Is This Really The New Batman And Robin?

Illustration for article titled Is This iReally/i The New Batman And Robin?

This cover to the first chapter of Neil Gaiman's upcoming "Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader?" storyline has been leaked online, and eagle-eyed and paranoid fans are picking apart the details and declaring that this may be the first - or, perhaps, second - ever appearance of an all-new dynamic duo. But is this work worthy of the World's Greatest Detective, or simply jumping to bat - and bad - conclusions?

Illustration for article titled Is This iReally/i The New Batman And Robin?

The image, which is apparently the cover to Batman #685, is drawn by Andy Kubert and colored by Chris Sotomayor, who revealed the image while talking about recent work. The differences in Batman's appearance are exceptionally minor - The bat on his chest is different (and more closely resembles the movie bat emblem), his outfit is gray instead of blue, and he's slimmer than in Kubert's earlier takes on the character - and the difference in Robin even moreso (Essentially, his face is rounder and his hair seems longer), but that's seemingly enough for the assembled internet fanbase, who have decided that these two characters aren't actually Bruce Wayne and Tim Drake. Instead, post Batman RIP, the buzz is that we're looking at a Dick Grayson (Original Robin turned Nightwing) and Damien Wayne (Bruce's illegitimate son from Batman And Son, Grant Morrison's first story in his current Batman run). Is this really the first time we've seen these versions of the characters, though? After all, the very first page of Batman RIP was a flash-forward six months from the rest of the story...

Illustration for article titled Is This iReally/i The New Batman And Robin?

Batman RIP concludes in November with, the solicitation text promises, "an ending you'll never see coming." Unless, that is, a colorist has accidentally let you see it earlier than intended.

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As with Captain America, credit to DC for taking a key character (really, their #1 character) and allowing the status quo to be shaken up. Characters need to be developed, and not suffer an eternal retread. Look at what happened with poor Spider-Man, in an effort to return to the status quo they have effectively ruined the character.

The DC Universe is doing it right by allowing changes to occur, and I am all for it. Batman RIP is strange and quirky, but I'm loving it.