DC Names the New ROBIN... Maybe


Next week's Batman and Red Robin #19 (the temporary re-title is explained later) introduces a new but familiar name to Batman fans to New 52 continuity, but will she be the new Robin?

Carrie Kelley - the young, female Robin from Frank Miller's 1986 graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns - is joining DC Comics’ official New 52 canon.

In a story on the NY Post website Friday morning, the gatefold cover to Batman and Red Robin #19 was revealed, and it shows the surprising - but familiar - face of Carrie Kelley, complete in her Robin costume from the seminal story. The character most recently re-entered the scene in the two-part animated film adaptation of TDKR, but this is her first appearance in modern continuity.


But will she be the new Robin? Well, of course, DC and writer Peter J. Tomasi aren't telling. After the death of the most recent Robin - Damian Wayne - in the pages of Batman, Incorporated #8, the series known as Batman and Robin, starting Wednesday April 10, 2013's issue #19, goes on a cycle of re-naming, teaming Batman with various partners starting with Red Robin and including former sidekick Nightwing and sometimes paramour (and new Justice League of America member) Catwoman. So don't expect Kelley to jump right into the role, even though we will see her jump right into the costume as revealed by what appears to be the title page of the issue (due to the Batman and Red Robin teaser in the corner).

According to NYPost.com's interview with Tomasi, her personality will remain solidly tied to her appearance in TDKR, though she'll be a bit older.

"She's a college kid who's got spunk and speaks her mind,” said Tomasi. “This is not an alternate-earth Robin, this is simply a girl named Carrie Kelley, who we learn knew Damian, which in turn weaves her into the fabric of the DC Universe for the first time in 25 years.”

Given the original campaign for April 2013's covers of the DC New 52 line was called "WTF," some fans may view this as a mere one-off stunt. However, Tomasi assures that is not the case.

“In regards to how long she'll be around, let's just say that it's a helluva lot longer than ‘one issue.’ I've got plans for Carrie that play well into the future.

“It's all real. It's all in continuity. It's all part of the Batman universe in the here and now. Carrie Kelley has found her way into The New 52 and she's here to stay - in what capacity is anybody's guess - except mine of course.”

When Newsarama evaluated possible Robin candidates to replace the recently deceased Damian Wayne, we named Carrie Kelley at #6 out of ten. Kelley was a pioneer of sorts, being the first female Robin, a position since filled by Stephanie Brown in the old DC Universe, and by Helena Wayne, the daughter of Batman and Catwoman in the Earth 2 alternate reality. 

Grant Morrison recently went on record saying that Batman should simply stay solo for awhile, because this most recent Robin death, being his biological son, should be allowed to have its own impact. 

"I wanted to take him to what he was at the start, and it's probably a good idea to just let him run around on his own," said Damian's creator and executioner. Though he leaves the Batman family of titles in June after more than half a decade, his impact will likely remain strong for the forseeable future.

As for the other candidates? Well, Batman's former partners, including Tim Drake aka Red Robin who appears in this issue, are currently on the outs with Bruce Wayne due to the events of the recently completed "Death of the Family" storyline. In the story, Bruce betrayed his entire network of partners and protegés, keeping some damning truths about himself and the Joker from them. Another female candidate, Harper Row, appeared in Batman #18, but the Scott Snyder created character seems to be on the back burner for at least a year, as he and artist Greg Capullo take that title into the bast for a "Zero Year" story revealing Batman's early start in the New 52 universe.

Batman and Red Robin #19 hits stores April 10, 2013.

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