Monday, April 15, 2013

Carrie Kelley debuts in Batman and Red Robin #19 (and maybe someone else)

Because there's so little Cass news these days-- it's not as if she's doing much-- I've been checking out the latest developments in the Bat-world.  We've discussed Alysia Yeoh and Carrie Kelley and it turns out there's more to say about Carrie.  Mainly because I bought Batman and Red Robin #19 specifically so I could talk about her in a semi-informed way.

But first--

I came away from this comic with a my dislike for current-day Batman re-affirmed, and I include all Batman portrayals for the past couple of decades since the New 52 doesn't seem to have erased those.  What an ass he is.  His actions have crossed into the outright villainous and while the book promises repercussions, it ends this sequence with a little joke that really rubbed me the wrong way given what we'd seen up to that point.

A grim and determined Batman is a far cry from a flat-out crazy Batman and I'm beyond sick of writers trying to top each other with their extreme Batman characterizations.  Are there any adult characters in the New 52?  I haven't read Wonder Woman, but Superman is a punk from a CW show now and Batman has been a stunted, selfish little boy pitching hissy fits for years.  His enduring popularity is a testament to the strength of the concept but damned if I can stand reading him anymore.

Okay, that rant aside--

If you read this book expecting a riff-- extended or otherwise-- on Miller, you're going to come away disappointed by everyone except Batman.  This Carrie Kelley has the hair and glasses that subtly recall the ones the Miller version wore, but that's about the only resemblance.  Not a criticism; just an observation.  Carrie is a theater or drama major and we first see her exuberantly reciting Shakespeare (cool-- Shakespeare is one of my things) and eating pizza while driving (not so cool-- both hands on the wheel, please).  Her more upbeat, reality-grounded scenes provide a pleasant contrast to the Grand Guignol of Batman's insanity and I'm pretty sure I'd rather read a book about her and her travails while trying to get her Kickstarter project going.  We'll see if Peter Tomasi develops her more, or if this is just a one-off.  He left some mystery about her I hope he explores further, preferably in her own book minus Batman, or with his participation minimized.

We all know from the promo art she wears the old school Underoos-style Robin costume for a party-- which I'm guessing confirms its canonicity in a New 52 where everyone-- including the indestructible boy from Krypton-- seems to have a fetish for wearing armor of some kind.  The little news/hype story thing at the back of the book (KILL THIS CLUMSY FEATURE YESTERDAY) plumps a female Robin, but I'm not sure yet if they're just teasing about Carrie's party costume or if we really will see Harper Row taking on the role in the next couple of months.  I don't see anything in the Carrie Kelley characterization here to suggest she's got the fighting chops to do it, although she plays a mean Wii.  We also know she was teaching Damian acting.  I'm sure I missed something since I've largely avoided this new Cass-less DC where the main heroes do little to inspire me or my interest, much less newer additions like Damian.  So why was he learning acting?  And why Carrie's choice of Playhouse 90 kinescopes, beyond the method acting referenced in her note?

And finally, while I seriously doubt this theory, Zechs over at The Outhouse suggests, possibly with tongue in cheek, Carrie's friend in the Wii scene might be a popular benched character known for wearing purple.  If true, that would certainly be cute.


  1. That's really too bad about Batman, I haven't bothered reading any of his New 52 appearances.

    I had thought that pants and a cape were universally considered improvements in the Robin suit. It would be a little bit funny if they actually regress to a varient of Dick's old costume. It would also make me angry though because I hate it when the girls get less cool and/or less protective armor than the guys.

    There doesn't appear to be much support for the Steph theory, but that would be great if it were true.
    I had thought Gail Simmone was trying to bring her back.

  2. I'm generally against the armor/costume disparity, too. Anyway, I think the newer Robin costumes are big improvements over the old one except for nostalgia purposes. I can't think of an in-story reason why Carrie Kelley would be wearing a version of it, though. And the Steph theory is a HUGE reach. I think it would be nice, too, and without official confirmation one way or the other, it's cool for people to go ahead and read her as Steph-- but I won't hold my breath waiting for DC to say anything about it other than, "Nah, you people are crazy. That's not her."

  3. It's really gotten to a point where any time a blonde character appears in a bat-book, everyone thinks that it must be Steph. It's a little silly, but it's pretty harmless, I guess.