim became Red Robin and Batman's son, Damian, now wears the mantle.

Recent develops suggest that Damian's time may be limited as well. Despite a slight yearning for acceptance from his father, Damian is creating a rift between himself and Batman. He's appears to be headed for a darker path. Throw in the fact that we've had the recent revelation that there is now a $500 million bounty on his head, you would think Batman's enemies would be coming out of the woodwork to claim that bounty, at any cost.

Is there a chance Damian will be killed? There's always a chance that a comic book character will die. Most likely Damian will not get killed but he has some heavy things headed his way and the bounty on his head isn't going to make matters easier, especially if he keeps leaving the Batcave by himself.

It might be that killing off a sidekick has become an ongoing gag or maybe it's a taboo because they're often children. It's always been said that Robin was a brightly colored target to draw gunfire away from Batman. It does look like wearing the Robin costume is indeed the same as wearing a target. Hopefully Damian can survive long enough to continue his career as Robin. Batman is starting to go through them at an alarming rate.

Staff
#1 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29499 posts) - - Show Bio

I love the idea of using Robins as a distraction for gunfire. That's just so sadistic and yet so brilliant.

#2 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6885 posts) - - Show Bio

The entire death thing I think is probably more owed to the fact that Robin over many years was a character that just didn't earn much respect. It was sad that you'd have running jokes like that happen, but if it truly went that far we would definitely have seen a "Death of Dick Grayson" instead of him going off on his own as Nightwing. Jason Todd's death was probably more owed to the fact that frankly he was so much of a whiner that fans by 1988 were voting in wanting to see him taken down. Tim Drake was almost a blend of the two in the right proportion to get a Robin we all would enjoy. Stephanie Brown was just a minor anomaly that just wouldn't work in the green and red. Damian had potential, at least in my opinion, in the pre-Flashpoint reality to not only be the Boy Wonder but his eventual successor (think of Batman #666 and #700), but now, with how he's going, who knows? Maybe another death is in the works, maybe not. If anything, the ongoing gag reminds me of this...

#3 Posted by Deadcool (6809 posts) - - Show Bio
Robin, because having a teenagers in tights to fight crime is a good Idea.
#4 Posted by BlackArmor (6136 posts) - - Show Bio

"It was Tim Drake as Robin that really made the character cool."

well yeah Tim makes everything cool. anyway Damian will be fine but he will continue to not make things cool

#5 Posted by GBrutality (192 posts) - - Show Bio

wait, when did a bounty get put on his head?

#6 Posted by Archlord (140 posts) - - Show Bio

@BlackArmor:

I think so aswell. He was the best Robin aswell, now he is Red Robin.

#7 Posted by BlackArmor (6136 posts) - - Show Bio

@GBrutality: Batman: Leviathan

#8 Posted by girl_from_the_future (38 posts) - - Show Bio

I can barely stand Batman in the DCU, not because I dislike his character but because he's too human and low-tech to be believable in the Justice League...he should be a Bat-Smear. No person without super-powers belongs there...much less a pre-teen boy.

Children are not cool. Never going to be.

#9 Posted by DocFatalis (1419 posts) - - Show Bio

@girl_from_the_future said:

I can barely stand Batman in the DCU, not because I dislike his character but because he's too human and low-tech to be believable in the Justice League...he should be a Bat-Smear. No person without super-powers belongs there...much less a pre-teen boy.

Children are not cool. Never going to be.

I tend to agree with that. Batman can team up with the JL once in a while, but he really doesn't belong there. some will say "but it's his brains that makes the difference not his powers". Yeah, okay, how many characters in the JL are scientists or think super fast or are among the brightest minds existing etc...

Batman is a great character, one of my all-time favorites, but his place is in the streets and gutters of Gotham, not aboard a satellite or on alien planets facing people who can punch a hole through a mountain without breaking a sweat.

As for that children thing, I never really understood. according to me, this is a way for DC to kind of bond with their teen-age readers.

#10 Posted by cosmo111687 (1489 posts) - - Show Bio

I think, from a story-telling point of view, killing or nearly killing Robin in the Silver Age was a sort of cheap way of creating suspense. Since A Death In The Family, though, it's taken on much more serious undertones and has been used to force Batman to question his choices when pursuing his war against crime.

And, as a side-note, I really like Robin. Without him, Batman would be too dark and would lose all humanity.

#11 Posted by Grim (2079 posts) - - Show Bio

TIM DRAKE FTW!!! thanks for the Drake love Tony. people dont seem to notice how much he revolutionized the boy wonder role.

#12 Posted by Joelislegend (215 posts) - - Show Bio

Morrison killing off Damian would be amazing!!!

Only he should be allowed to do it.

