Beard: Robin the Boy Wonder dies — againWritten by Jim Beard | | email@example.com
You may have heard that Robin died recently. That’s right; Batman’s sidekick, that “laughing daredevil,” the kid in the yellow cape and green boots — he kicked the bucket. But, don’t you believe it. You see, it’s a sham. Sort of.
The Robin that died in Batman, Incorporated No. 8 was the fourth Boy Wonder, or fifth technically, if you count the brief time that the Boy Wonder was a girl. Regardless, the deceased sidekick wasn’t the original Robin, Dick Grayson — it was in fact Batman’s son, Damian Wayne. Okay, that may need a bit of explaining. See, Dick grew up in the 1980s and took on the name “Nightwing” and since that time we’ve had a small parade of other kids take on the colorful mantle of Robin. The second of them, Jason Todd, proved so violently unpopular with readers that they voted through a 1-900 phone survey for DC Comics to kill him.
True story. Made national news.
So, after the third Robin, Tim Drake, and that girl, Stephanie Brown, along came Damian, created by uber-writer Grant Morrison more than six years ago now. The progeny of Bruce Wayne and Talia, daughter of one of Batman’s greatest enemies, Damian was grown in a test tube and deposited unceremoniously on Bruce’s doorstep. We were told that Morrison’s goal, from the beginning, was to wrap up the story with Damian’s death, and so he did. And, once again, Robin’s demise made national news.
How did this frankly weird fascination with killing Robins begin? One might look to a 1963 story called “Robin Dies at Dawn” for its odd origin. There had been other brushes with comic book death for the Dynamic Duo before that, of course, but that particular saga — a moody tale of Batman’s experiment with sensory deprivation — struck a sick chord with fans … including a young Grant Morrison. After that, a procession of stories and covers spotlighting a bruised, battered and at-death’s-door Boy Wonder has become something of a bizarre tradition among comic book cognoscenti.
In other words, don’t cry for Robin, Toledo — he was never supposed to be immortal. The Boy Wonder’s destined to die at dawn, again and again and again.