Robin Watch: Robin of the Future!
Late last year, there was a bit of a kerfuffle on the Internet about the possibility of a black Robin, based on preview art drawn by Sean Murphy for Batman #27. I didn’t write about it at the time because the drawing was a single image for an ‘imaginary future’, and didn’t hold any importance to canon.
Or so I thought at the time! Looks like I’m eating crow now!
Check out Robin from the Futures End issue of Batman and Robin, which came out this week.
Set five years in the future, the issue is about Batman battling Heretic to see if he is indeed a clone of Damian Wayne. Batman has Alfred send the new Robin out on various crime-fighting errands to keep him from interfering (and possibly dying at Heretic’s hands), but Alfred eventually disobeys orders and sends Robin to rescue Batman when the Dark Knight gets his butt whooped. It’s a pretty cool Robin story.
But is it just pretend?
Even though these Futures End comics are also just ‘imaginary futures’, there’s still the possibility that a kernel of truth exists in what we’re reading. The writer of the issue, Ray Fawkes, gave an interview to Newsarama where they asked him if this new Robin is part of the current Batman plans, considering Fawkes is also part of the creative team on Batman Eternal.
Obviously he can’t go into more detail than that, but clearly this future Robin might be more of a reality than any of us yet realize.
The Robin in question is Duke Thomas, the kid that helped Batman during the Zero Year. Remember him? Duke made a very brief appearance, having sheltered Batman while he recovered from his injuries. Then he spent the rest of his time trying to come up with a riddle to defeat the Riddler.
It was such a small role, and I was actually a little surprised that nothing more was done with the kid. He gives Batman a hand, wishes him good luck, and then we don’t see him again for the rest of Zero Year.
Perhaps because that appearance was only supposed to introduce him. His story wasn’t going to be told in Zero Year, because Duke Thomas’ story will be told elsewhere.
Duke was about 10 or so in Zero Year, wouldn’t you say? And Zero Year took place 5-6 years prior to present-day Batman comics, which would make Duke a teenager today, the perfect age to become Robin. Except in Futures End, set 5 years into the future, Duke says he only became Robin “two years ago”, which wouldn’t link up to Bruce picking Duke in the present day. Not that that timeframe matters all that much.
I don’t know if any of this is true, or if any of it will go anywhere. But clearly there’s a new, awesome candidate for the new Robin in 2015!
Though I’m not a big fan of the Iron Robin armor, personally.