Honestly though... imagine the ramifications for the rest of the Bat universe if Damian were to die.

#13 Posted by DarthShap (875 posts) - - Show Bio

Tim Drake is the worst. Pretentious douche who thinks he is Batman. I cannot stand him.

And no, he did not make Robin cool, Dick Grayson did. New Teen Titans anyone?

#14 Posted by AirDave817 (808 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't know, I always thought Robin was cool. Maybe not the short pants. I think Tim Drake made the character cool because of the costume adjustment. Dick Grayson was stuck with a lame costume. But I would imagine that he, like mist sidekicks, was created to be the opposite of his mentor. A kid is not going to be all serious about his mentor's or dad's business from the start. Taking the family business serious comes later. I did like the idea that after Jason Todd's death, Batman returned to his roots a little bit, and became a lone hero.

#15 Posted by Mbecks14 (2068 posts) - - Show Bio

1. Stephanie Brown

2. I liked Robin, he was like a cooler, happier, Batman-jr. that resonated with young-me more

3. I always thought that the old dead robin gimmicks were to either just grab attention or suggest that Batman might go through another tragic turmoil of losing a son

#16 Edited by chalkshark (1187 posts) - - Show Bio

No more so than any other character. In the Silver Age, "killing" the hero was a standard plot, generally always cover teased to entice potential buyers to pick up the book. You could pose the same question about why the writers always wanted to marry the characters off, or turn them into giants, or shrink them, or have them become villains, or quit. In the 60's and 70's, they did what ever shocking thing they could think of to pull in readers. The status quo was always re-established by story's end.

#17 Edited by clemj (817 posts) - - Show Bio

why has batman never died?all Robins almost died once

#18 Posted by feargalr (1156 posts) - - Show Bio

@InnerVenom123: Love it!

Though I really don't want Damian to die... I kinda think the robins are sorta awesome...

#19 Posted by Phaedrusgr (1671 posts) - - Show Bio

@clemj: Say what? Define death in comic terms, cause I think Batman was dead for a while. Remember?

#20 Posted by BatWatch (2571 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm a huge Tim Drake fan, but I don't understand the Damian hate. I get why Tim, in universe, dislike Damien...the kids a douche, but as a comic book reader, I like reading about the little badass douche which is Damien Wayne. Douches give a comic some flavoring. Not everybody in the real world is pleasant, why would everybody in the Superhero community be well-mannered? Look at the Bat-Clan so far. Except for Bruce, all of them are remarkably well adjusted, polite individuals. Now throw in Damian. He stands out, and that is exactly what good characters should do in a team based story. (chuckles) Wouldn't it be the ultimate irony to have Batman be responsible for teaching Damian the importance of social grace?

#21 Posted by Jayso4201 (595 posts) - - Show Bio

Its been done, doesn't need to be done again. Even if everyone does hate what Damian has done to the character.

#22 Posted by pspin (891 posts) - - Show Bio

Robin: the Aquaman of sidekicks; because the only thing worse than a crime fighting teenager is a crime fighting teenager without superpowers

#23 Posted by Decept-O (7275 posts) - - Show Bio

What's worse than having new and old characters alike retcon their origin and history is having some things explained later which are off the mark from the original.

Such is the case with the original Robin. He was simply included as a way for young readers to be part of the Batman story, or so the writers and heads at DC thought, and his colorful costume was modeled to be like a Robin Hood character. Hence the name of Robin. That is exactly how the original explanation goes. Bear in mind during the Golden Age there was a bit more of a naivety in terms of how comics were written and drawn. Robin wasn't originally meant to use the bird of the same name that is something that got changed over time.

That said, the lame ass explanation that Robin's original garish costume was meant to draw away gunfire is asinine on a level I can't fathom. Stupid is the first word that comes to mind.

Robin as a concept ended up being a joke years later, due to the idea of a kid being a sidekick to one of the most psychopathic costumed vigilantes around and stories taking a more real world and gritty approach. DC and writers were stuck with Robin, possibly afraid to change anything, so they came up with these "death of Robin" stories. The changes to Robin by making the costume far more feasible and well less garish and flamboyant.with Tim Drake was a welcome one. I love Tim Drake as a character, but Robin as a concept-- it still sucks.

With Damian now acting as Robin, I have to wonder. Will there be yet another "52" type event with DC? Will there be another time travel "bump" and some more things get removed or changed in some fashion? Could it be possible that the concept of Robin and kids as sidekicks will forever be erased from DC's continuity? Maybe there will be a Marvel VS. DC event soon. Maybe........

I can only hope.

#24 Posted by kartron (420 posts) - - Show Bio

I think it will be good if such deaths are kept in low numbers and high rarity. It's almost become a "gag" as you have said. I don't think a writer like Snyder would want to get into repeated gimmicks with his kind of work we have seen so far!!

