By Henry Hanks, (CNN) — Tough times are ahead for the Dark Knight.
DC Comics announced on Monday that Damian Wayne, Batman’s current sidekick, will die in Wednesday’s Batman, Incorporated #8.
Having taken on the role of Robin since 2006 (and at the age of ten), Damian is not just the latest character to go by that altar ego (the fifth, for those counting). He’s also Bruce Wayne’s son.
Writer Grant Morrison introduced the concept that Bruce had a son he never knew in recent years in the “Batman” comic books.
It turns out that the Joker’s recent kidnapping and torture of Batman’s “family” (including all of the previous Robins) was just a prelude to this.
In a statement, Morrison said, “This master theme of damaged and ruined families was nowhere more in evidence than in the creation of Damian, the first ‘Son of Batman’ to be acknowledged in the canon. In many ways this has been Damian’s story as much as it has been the story of Bruce Wayne and it’s a story that had its end planned a long time ago — for what son could ever hope to replace a father like Batman, who never dies?”
Morrison considers this story to be the finale of a years-long Bat-epic in which he explored nearly every aspect of the character.
Damian is not the first Robin to die, however. The second Robin, Jason Todd, died in a controversial 1988 story where readers called in to vote on the Boy Wonder’s fate. (Jason was resurrected eight years ago.)
Reaction on Twitter to the announcement was mostly negative, though Damian certainly had his share of critics.
Those mourning Damian’s loss may take solace in Morrison’s response to the New York Post when asked if Damian might also return: “You can never say never in a comic book… Batman will ultimately always have a partner.”