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Robin Watch: Harper Row Gets It Right

Welcome to a new, ongoing feature here at Henchman-4-Hire! By now we all know that the most recent Robin, Damian Wayne, died in the heat of battle. And so for the first time since the late 80s, Batman is without a Robin. But like how chocolate needs peanut butter and peanut butter needs jelly, Batman needs a Robin, so it’s only a matter of time before a new hero rises into that iconic role.

Being the huge Robin fan that I am, I’m going to cover the ongoing search for a new Robin. Whether it happens in the comics themselves or maybe interviews with the writers and creators, I’m going to stay on the front lines of Batman journalism – which, of course, is the best kind of journalism.

Let’s kick things off with this week’s Batman #18, one of the first comics to deal with the fallout of Damian’s death. Writer Scott Snyder has taken the curious tactic of having the issue star Robin frontrunner Harper Row as she tries to help a grieving Batman.

With an butt-kicking

I was a big fan of this issue, and my full review will go up on Saturday with the rest of the Hench-Sized reviews. But first I want to explore this issue for the ways in which it pushes Harper ever closer to becoming the  new Robin. I recently wrote several articles about this subject, both on why I fully support Harper as the new Robin, as well as the criteria that goes into picking a successful new Robin.

Suffice to say, in this issue, Harper Row gets everything right.

Join me after the jump to see what I mean.

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Superman Unchained is the Stupidest Name of All Time

Do you remember a few months ago when DC started hinting at a new Superman series written by Scott Snyder and drawn by Jim Lee? At the time, the comic was rumored to be called ‘Man of Steel’ to coincide with the big movie of the same name.

Instead, DC have revealed that the new comic will instead be called ‘Superman Unchained’ – quite possibly the most ridiculous name ever.

Unchained

Here is the announcement article at USA Today. Reading that article makes me question – and not for the first time – what the hell even goes on at the DC editorial offices. According to Snyder and Lee – who, don’t get me wrong, are two of the biggest talents in comics today – the series is going to be like every other Superman series ever. It’s going to star Superman as a superhero and include his supporting cast, like Lois Lane. There doesn’t seem to be any special gimmick or pull or reason for the series to exist.

What the hell is the ‘Unchained’ even supposed to signify? Is every cover going to feature him breaking out of chains? And why chains? Since when has Superman ever been chained or had a problem with chains?

Why not call it ‘Man of Steel’ like the freakin’ movie!?

What about the comics already being published, Superman and Action Comics? Why not just put Snyder and Lee on one of those series? There’s no way Superman is going to be able to support three ongoing series. Batman can barely pull it off, and Superman is no Batman.

Speaking of which, DC is also bringing back the Superman/Batman team-up book, because they want to make money. Comics like Hawkman and Blue Beetle are being cancelled to make way for even more Superman and Batman comics. This is the future of comics from the Big Two publishers, people. Soon all we’ll see are Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and Wolverine comics, with other characters only appearing in team-up books.

Still, Superman Unchained is a stupid name and it just seems to me like DC is shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to Superman and Action Comics.

Is Damian Wayne Going to Die?

Is DC Comics going to kill Robin in an upcoming issue of Batman Incorporated?

There’s no official word yet. This is all just speculation. But if you read the signs, read between some lines and maybe jump to a few conclusions, it looks to me like DC plans to kill a 10-year-old boy!

Though he is kind of a jerk

Damian Wayne is the son of Bruce Wayne and his enemy Talia al Ghul. He was created by superstar writer Grant Morrison and introduced in Batman #655 in 2006. Talia raised the boy in secret and trained him in the ways of the League of Shadows. But when Damian finally met his father for the first time, he switched sides and became the new Robin. You know, of Batman and Robin fame? Damian had a lot of rough edges, but he made for a compelling protagonist. Here’s a kid who was raised to be a killer, but he wants so badly to do good and make his father proud as Robin.

But is he now doomed?

I’ve never been particularly happy with Damian as Robin. He stole the mantle from the previous Robin, Tim Drake, who is one of my favorite comic book characters. But Damian has grown on me. He’s had a lot of good stories and he’s definitely been coming into his own lately as the Boy Wonder. Still, the evidence is pretty strong. Join me after the jump to see for yourself.

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