#25 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (32993 posts) - - Show Bio
@PsychoKnights said:

I'm a huge Tim Drake fan, but I don't understand the Damian hate. I get why Tim, in universe, dislike Damien...the kids a douche, but as a comic book reader, I like reading about the little badass douche which is Damien Wayne. Douches give a comic some flavoring. Not everybody in the real world is pleasant, why would everybody in the Superhero community be well-mannered? Look at the Bat-Clan so far. Except for Bruce, all of them are remarkably well adjusted, polite individuals. Now throw in Damian. He stands out, and that is exactly what good characters should do in a team based story. (chuckles) Wouldn't it be the ultimate irony to have Batman be responsible for teaching Damian the importance of social grace?

QFT
#26 Posted by Hector (446 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman shouldn't get these kids involved in his world, they are too young and it's too much for them to handle sometimes.

#27 Posted by The Stegman (23764 posts) - - Show Bio

Robin's like Kenny from south park

#28 Posted by goldenkey (2927 posts) - - Show Bio

there is no such thing as a tough 10 year old. Get rid of him.

#29 Edited by MinkoAk (38 posts) - - Show Bio

@goldenkey said:

there is no such thing as a tough 10 year old. Get rid of him.

This is clearly Damian's problem, this character doesn't make any sense, he is way too young to be that tough, the kid almost looks better that Batman in the way he is presented in the New 52 ! At least they showed some weakness in him, some part of his childhood, but at the moment the dog Batman bought him is clearly in more danger. How much time before he kills it ? Let's take bets ! My guess is on #12, give or take two issues !

#30 Posted by DreamerOfEden (26 posts) - - Show Bio

@cosmo111687: I agree. While the concept of a child taking on the dangers of crimefighting is rather ridiculous, the light and optimism Robin brings to Batman is refreshing compared to the constant darkness of Batman's self-imposed isolation. It brings a depth to Batman (and Bruce Wayne) that we would never see, otherwise.

#31 Posted by The Impersonator (5214 posts) - - Show Bio

Robin wouldn't have been an easy target if he wore this costume. =P

#32 Posted by kennybaese (1109 posts) - - Show Bio

I remember reading that Morrison had originally planned on killing Damian off at the end of the Batman and Son arc but decided to keep the character around in the end.

I think killing Robin is a cheap trick at this point. It's a tired way to get an emotional impact out of Batman. I like the character of Robin and think he brings important things to Bruce's character and is interesting in and of himself, all of them are.

#33 Posted by Miss_Garrick (1757 posts) - - Show Bio

Why do writers like to kill Robin?

If you saw a guy in tights and shoes like that, wouldn't you want to? At the very least bruise him a bit?

#34 Posted by Danial79 (2345 posts) - - Show Bio

Damian feels like another Jason to me, so I doubt they'd repeat his fate. If anything, I'd say they'll make him into a villain at some point.

#35 Posted by cosmo111687 (1489 posts) - - Show Bio

@DreamerOfEden said:

@cosmo111687: I agree. While the concept of a child taking on the dangers of crimefighting is rather ridiculous, the light and optimism Robin brings to Batman is refreshing compared to the constant darkness of Batman's self-imposed isolation. It brings a depth to Batman (and Bruce Wayne) that we would never see, otherwise.

Exactly. I'm surprised that so few others seem to see that.

#36 Posted by girl_from_the_future (38 posts) - - Show Bio

@DreamerOfEden said:

@cosmo111687: I agree. While the concept of a child taking on the dangers of crimefighting is rather ridiculous, the light and optimism Robin brings to Batman is refreshing compared to the constant darkness of Batman's self-imposed isolation. It brings a depth to Batman (and Bruce Wayne) that we would never see, otherwise.

That's one reason I don't like BROODING NINJA BATMAN. I know that's the 'Standard Model' these days, but I prefer the rich guy who's a Detective and is OK at fighting. This karate-ultra-master-emo Batman is just...silly to me. Sillier than Silver Age Batman.

#37 Posted by Daveyo520 (2447 posts) - - Show Bio
#38 Posted by mynameis7 (58 posts) - - Show Bio

the way the series batman and robin is going i do see some seperation going on between the two of them. From him killing the bat in the second issue i believe it was and "nobody" taking him kinda under his wing or whatever you wish to call it, there is something going on between the 2 of them. but I actually would prefer batman alone, as big a fan i am of batman i just think doing a permanent death of robin would actually do good for bats, or maybe damien becoming something that he comes up with, a new name, costume and maybe a enemy of batman. could do for a good story arc, just an option.

