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Robin and Batman Cover Reinvents A Death in the Family’s Heartbreaking Scene

Robin & Batman #3, by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen, features a cover homage to “A Death in the Family” — but with Robin cradling Batman’s body.

An upcoming cover for the final issue of Robin & Batman homages a particularly evocative moment in Batman history — the landmark ’80s event “A Death in the Family.”

Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, Robin & Batman #3, which goes on sale next January, features a cover showing the first Robin, Dick Grayson, cradling his battered and bruised mentor. The issue teases a violent conflict with Killer Croc, and the composition of the cover bears a resemblance to longtime Batman artist Jim Aparo’s trade paperback cover of “A Death in the Family,” showing Batman holding the deceased body of the second Robin, Jason Todd.

Originally running in Batman Issues #426 – #429, which were released in 1988 and 1989, “A Death in the Family” killed the second Boy Wonder. Jason Todd was lagging in popularity at the time, despite efforts to reinvent him in the aftermath of DC’s mid-’80s company-wide reboot, Crisis on Infinite Earths. Focusing on Jason’s quest to find his birth mother, “A Death in the Family” reached its apex with his death. The story, written by Jim Starlin and penciled by Aparo, achieved notoriety for a phone poll that DC set up, asking fans to determine the fate of Jason through a phone poll.

Rumors have long swirled around the stunt, with some claiming that the majority of calls to kill Jason came from a single person. Nevertheless, “A Death of the Family” went on to be a pivotal entry in Batman lore. The image of a mournful Batman carrying Jason’s body has remained iconic, even after Jason Todd’s rebirth as Red Hood in writer Judd Winick’s 2004-2005 story arc “Under the Hood.”

The decision to reference “A Death in the Family” on the cover of Robin & Batman #3 may be due to the book’s emphasis on the first Robin’s early difficulties. The series has been promoted as a “Year One”-style look at Dick Grayson’s growing pains, including his struggle to survive on the job and avoid disappointing his mentor – an inner conflict that Jason Todd would always grapple with, and ultimately fail at.

Robin & Batman #1 releases on Nov. 9. Issue 2 goes on sale Dec. 15, and Issue 3 completes the story on Jan. 11.

ROBIN & BATMAN #3

  • Written by JEFF LEMIRE
  • Art and cover by DUSTIN NGUYEN
  • Variant cover by RAFAEL ALBUQUERQUE
  • $5.99 US | 40 pages | 3 of 3 | Prestige
  • ON SALE 1/11/22
  • To reconcile his trauma and move toward an optimistic future, Dick Grayson must first confront his tragic past. Unfortunately, that step includes a confrontation with an enraged Killer Croc, who is out for Grayson blood! This action-packed issue concludes the epic tale of a young man learning to live and love in a nightmarish world.
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