Journey with me into that dark knight–wait, that didn’t sound right. How about: Meanwhile, in Gotham City…! That’s better. Let’s tour the batcave so to speak as I talk about the Batman family of books that I have been reading: Batman, Batman Eternal, Batgirl, Grayson, Gotham by Midnight, and the tiniest of bits about Batman/Superman. Quick Robin! To the podcast!
Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.
Nightwing Annual #2 (2007) by Marc Andreyko (writer), Joe Bennett (penciller), Jack Jadson (inker), Phil Balsman (letterer), Jason Wright (colorist), Rachel Gluckstern (assoc. editor), Joan Hilty (editor), and Bennet and Jadson (cover)
You can probably guess that I like this annual. Batgirl and Robin are on the cover, and the whole story focuses on Bab’s and Dick’s relationship over the years. It starts off with Dick proposing during the Infinite Crisis. Nightwing gets hurt, and Barbara Gordon nurses him back to health. Along the way they reminisce about their adventures together, but the story focuses on their growing feelings for one another. In one scene, Robin confesses his love to a “sleeping” Batgirl. She admits to Dick later that she had waited too long to respond, and he ended up with Koriand’r. After she was shot by the Joker, Dick shows up at her place, they make love, and the Dick tells Barbara that he’s engaged to Kory. Needless to say, Babs isn’t pleased. Also, I know that Dick has had intense feelings for Babs, but to sleep with her when he’s engaged to Kory doesn’t strike me as true to his character–it comes across as a convenient excuse to tear these two apart for a long while. At this point in the story, Batman shows up asking Dick to accompany him and Tim Drake on a world-wide trip to regroup and reconnect (did DC ever publish a story detailing what the Bat family did on that year-long trip?). It’s then that Barbara gives Dick back the engagement ring, telling him to propose after he’s found himself again and when he can fully commit to them. He leaves her a letter and the ring, promising to return to her. The last panel shows Babs looking at the ring and saying that she’s going to hold Dick to that promise. Unfortunately, that never happened. My (dim) recollection is that TPTB at DC never allowed that relationship, and by extension, the marriage to go any further. More’s the pity.
The art on this book is above average. I think the way that they drew Robin was a little too goofy for my taste (and the whole scene of them being trapped in a safe and the resulting shtick of Robin hiding a boner with his cape–come on), plus Robin looked much older than he should have been in the timeline being shown. Barbara, however, is shown very nicely throughout, albeit seemingly one age as well. Perhaps I’m being too critical. After all, this timeline is only about three years from when the two are first shown together in the story and when Kory makes an appearance. I just wish most artists wouldn’t draw teenagers as adults all the time.