– don't read any further unless you want to have a major character death spoiled for you!
You've been warned.
Okay, now that this is out of the way, as The New York Post reported Monday
and is official as of today's release of Batman, Inc. #8, Damien Wayne is dead.
DC has a legacy of teen (and in the case of Damien pre-teen) sidekicks that dates all the way back to the Golden Age. It's sort of a staple for many of its heroes, particularly with the company's emphasis on legacy. Some are there under the pretense of being a protégé, groomed to take over the mantle of the hero when s/he retires. Others are there simply to lend a helping hand. A few are just…well, there. But almost all of them rank as some of our favorite comic book characters, period.
In memory of Damien Wayne, we'd like to take a look at our Five Favorite Sidekicks in Superhero Comics
.ROBIN (all versions) -Hero: Batman
We'd be remiss in not starting this list off with Robin. Not only because it was the impetus for the piece, but because the role of Robin is all but synonymous with the word "sidekick."
There have been numerous versions over the years. The original, Dick Grayson, is still kicking around as Nightwing and for a brief period took over the role of Batman when Bruce Wayne "died" (he was actually temporally displaced).
Dick Grayson was eventually replaced by Jason Todd, who was initially popular but then became decidedly less so when he was reimagined after "Crisis on Infinite Earths" in 1985. DC Comics announced a 1-900 phone poll for fans to call in and choose whether he should live or die, and the result was Todd's death at the hands of The Joker. He was often touted as one of the few deaths in comics that was considered permanent…until he was brought back as The Red Hood in 2005.
After a few years, a new Robin by the name of Tim Drake appeared. Unlike his predecessor, he was embraced as the new gold standard for sidekicks. He was also the first and thus far only Robin that was more of a detective in the vein of Batman himself, getting the role after he became one of the few people to figure out that Bruce Wayne is Batman. In 2009 he struck out on his own as Red Robin.
Tim Drake was briefly replaced by The Spoiler, Stephanie Brown, who was killed during the "War Games" crossover. At times DC has said that she was never officially considered Robin, but that tune seems to have changed in recent years. Stephanie Brown was eventually revealed as surviving her apparent death. She became Batgirl for a spell and had her own monthly title, which ended after 24 issues.
That leads us to Damien Wayne, a creation of Grant Morrison. Damien was the lovechild of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, referencing a story from 1989 that revealed Talia had an infant child but had been subsequently left out of continuity. Having been raised by the League of Assassins, Damien struggled with his morality and often crossed the line into killing and maiming his enemies, including peeling off the face of The Joker.
We'd be remiss in not mentioning Carrie Kelley, the new Robin that appears in the seminal Frank Miller story "The Dark Knight Returns." She only survived within that mini-series and it's (objectively not nearly as good) sequel, but she remains one of the most interesting characters in comics history.
Got all that?ARTHUR -Hero: The Tick
The first iteration of Speedy, Roy Harper, was an orphan. When Green Arrow saw Roy at an archery competition he was judging, he became impressed with the boy's aim and even more impressed when he helped him thwart a robbery.
Like Robin, Roy eventually became a ward to his hero. But unlike Robin, he left the hero game behind to join a band and became a drug addict. The story was a first for DC and highly controversial for its time. He eventually went clean and became a hero again, alternately operating as both Red Arrow and Arsenal.
The second Speedy, Mia Dearden, emerged from a troubled and abusive childhood to become a student of Connor Hawke (who himself had a brief run as Green Arrow). She took on the mantle of Speedy and badgered Green Arrow to take her on as his sidekick. Unfortunately he still carried guilt from what happened to the original Speedy and repeatedly turned down her offer. Eventually, he relented.
The character gained some attention from the mainstream media when it was revealed she was HIV positive.
Sidekicks come and go, and then come back. The only constant seems to be that they are continually used despite the insanity in putting a child at risk. Not that it bothers us as fans. We put aside then human beings can't fly and bend steel, so it's not like they're asking too much of us.
Besides, they've resulted in some of the greatest comic characters of all time.
And be sure to visit AllAccessWeekly.spike.com
next Tuesday for a video interview with the cast of 21 and Over
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