WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR MOST OF BATMAN COMIC HISTORY
You know that world famous orphan whose parents were murdered in front of him and who went on become the scourge of Gotham? No, not Bruce Wayne – who’s he? We’re talking about Dick Grayson, of course.
Dick Grayson, the original Robin, Batman’s ever-faithful sidekick. That is until he went solo and became Nightwing. Then we had Jason Todd – new Robin, same backstory – and then he was voted to death by blood-hungry fans, cueing A Death in the Family. Then Todd was not dead. Then not dead for a different reason. Next came Tim Drake, who wanted to follow in Batman’s footsteps until he quit. Stephanie Brown, Drake’s girlfriend, was the first female Robin until she was captured and murdered by Black Mask before having her entire existence retconned. Most recently, Damian Wayne, son of Talia al Ghul and Bruce, took up the mantle, becoming Robin to Dick Grayson, who had temporarily taken over the role of Batman. Bruce returned and Damian became Red Bird, that is until his death in Batman: Incorporated #8.
Now it seems Carrie Kelley, Batman’s sidekick in Frank Miller‘s non-canonical The Dark Knight Returns is to don the R in Batman and Red Robin #19, due out on April 10th.
Kelley was a 13 year-old schoolgirl when she saved an elderly Batman from a group of Mutants. Batman, who had returned from retirement that night, took her on as his sidekick, confronting The Joker and even taking on Superman. She helped Batman fake his death, and, within three years, by the time of The Dark Knight Strikes Again, had carved out her own identity as Catgirl, training an army of “Batboys” to take on Lex Luthor and Brainiac’s tyrannical world regime. She was almost killed by a now homicidal Dick Grayson at which point she declared her (apparently filial) love for Bruce.
As things go, that’s not a bad pedigree, whether or not it’s canon. On which note, writer Peter Tomasi has said, “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.” Tomasi warns that Kelley isn’t “exactly” the new Robin, but that he has “plans for her that play well into the future.”
Regardless of her particular assignation, no characters apart from Alfred have had as big an impact on Batman as his proteges. While we’re sure Earth-31 will miss her, we at AP2HYC are happy to welcome Carrie Kelley into the mainstream.