I was contacted by Newsarama.com via Twitter recently and they alerted me to an article they did with Peter Tomasi. The article allays some of my fears that the Batman family of books will quickly abandon the grieving period for Batman. Instead, DC and Tomasi plan to pursue his bereavement is a series of re-titled Batman & Robin books. I'm glad to hear this as this is a period in Batman's life that should go fully explored. You can read Newsarama's article with Peter Tomasi and the link.
It seems that DC comics is sincere in it's sympathy for the now departed Damien Wayne Robin. With each passing issues of the Batman comics we get a full page spread of the "Requiem" homage to Robin signifying its importance to the Batman family comics. (As seen above.)
What troubles me is the recent announcement of the new story arc "Batman: Zero Year" that is to commence this coming June.
Are we done grieving Damien yet?
Is Batman done?
Zero Year promises a new look at the Batman origin story and my first impulse was to emit a low groan. "Not again" I thought to myself. I suppose these things are inevitable. With each passing generation of writers we get an even faster rate of readers that pass from one epoch to another. It is beyond temptation for the Comics industry to remain static and the urge to attract new readership is of economic importance and urgency. Plus, the combined artists get to flex their collective (Bat) wings and tinker with the well worn tales.
Still, with the death of Robin there is much unexplored depth here. As the DC announcement states, the issue of Batman #21 starts the "Zero Year" arc so that means we get at least three precious issue in which to plumb the depths of Batman's grief.
How long has Batman been grieving the loss of his parents? The answer would be his entire life. In fact it his life's work. Are we to see the grief over the loss of his son in a mere three issues before it disappears into the rewriting of history? I have yet to see a solicitation for Batman and Robin #21 for this coming June. So perhaps they have something special in store for us. Either that or it has been suspended pending the outcome of the Zero Year events. That would be a tragedy.
DC would be missing a golden opportunity if it dismisses the death of Robin in one short season. I'd really like them to examine Batman's anguish throughout the Spring and Summer and perhaps into the Fall. That way we'd get at least 9 or 10 issues in which explore the breadth of Batman's sorrow.
We could see how his relationship with Alfred is affected. Perhaps the duties and leadership that Batman brings to the Justice League would be drastically altered. Who's arms would he fall into for solace? Would he seek out Selina Kyle or push her away only to embrace some disposable new love and then toss it away. What of the former Robins? Should one of them return to the Manse to fill the void and provide a steadying influence? Or, would Batman push them aside also and work through his grief in utter isolation.
There should be some awfully large shoes to fill in the wake of Damien's passing but as readers of Batman #18 already know the tryouts have literally begun.
I implore DC Comics and the writers of Batman to exercise some patience. Let the readers share their grief alongside the Caped Crusader. What's the rush? Don't be so dismissive of this fertile and sacrosanct ground. No doubt Damien will be in the heart of Batman for a long time to come much as his parents are. I would just like to see it played out for a greater time.
Next up, Batman and Robin #18 and the Five Stages of Grief