‘Robin Rises': Peter J. Tomasi on one-shot, ‘Batman and Robin’ 33
The "Robin Rises: Omega" one-shot arrives July 16. It's written by Peter J. Tomasi, with art by Andy Kubert and Jonathan Glapion. It will be $4.99. Cover by Kubert. (DC Entertainment)Link
"Batman and Robin" No. 33, written by Peter J. Tomasi, with art by Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray, will follow on July 23. It will be $2.99. Cover by Gleason and Gray. (DC Entertainment)Link
"Batman and Robin: Born to Kill" is the first volume of writer Peter J. Tomasi and artist Patrick Gleason's series. The creative team has been on the title since the New 52 launched in 2011, and Tomasi says "Robin Rises" has seeds planted back in this opening arc. (DC Entertainment)Link
Peter J. Tomasi edited Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver's landmark 2004-2005 story "Green Lantern: Rebirth," which brought back Hal Jordan. (DC Entertainment)Link
Fans of the late Damian Wayne may be excited at the title “Robin Rises: Omega” and the restoration of a familiar sidekick name to “Batman and …,” but writer Peter J. Tomasi isn’t yet saying who the Robin in the July stories will be.
The tough-to-tame Damian — who was Bruce Wayne’s son, the most recent Robin and maybe the most dangerous 10-year-old in the DC Universe — died in battle in the early 2013 release “Batman Inc.” No. 8. Since then, his father has been seen trying to figure out a way to revive him — and trying to recover his body from the boy’s villainous grandfather, Ra’s al Ghul, who’s stolen it and daughter Talia al Ghul’s — in the pages of”Batman and …,” which has featured a variety of team-ups (most recently Aquaman) since Damian’s demise.
“Robin Rises: Omega,” a one-shot by Tomasi and superstar artist Andy Kubert that follows the current “Hunt for Robin” story line in “Batman and …,” arrives July 16, with the struggle between Batman and Ra’s al Ghul becoming something bigger with the involvement of forces from Darkseid’s world, Apokolips.
A week later, Tomasi and artist Patrick Gleason’s monthly DC series gets its old name back with “Batman and Robin” No. 33, which picks up right after the one-shot and finds Batman in conflict with the Justice League as he decides to pursue the Chaos Shard back to Apokolips.
Hero Complex readers get the first look at the issue’s covers in the gallery above or in larger versions via the links below.
In an email interview, Tomasi discussed the “Robin Rises” story line, whether it ties into larger events in the New 52, comic book death and more.
Hero Complex: With “Robin Rises” and returning “Batman and …” to “Batman and Robin,” you’re either bringing back the very dead Damian Wayne, or introducing a new Robin, in Batman’s 75th anniversary year. Certainly yours and Pat Gleason’s introduction of Carrie Kelley into the New 52 back in Nos. 19-20 – and putting her in a Robin costume for a party has inspired some speculation about the latter. In either case, there’s the worry of gimmickry. What do you say to readers who may be reluctant to follow another resurrection from comic book death or yet another new Robin?
Peter J. Tomasi: Let’s just say that we are most definitely bringing back a Robin for Batman’s 75th anniversary. Batman needs a Robin and Robin needs a Batman, so what more needs to be said except that “Robin Rises: Omega,” drawn by the stupendous Andy Kubert, starts and ends with a bang and everything that occurs in this epic story all has seeds that Pat Gleason and I planted back during our first arc in “Batman and Robin: Born To Kill.”
There’s no gimmicks. We’re telling a character-centric action-adventure story that new readers can easily jump on board due to the way we constructed the opening pages of “Robin Rises: Omega” No. 1 that gives readers the ability to emotionally plug in and get up to speed without having read the series from the start of the New 52.
And it goes without saying, of course, that anyone following the book from our first issue will see that this has all been an organic uber-story and that all the moments they’ve spent with the characters will pay off as Pat, Andy and I serve our only purpose, which is to honor the actual title of the book so everyone can be invested in the roller coaster ride whether you’re new to the party or already scrunched up comfortably in the corner.
Also, your “yet another Robin” words got me thinking about all the new readers I’ve been meeting at comic cons, and for a lot of them the New 52 was/is their first footstep across the DCU Batman threshold, so they’re not coming to the table with a lotta baggage about resurrection and a long list of Robins.
As writers and artists we have to embrace that old Joe DiMaggio, Yankees center fielder quote which came after someone asked why he played so hard every day, and his answer was: “because someone coming to the stadium is seeing me for the first time.” So even though many readers have been down the “comic book death” path, there are just as many coming to the Batman mythology for the first time since the New 52 launched. In the end it all boils down to readers being immersed in a story with characters they care about.
