Damian may be dead, but he won’t stay that way if Batman can help it. Batman and Robin begins anew with Batman getting a different member of the Bat-Family filling-in for the recently departed Robin. That doesn’t mean you can classify Batman and Red Robin #19 as a team-up by even the loosest definition of the term.
Overcome with grief Batman has sought out Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. in an attempt to learn what keeps the undead creature alive and find a way to resurrect his son. It’s certainly an unexpected cameo, and the first time we’ve seen the New 52 version of the Dark Knight driven to such extremes. That said, the story worked for me (especially as the New 52 has been vague about both the existence and Batman’s knowledge of Lazarus Pits leaving that option, at least for now, off the table).
Carrie Kelley, the young woman who would become Robin in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns is given new life as a Gotham City College student who had been tutoring Damian before his death. Bruce is unlikely to forget his first face-to-face meeting with the spunky young woman as she opens her door dressed in a Robin costume.
Although I’m still a bit surprised why DC would introduce someone like Carrie (who was never meant to fit in Batman’s “present” rather than someone like Stephanie Brown who could just have easily fit the bill), the scenes with Ms. Kelley work well and I’ll be interested to see where the comic decides to take the character from here. Is she just a red herring, or, as the cover suggests, the next partner for Batman?
Red Robin gets the short-end of the stick here. Despite his name in the title, Tim is relegated to little more than a cameo in which he has no more luck talking sense into his mentor than the partially dissected Frankenstein’s monster. It will be interesting to see, given the mixed reaction DC has gotten to Grant Morrison killing off Damian, how long the Bat-books might play with the idea of bringing the character back, in one form or another. Worth a look.