After the “Death of the Family” crossover series, there were some readers who were disappointed that there wasn’t an actual death. The events building up to Batman #17 — the finale to the dark Joker storyline — created certain expectations among fans that may or may not have been met, depending on the reader.
However, as fans reflected on how “Death of the Family” ended and readers were certain DC Comics was not actually going to kill anyone off, writer Grant Morrison dropped a bomb of his own: he killed Damian Wayne.
It wasn’t a secret going into Batman Incorporated #8 what Morrison was going to do since the cover literally spelled it out, “R.I.P.,” under an image of Robin. Still, what seemed odd was that, on the surface, it appeared there was no real build up to it.
Except, to some degree, there was.
People were confused why writers would reveal just how much Damian Wayne meant to Bruce in Batman and Robin #17 and then give him the proverbial axe in the next issue of Batman Incorporated. That was the lead in.
Damian’s death reverberated throughout the titles of Gotham City heroes, but more importantly, it was the catalyst to Batman being driven to the deepest point of despair, rage, and desperation fans have seen of the Dark Knight.
Batman and Robin #20, titled “Batman and Red Hood,” shows just how far Batman is willing to go to get Damian back. The effect his actions have on the reader is likely to vary since this a side of the Caped Crusader fans are not accustomed to.
The issue ups the ante in terms of emotion as Bruce Wayne turns to Jason Todd for help, but what Batman expects of his former partner will force both men to face their demons.
The question “Batman and Red Hood” raises in the minds of readers is, where does Batman go from here? The trust of those closest to him was already cracked by the events in “Death of the Family,” but is Batman willing to shatter that trust completely to get his son back?
Fans may be treated to a title with each of Batman’s former partners and closest allies. In June, “Batman and Batgirl” will hit comic book stores, followed by “Batman and Catwoman” in July. If “Batman and Red Hood” is any indication of where the title is going, each of these issues will take Batman to a new level of desperation and grief.
It has already been revealed that Carrie Kelley will eventually assume the role of Robin. Kelley is known as the Robin who replaced Jason Todd after he was killed by the Joker and Batman went into retirement. When Batman returned, he saved her from a gang of thugs and she later returned the favor in The Dark Knight Returns.
Carrie Kelley was introduced into the New 52 universe in Batman and Robin #19, “Batman and Red Robin,” as a college student and Damian Wayne’s dance/acting instructor. Now that Damian is gone, Carrie Kelley will remain close to Bruce Wayne as she takes responsibility for Damian’s dog, Titus.