Batman can throw Batarangs with deadly accuracy, knows ten ways to break your fibula and can thwart everything from a freeze gun to Joker gas. What he can’t do, however, is seem to keep himself in Robins.
As reported today by the New York Post, Batman is expected to lose his latest Robin – the fifth, by our count – as his latest charge, ten-year-old Damian Wayne (yes, it’s Batman’s son!) takes a hit in an epic battle with Bat-enemy Talia Al Ghul.
Whatever you may think about Time Warner’s DC Comics killing off a ten-year-old boy in this post-Newtown age, the simple face of the matter is that Batman has been putting young kids in danger for decades – and yet, for some reason, is never hauled off to court for these illegal acts.
C’mon, if you put your ten-year-old kid in a wrestling match with a strange man dressed in a costume festooned with question marks or a anthropomorphic killer crocodile, you’d probably be placed in jail by the authorities. Not so Batman. He gets to star in movies and is the focus of multimillion dollar licensing deals that put his likeness on T-shirts and bath soap.
For those of you not familiar with Bat-history, this isn’t the first time Robin has been killed off. In 1988, DC Comics used a telephone poll with readers to determine that Jason Todd, the successor to Dick Grayson, the original Robin (stick with us here, folks), was not liked very much, and as a result, had the Joker cave in his skull with a crowbar. Later on down the road, the fourth Robin, a young woman named Stephanie Brown, was offed in 2004.
If you’re a statistician, young Damian’s death now means that 60% of Batman’s Robins have been killed. If you worked for an insurance company, chances are you’d charge Batman a pretty stiff premium to keep a Robin on the job. Good thing Bruce Wayne is a multimillionaire.
Of course, there’s always a more radical idea: How about keeping the same Robin alive for decades on end? Sure, it would mean DC Comics would have to invest in character development and story ideas rather than quick-hit headline-grabbing craziness to keep readers interested, but it would sure make a lot more sense than having five different Robins and tolerating some nut in a cape and cowl who keeps training kids to play the role with the knowledge that the majority of them will die off in rather violent fashion.
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