What I'm Reading: Batman and Robin #19
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
The issues following in the Requiem arc all follow along the lines of Batman dealing with the death of his son, this issue introduces a surprising bit of fan service in the form of a plucky red-head. Perhaps green eyed red headed gingers are the sexy/in thing at the moment, I mean I was completely enamored by Karen Gillan as the Doctor's companion and Christina Hendricks is an absolute showstopper on Mad Men. Whatever the reasons being, I'm glad that DC decided to introduce this most unlikely of characters to the New 52 continuity... enter Carrie Kelley... perhaps as the next Robin?
The issue starts with an unnamed girl in a car, after a bit of an exchange with a particular brand of douchebag, this same unnamed girl ends up on the doorstep of Wayne manor, dropping off some what look like DVDs for Damian. Unbeknownst to her, Damian is already dead and unbeknownst to Bruce, he had no clue that Damian was seeing her regularly for whatever reason. She never really reveals her name, signing the note only with a "CK" (if it wasn't obvious enough). This exchange Bruce has with the (technically) unnamed red-head is brief, he heads to a party where she answers the door dressed in a "Robin" costume, looks like a Superhero themed house party. Bruce drops off a check and promptly tries to leave while this (technically) unnamed red-head is rushing to an upstairs room to inquire from the window "where's Damian?" They simply drive off.
It's the second half of this issue that really grips me and has long been a moment I was waiting to see post Batman Incorporated #8. Bruce is falling apart and the death of his son has brought him to edge of desperation. Another unexpected cameo in this issue is Frankenstein of S.H.A.D.E., if you don't know who he is I'm linking a handy dandy Wikipedia entry for you to get in the relative know. Bruce becomes so desperate that he kidnaps Frankenstein and begins taking him apart in an attempt to reverse engineer what brings him to life. It's a crazy notion, but what else can drive a man to the brink of madness like forcing to watch his son's death? You can't blame Bats too much for it, but he does have a knack for pushing away the people closest to him during his darkest of days.
A worried Alfred enlists the aid of Tim Drake, Red Robin, to help find Bruce and figure out what he's up to. A scene that really exemplifies the kind of desperate man Bruce Wayne has become, shows a largely dismembered Frankenstein (still relatively "alive" and speaking) on an operating table with Batman holding the scalpel. Red Robin tries to talk him down, get him to stop falling down this rabbit hole of madness and desperation, when Bruce refuses to listen, he destroys the lab and all the samples he was working on. I know Batman generally doesn't smile (well, at least not like golden age) but his perm-grumpy cat face seems to persist throughout most of this issue... then again, his son died so a grumpy cat face or two is forgiven.
The issue closes with the (technically) unnamed red-head hanging out with a friend, waxing a bit about Damian Wayne and her brief meeting with Bruce Wayne. It's at this point she becomes officially named and (surprise surprise) she's Carrie Kelley. This was a surprising issue and I really enjoyed reading it! Being a big fan of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns I *squeee'd* with delight when I saw the full cover. I'm hoping that this isn't the last we see of the cute redheaded girl. Here's hoping she's the next Robin?