cover of Batman and Robin # 5
When DC comics killed off the character Bruce Wayne, who has been Batman’s secret identity since 1940, there was much speculation as to what would happen to the sales of the numerous Gotham City based titles that DC is currently publishing. But, in Madison, speculation is no longer needed. Batman titles have been selling very well. For two weeks in a row a Batman title has topped Westfield Comics weekly best sellers list. The best selling comic three weeks ago was issue number five of the new series Batman and Robin, wrote by Grant Morrison. And two weeks ago the best seller was issue three of the three part mini-series Blackest night: Batman, wrote by Peter J. Tomasi (last weeks best sellers will be revealed early this week.)
So, if Bruce Wayne is dead, who is Batman? Well, after a long storyline called Battle for the Cowl, which was released earlier this year, the first, and most well known Robin, Richard Grayson gave up being the superhero Nightwing and reluctantly took over as Batman. Reluctantly because Dick Grayson believed that Batman should die with Bruce Wayne, but after a prolonged absence of Batman, Gotham City’s criminals became emboldened and Gotham became more dangerous. It was obvious that the icon of Batman was needed to keep the criminals in line through fear.
Now, Grayson has the daunting task of convincing Gotham’s criminal underground that he is the original Batman. This is no easy task considering the extreme differences in the two Batman’s personalities. Bruce Wayne was a confident, strong, silent type, and Dick Grayson is a neurotic, loud-mouthed, joker.
Another compelling conflict to the new Batman’s storyline is the relationship between the new Batman and the new Robin, Damian Wayne. Damian Wayne is the 10-year old biological son of Bruce Wayne, who was just recently united with his Father before his Father’s death. Damian’s Mother is Talia Al Ghul, daughter of long time rival to Batman, Ra's Al Ghul. Damian was raised by the League of Assassins, a ruthless and loveless group led by Ra's Al Ghul. Damian is resentful of Grayson trying to replace his Father, and is very cocky and confrontational, and shows Grayson little respect.
Damian Wayne, illustration by Frank Quitely