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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.

He’s definitely got the ‘Robin is a badass’ part down

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.

His answer?

“Well, uh, yeah.”

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.

Fists of sidekick justice!

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.

I do not, sorry. My crossword skills have never been strong

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!

If it’s not clear yet, I would love a Duke Thomas Robin!

Though I’m not a big fan of the Iron Robin armor, personally.

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Review: Teen Titans – Futures End #1

If this is what the Teen Titans comic looks like five years from now, then everything I have ever done with my life has been for naught. Every dream I have ever had about writing comics, every review I’ve typed up about this series, every fiber of my very being, will have been for nothing! If this year’s DC September Gimmick were a true crystal ball into the future, then I would know that I accomplish nothing with my life, and that everything is terrible. Teen Titans – Futures End #1 is the blandest, dumbest and most tone-deaf comic I have yet to read in this series. And it’s a beautiful reminder why I’m not spending very much money at all on this stupid gimmick.

Teen Titans – Futures End #1

If this is indeed the future of the Teen Titans, then I should have abandoned ship a long time ago. This was the last thing writer Will Pfeifer needed two issues into his relaunch.

Comic Rating: 3/10 – Bad.

I have been more than willing to give Pfeifer a chance with his relaunch. I’ve even been somewhat positive in my reviews of his first two issues. But forcing him to take an immediate detour into crapsville only two issues in? That’s harsh, DC, really harsh. I can only hope my review reaches Teen Titans fans in time: don’t buy this comic! Unless you’re super in love with all this Futures End stuff, don’t waste your time, money, energy or any flecks of your soul that might be sacrificed by reading this pile of cream-colored aluminum siding.

This Futures End issue has nothing to do with the regular Teen Titans comic. Unless it’s hidden somewhere in the background. Or an Algorithm cameo counts. Instead, this issue is far more concerned with whatever weird plots DC is doing with Futures End, mostly involving Earth 2. I don’t know and I don’t care. This issue has about as much to do with the Teen Titans as last year’s gimmick, which was basically one long ode to the power of rape. I almost think Pfeifer might have whipped this script out in an afternoon to fulfill his contract or something. At least I hope that’s the case. I really hope this isn’t an indication of where he’s taking the series.

The issue is about six random characters coming together as lazily as possible to stop a bad guy, and then calling themselves the ‘Teen Titans’ at the end. That’s it. I just saved you all the embarrassment of reading it.

But seeing as how I’m a glutton for punishment, I might as well continue on with my usual synopsis/review. Join me after the jump!

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Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 5/10/14

It is with a heavy heart that I announce that I am throwing in the towel of doing full, giant-sized reviews of All-New X-Factor. I got hit with a lot of work at the end of this week, including those reviews of Teen Titans and Ultimate Spider-Man, and I took a long hard look at All-New X-Factor and decided that I just didn’t care enough anymore. I started the long-form reviews for X-Factor because it was my favorite comic starring my favorite character, but it has since become a shadow of its former self.

So from now on, let’s welcome All-New X-Factor to our Hench-Sized Reviews! I hope it finds the place a nice fit.

Beyond that new issue, this week brought an avalanche of good comics, some of which I had to simply skip right over due to time constraints. I really want to get back to reviewing Black Widow, and She-Hulk was really good again, but this week I had to focus on the first chapters of Original Sin and Futures End, the new Big Event comics from Marvel and DC.

Neither one is all that great, quite frankly.

Comic Book of the Week goes to Magneto #3, though I have a feeling that some of the comics still on my pile waiting to be read might be a little better. Still, out of the stack I managed to get done in time for reviews, Magneto was pretty cool.

Plus he’s got that starring role coming up in X-Men: Days of Future Past. So I want to be on his good side.

Comic Reviews: All-New X-Factor #7, Aquaman and the Others #2, Batman Eternal #5, Futures End #1, Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #2, Magneto #3 and Original Sin #1.

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