For those in the comic book know, you'll be familiar with the fact that Bruce Wayne/Batman has had a son for a few years now, Damian Wayne. Although things have been rocky with said son considering his upbringing before being introduced to his father was at the hands of a league of assassins, he eventually filled the boots of the current Robin. And he fights alongside his father in an effort to protect Gotham City and at times the whole world. And this was all the doing of writer, Grant Morrison. Now, it seems that Morrison is going to be killing off the very character which he introduced (although there was a much earlier story of the conception of a son by the same two parents from a different writer decades before).
The writer claims that this had been his intention all along and that it was not as a result of a mandate by DC comics in any way. Maybe that's true, but I doubt I'm alone in thinking that that's a bit hard to swallow considering the company's some would say reckless and shameless efforts at anything which might bring in new readership. Now, some would say that its only natural that a business would want to bring in new customers and it makes good business sense. However, I would point out that there are few industries with the kind of long term following as comic books. Although readership is undeniably down in recent years due in great portion to the internet age which we now live in, there have always been loyal fans and in my opinion, what those fans needed to bring them back was good writing and not gimmicks. However, gimmicks are just what DC has delivered, virtually wiping the continuity of the entirety of DC comics for the past three decades clean and starting from scratch with their "New 52" brand. Its not the first time they've done what comics fans term retconning, but it may be the worst ever. While there were many DC books which were floundering in their sales, there were some pretty big exceptions. Most notably were probably the majority of the Batman related books and the Green Lantern books. So, to try and keep a good run with those books, they pretty much decided to keep most of that continuity which in reality makes things even more confusing for the fictional universe as a whole, because the characters they kept the same had had many dealings and important events with the ones they didn't. So, what did and didn't happen? And as you begin to struggle with that question, you can probably start to see why so many long term fans said farewell to the company not long after the gimmick had lost it's luster.
Flash forward to present day and we have the death of Robin. Again, Morrison claims this was all his own idea. Maybe so, but I for one am not happy about it. The news I read about this said something about the parents which in this case would be Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul being at fault and all their fighting was bad for their kid yadda yadda yadda. So, its supposed to be some kind of lesson about how to behave around your kids I guess. But that's not what kids need to be reading and adults shouldn't need a comic book to tell them that either. I think that some times Morrison gets confused about what medium he's actually writing for. To add to all of that, there is of course the event which took place something like twentyfive years ago now with The second Robin, Jason Todd, being killed by the Joker. So, not only is this in potentially bad taste and almost definitely a gimmick, but its also one that's been done before. I know that there's no changing what this company and writer are going to do at this point, but I encourage anyone who's thinking of buying this issue and any of the subsequent tie ins that I'm sure they're going to have to reconsider on the grounds that if you're truly a comic book fan and you want quality, you need to let your wallet do the talking and tell these people we won't stand for this crap anymore. And one last thing, maybe its idealistic of me, but I grew up in a time where heroes in movies and comic books were our outlet from the rest of the world. Some people never understood that and looked down on those who read comics and such. Too bad for them. They don't get it. Yes there are real life heroes like fire fighters and emergency workers, etc., but that doesn't change the need for a Batman and Robin. And Batman and Robin don't die. End of story.
Its too often that these comic book writers and editors too for that matter don't take into account what their jobs really are. Over in Japan, their comics are done differntly. Typically the creator of a given comic will stay on that book untill the story is DONE and that can me several years of work resulting in hundreds of chapters in a given series, but they don't let that character go to someone else. Here, we have characters that have been around and staid vital in the public mind since the 1930s for crying out loud. One comic book creator whose name escapes me at the moment once said that to be a comic book writer in America is different than being a writer in any other field, because you have a responsibility to a legacy in the cases of characters such as Batman, Superman, Wonderwoman, etc. You can tell good stories and be creative, but there are certain things you don't mess with about the core of those characters, because what you really are is a custodian taking the reigns of a title for a fixed amount of time and holding the place till the next writer comes along. Its kind of like being a doctor in that your number one priority is to "Do no harm". Yet in the pursuit of the almighty dollar, there are those who forget or purposely throw that concept away. At least the first time DC did this, they took a vote from the general readership. Where is our vote now?