#39 Posted by frogjitsu (478 posts) - - Show Bio

I always thought Robin was cool. I preferred him way more than Bats growing up. Of course, looking back, I tended to be drawn to characters that were closer to my age, so that's probably why. Truthfully, since the New 52 started, this is probably the first time I've preferred Batman's book to one of his sidekicks' books.

#40 Posted by xerox_kitty (15762 posts) - - Show Bio
Is there a chance Damian will be killed?

There's always a chance, even if it is slim... Hey, I've got to have something to look forward to; The Death Of Damian Wayne! ;D

Moderator
#41 Posted by Billy Batson (57905 posts) - - Show Bio

@xerox_kitty said:

Is there a chance Damian will be killed?

There's always a chance, even if it is slim... Hey, I've got to have something to look forward to; The Death Of Damian Wayne! ;D

Which will get followed by a story called "The Return of Damian Wayne" where he will try navigate through time.
BB

#42 Posted by DarthShap (875 posts) - - Show Bio

@xerox_kitty said:

Is there a chance Damian will be killed?

There's always a chance, even if it is slim... Hey, I've got to have something to look forward to; The Death Of Damian Wayne! ;D

Not gonna happen. In the deluxe edition of Batman vs Robin, Morrison made it quite clear that it was out of the question.

Now, Death of Tim Drake is something that I could get behind. :D

#43 Posted by EugeneSaxe (227 posts) - - Show Bio

Sure, kill Robin, there will be a new one in 3 months. Unless the dead one comes back, then it may take a year. And then he may be evil but changeable.

Seriously, articles about death in comics are about as useless as actual deaths in comics. Writer needs a hook? Hey, let's kill someone. Should we bother creating a brand-new character, maybe even give them a whole new schtick, to replace the deceased? Nah, let's raise the dead. Look at Ultimate Spider-Man. "Hey, let's kill Peter and replace him with what amounts to an ethnic clone of Peter." RIGHT DOWN TO HIS ORIGIN! Lazy, unimaginative, and derivative.

#44 Edited by RedOwl_1 (1664 posts) - - Show Bio
#45 Posted by MinkoAk (38 posts) - - Show Bio

@EugeneSaxe said:

Look at Ultimate Spider-Man. "Hey, let's kill Peter and replace him with what amounts to an ethnic clone of Peter." RIGHT DOWN TO HIS ORIGIN! Lazy, unimaginative, and derivative.

I feel the need to answer that part... he's an even younger clone :D That changes everything !

@RedOwl_1 said:

I love/hate Damian, so I think it can be possible, but let's accept it he's training is nothing alike the other Robins (He trained for be a killer not a crime fighter) he'll be hard to kill... very much harder if the rest of the family protect he

The fact is... he does seem quite overconfident, and that might be what gets him killed despite his training you know...

#46 Posted by Hadez (164 posts) - - Show Bio

I see nothing wrong with killing Damien Wayne, hell they killed Jason Todd and now he's back and people actually like him. Kill damien and maybe he'll become cool

#47 Posted by RedOwl_1 (1664 posts) - - Show Bio

@MinkoAk said:

@RedOwl_1 said:

I love/hate Damian, so I think it can be possible, but let's accept it he's training is nothing alike the other Robins (He trained for be a killer not a crime fighter) he'll be hard to kill... very much harder if the rest of the family protect he

The fact is... he does seem quite overconfident, and that might be what gets him killed despite his training you know...

I suppose, all my teachers I had told me that but it never happened....

#48 Posted by Queso6p4 (1432 posts) - - Show Bio

@Danial79 said:

Damian feels like another Jason to me, so I doubt they'd repeat his fate. If anything, I'd say they'll make him into a villain at some point.

Agreed.

It definitely seems that this is more than likely to happen, particularly given the developments in the newest Batman & Robin.

Nice article. I look forward to seeing how the two characters diverge. I personally can't stand Damian's one dimensional nature so I hope he changes soon.

#49 Posted by EscGamer (113 posts) - - Show Bio

Dick Grayson made Robin cool in a team way. He really stood out and came out on top in the New Teen Titans but not so much solo until he became Nightwing. Tim Drake made Robin cool solo wise. He was pretty much a lighter toned small Batman. plus he had pants. I liked the direction Damian was going before Flashpoint and i still like him now but it kinda seems they are just rewriting the same story they wrote before with Damian turning on Batman but with more depth.This time thou he's not fighting against Dick it's Bruce and he really hates Bruce right now. I think he'll probably have some near death experience and have a wake up call

#50 Posted by Or35ti (1101 posts) - - Show Bio

Was the half a billion dollar hit placed on Damian in current DCnU continuity? I think he's waaay too young to die, and that would make Batman a whole lot darker.

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