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Friday, May 24, 2024

(Another) Death in the Family

So, due to a shortage of staff at my day job and money in my bank account, I’ve just spent a knackering twelve days solid working in the hell that is retail. I come up for air, and apparently Damian Wayne has pegged it.  So what of Batman and Robin? Well, I’ve heard speculative whispers that Stephanie Brown might be making a comeback, which I so badly want to believe because FUCK YES STEPHANIE BROWN. But honestly? I’m having a hard time believing he’s really dead.  Let me explain…

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Batman Incorporated doesn’t feel like canon.

Oh sure, there are vague ties to the rest of the DCU -Red Hood and Damian mention their appearance as Wingman and Redbird in Red Hood and the Outlaws #17, and Damian’s dog Titus puts in cameo appearances in other Bat-titles. It hasn’t escaped my notice, however, that the recent Death of the Family saga included every single title linked to Batman- except Batman Incorporated. It may technically be canon, but if Grant Morrison killed your parents and you refused to read his books as some lame-ass vengeance, there wouldn’t be any colossal gaps in your Bat-experience.

This is pretty much backed up by Morrison himself, who said “via Batman, Batman and Robin, Return of Bruce Wayne and Batman Inc this epic tale has finally reached its finale.”  Basically, it’s technically continuity, but it’s also a direct follow-up to events that have since been retconned out of existence.

 

The spoilers came two days before the event.

I’ve been trying so hard not to make this comparison, I really have. I just wanted you to know that.

We knew something big was going to happen in Spider-Man #700, not just because it’s a milestone issue, but also because the issues leading up to it told us that shit was going to go down. There were postcards in every comic shop telling us that if we missed that issue we would be laughed at by others of our kin for such epic schmucktitude. The writers and artists tweeted about how excited they were and how much they were dreading the fan reaction. The internet was abuzz with speculation.

With the death of Damian, Morrison said in an interview that he was going to die. Now I get the value of under-hyping a major event so it packs more of a wallop when it happens, I do. But, say you read Batman and Robin. You picked up the extra comics relating to Death of the Family but that’s all.  You haven’t seen any of the spoiler articles. You open up the next issue of Batman and Robin and are greeted with a little yellow continuity box:

continuity box

That would suck. That would suck more than a Dyson after a glitter party. You thought I was going to say “your mum”, didn’t you? For shame.

 

Everyone in the DCU is far too busy to care.

Grant Morrison is a wonderful writer and I like Batman Incorporated very much, but it’s pretty much a B-feature. DC is currently, for whatever reason, in the throes of crossover madness, with H’El on Earth, Throne of Atlantis, Rotworld, and the unholy clusterfuck that was The Black Diamond Probability, and of course, Death of the Family. Amongst all that, Batman Incorporated is a blip. A damn fine blip with strong characters and a loyal fanbase, but a blip nonetheless. It would have been better for the story, the characters, and most importantly, comic sales, if Damian were to meet his end at the climax of Death in the Family.

 

It serves no purpose.

Morrison has promised that the repercussions of Damian’s death will be felt throughout the DCU. How? We didn’t need him to die to show he’s a hero, we can already see that- it’s the main reason I’ve warmed to him over the years. As mentioned above, I’m sure the Justice League will feel bad for Bats and send him a wreath and a sympathy card, but they’re dealing with their own traumatic life-altering events right now. The Bat-family grew accustomed to the little whelp, but they went through this once before with Jason; they’ll grieve and move on. The only person who will really take this to heart will be Batman, and come on, would any of us really notice if he got more angsty and brooding?

Unless this causes a drastic change -by which I mean Batman being driven to lethal force- any repercussions will be laughably insignificant.

 I guess there are two ways this can go: I’m right, and everything will be back to normal in a few months, and I will get to do the ‘Told You So’ dance I’ve been practicing for so long; or I’m wrong, and hopefully DC can build it into something that doesn’t make me want to headdesk until I fall into blissful unconsciousness.

 

Laura Maier
Laura Maier
At the time of character creation, Laura Maier made the mistake of putting all her points in charm. While this was probably an unwise decision, it's served her well so far. Her power animal is the platypus.

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