Damian Wayne is dead. It was sad. Most of the talk right after his death was “Who should be Robin next?” “How long until we get a new Robin?”. Many looked to the other Bat-Books for possible Robins, and soon realized that the most likely candidates for Robin were in fact female.When readers think about female Robins they either think about Carrie Kelley from Frank Miller’s seminal Dark Knight Returns, or the fan favorite Stephanie Brown, the only true continuity Robin (New 52 aside).
As a female Robin, Stephanie was dealt a bad hand. She was the only Robin to replace Tim , and Batman admitted at one point that he only let Stephanie become Robin so that it would convince Tim to come back. After only a few short issues, Stephanie decided to take on Black Mask to prove her self to Batman, resulting in her “death.” Unlike Jason Todd, no memorial was erected in the Bat Cave in tribute, something fans still gripe about to this day.
We later learned that Stephanie had faked her own death to get away from it all. She then returns to gotham as Spoiler again, and eventually becomes the new Batgirl working with Barbara Gordon. Just when everything was looking up for Stephanie, DC relaunched with the New 52, signalling the end for Ms. Brown. Stephanie hasn’t appeared in a single comic since the Batman Incorporated Leviathan Strikes one-shot, which is pre-New 52, and her character appears to be off-limits for DC writers, and Stephanie will probably not reprise her role as Batman’s sidekick.
So what does all of this mean for our potential new Robin? If a girl becomes Robin again what are the chances of it sticking? Will they get proper treatment from the editorial staff and writers? Is there a greater sense of gender equality in comics now? Either way, lets take a look at the two most likely people to be Robin.
Candidate #1: Harper Row
The other likely candidate is Harper Row. Created by man of the hour Scott Snyder and first appearing in Batman #7 (first full appearance), Harper is quite the intriguing character. Right off the bat (pun intended) Harper is a likable character who first showed up to save Batman during a close call with the Court of Owls, and readers were treated to an expanded origin story in Batman #12. Harper is a true trail-blazer for female characters in the DCU, living a life of independence with her brother and no parents around (father in jail, and a dead mother) sticking up for her homosexual brother Cullen, and trying to provide for both of them by working as an electrical engineer of sorts for Gotham City. Harper is no helpless bimbo. In Batman #18 she goes out crime fighting for the first time and even helps Batman take down a dog fighting ring. Harper is a huge fan of Batman and tries to help him cope with the death of Damian.
So what are the chances of Harper becoming Robin or an associate of Batman? Pretty damn high. Most recently in Detective Comics #21 Harper aids Batman again. Batman and Alfred at the end of the issue discuss how smart and resourceful she is and even compare her to Damian! Scott Snyder is the man with the plan, and there is definitely a big one put in place for Harper.
Candidate #2: Carrie Kelley
Wait? The same Carrie Kelley from The Dark Knight Returns? Yes and no. The Carrie Kelley in Batman and Robin #19 is a new version of the character: a university student who spits Shakespeare quotes and gives Damian acting lessons. Batman and Robin #19 had a big Red Herring with Carrie dressed as Robin on the gatefold leading people to believe that she would be Robin, when in fact she was just at a costume party. Carrie has only appeared in two issues of the new 52, but it seems she is already being set up as an important part of the Bat Family. Damian’s acting tutor, now curious about his whereabouts, is pestering Bruce Wayne for answers. She goes to Wayne Manor to speak with Bruce, and earns herself a job from Alfred taking care of Titus, Damian’s dog. Not much is known about Carrie yet, but we will certainly learn more in the issues to come.
Will Carrie be Robin? Maybe, it seems too stupid to make her Robin because of that cover, but she has all the right qualifications. She is smart, witty, and has good perception skills. She might end up being an Oracle character, but who knows what Peter Tomasi or Snyder has planned?
It is a truly interesting time to read comics when we have the possibility of having a female Robin again. We’ve come a long way from having characters like Batwoman with utility handbags and make-up accessory gadgets, and the disproportionate women of the 90’s to having strong and independent women who can properly handle the mantle of Robin. Lets hope DC has learned from Stephanie Brown and gives someone like Carrie or Harper a chance as The Girl Wonder. This moment shows just how cool Carrie would be as Robin.