HC: On the subject of “comic book death,” is there any return that stands out to you as particularly well done? If so, what about it works?
PJT: The first one that pops to mind is of course “The Death and Return of Superman” from a few years back. Creatively and commercially a home run in every sense of the word. Big-ass action beats with real time taken to get to know the regular cast of characters along with the new ones they introduced. And being the editor of the series, I’m partial to what Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver did in “Green Lantern: Rebirth,” as they brought Hal Jordan back to the living in a big way while Geoff continued to craft an amazing mythology for the GL Universe going forward. It too had all the ingredients of amazing character development and epic action. And come to think of it, I also enjoyed how Ed Brubaker brought back Bucky Barnes over in “Captain America” and fleshed out Bucky’s character and Cap’s reaction to his old World War II sidekick. Those are the first three “return” stories that ring the bell for me.
HC: You’ve said that when it’s over, your run will “feel like a massive uber-arc.” Looking back at Issue 1 of “Batman and Robin,” there’s Damian talking about death when his father takes him to see where Martha and Thomas Wayne were killed: “Dead is dead. I’m glad you’re putting this sentimental nonsense behind you … grief and remorse are a disease of the weak.” The note Bruce finds after Damian’s death, and the boy’s drawings of the Waynes’ graves, show some softening toward his father. If Damian does return from death, what sort of changes might that mean for their ongoing father-son relationship?
PJT: Weeeeelllll, you’re making a biiiiggg assumption that it’s Damian that comes back from the dead, and in a general note I’d say that anyone coming back from the dead, be it comics or in real life, would most likely result in some changes that no one expected.
HC: In the current “Hunt for Robin” story line, Ra’s al Ghul and Batman are after the same thing – reviving dead family members — albeit working feverishly against each other. Ra’s, despite sending those deformed clones of Damian after Batman in No. 29, seems to have some respect for his grandson’s father. How do you see the dynamics of Ra’s and Batman’s relationship? Do you see it as different from past versions?
PJT: At the micro level, I see Batman and Ra’s relationship at this juncture as two strong-willed individuals who look at each other as being responsible for causing a great deal of pain in each other’s lives and all of it’s coming to a final face when we join them in “The Hunt for Robin” and “Robin Rises.”
HC: The forces of Apokolips figure into the upcoming story, and Batman went to Darkseid’s planet back in the first New 52 arc of “Justice League.” Will ramifications from that story affect your upcoming story? Is this story flowing into a larger DCU story?
PJT: Absolutely. And Batman’s first little trip to Apokolips in “Justice League” was a quick jaunt, but think of it as coming in handy as a fact-finding mission that will have some payoffs in our story that will most definitely reverberate within the DCU. Sorry for not pulling away the curtain some more on the details, but have to keep some of this under lock and key for the time being.
HC: What, if anything, can you say about Bruce being in conflict with the Justice League and how Apokolips and the Chaos Shard come into play?
PJT: Hate to continue to be so cryptic, but since we’re a few months out from the first issue of “Robin Rises” hitting in July, all I can really say is that Bruce and the Justice League won’t be exactly seeing eye to eye on several important issues which may or may not lead to some rather strong emotional conflicts being put on display. And when it comes to something as powerful as the Chaos Shard, who knows what possibilities may present themselves.
HC: “Batman and Robin” has been a sharp-looking book month in and month out from the get-go with Gleason, and now you have Andy Kubert to help tell the story in “Robin Rises: Omega.” What in each of those collaborator’s art draws you in, and how do you approach writing for each?
PJT: Hell, everything about the way they approach their craft draws me in. I’m lucky to have them working on these scripts. They’re both great at not only the big action scenes but also the small intimate character moments. These guys are the best at what they do. Seeing Patrick bring to life the words on the page is always amazing, and getting to work with Andy Kubert for the first time on a special Batman project like this is awesome. I was Andy’s editor on “Batman” when he and Grant Morrison started up, so to be on the other side of the desk with him for this is really special. After Andy read the script for “Robin Rises” he was excited and said he never drew such a wall-to-wall action script for 38 pages like this, and I gotta say the 20 pages or so I’ve seen are blowing my mind.
HC: One last question. With Batman’s efforts to revive his son taking him to Apokolips, what are the odds of readers seeing Damian smack-talk Darkseid?
PJT: As good as the odds of me revealing any more about “Robin Rises” without having to smack-talk you! And I’d like to give a big thanks to all the “Batman and Robin” readers out there for staying along for the ride and a shout-out to the new readers who’ll hopefully enjoy joining us for this next epic stage of “Robin Rises”!
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