In Batman: Black and White # 4, a murder investigation at Haly’s Circus reveals that Batman could have prevented the deaths of Robin’s parents.
Warning! Spoilers for Batman: Black and White # 4 below!
DC Comics has revealed that one of bat ManWhat you regret the most may be the fact that you may have kept the original Robinfathers. The murder of Dick Grayson’s parents was a similar situation to what happened to Bruce Wayne’s parents and Bruce’s adoption of Dick eventually led to him becoming the first Robin. However, a recent number of Batman: black and white has a story that shows Batman at the future crime scene long before the Graysons died, investigating a different crime.
Dick Grayson’s origins began in Detective # 38 (1940) where creators Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson established him as the youngest member of the Flying Graysons alongside his parents John and Mary. The famous family of circus acrobats was the main attraction of Gotham’s CC Haly and Norton Bros. Circus, resisting the advances of gangster Tony Zucco, a gangster trying to extort money from the circus in a protection scam. One night, Dick heard Zucco threaten Mr. Haly if he didn’t pay, and the next night he watched his parents’ well-choreographed and rehearsed routine end in tragedy as they collapsed to their deaths in front of a live audience. Although the stories vary due to changes in the DC continuity, Dick will eventually run into Batman, who was investigating the murder of his parents. His attempt to bring Zucco back fails when he dies of a heart attack, but Richard would start a new life when Bruce Wayne would adopt him and further train him to become his new partner and partner, Robin.
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On Batman: Black and White # 4, A story by writer Becky Cloonan and artist Terry Dodson causes Commissioner Gordon to call the Dark Knight to investigate the death of a fortune teller at Haly’s Circus. The intimidating but young vigilante questions various people who work at the circus, leading him to question the Flying Graysons very alive. As a young Richard watches, Batman’s question interrupts his rehearsal, causing Mary to fall and Batman to catch her before she hits the ground. His questioning leads to Mr. Haly himself, who reveals that he had an argument with the victim previously regarding his new business partner, Tony Zucco and that he fired her in a misguided attempt to protect her. Having deduced that the death was suicide, Batman reveals the truth to Gordon and simply moves on to the next case.
Batman’s failure here could be attributed to inexperience, as the story takes place when his relationship with Commissioner Gordon is still new and his methods are still being developed. The creators of the story hint at both the future as well as things that modern Batman would have grasped and followed to the end. Your questions to Mr. Haly reveal that he knows that his association with Zucco is illegal and will end badly, claiming that he has no alternative. Batman has a chance to investigate that, uncover more of Zucco’s illegal activities, and bring him to justice, thus preventing him from orchestrating the events that killed Dick’s parents. However, the investigation does not go beyond the case of the dead fortune teller, and Batman moves on to the next case, not understanding what his inability to continue searching will allow him.
The narration at the beginning and end suggests that this is a flashback remembered by a Bruce who understands his mistake and wishes it could have been different. This brings to mind Marvel’s Spider-Man and his regret for not stopping the murder of his Uncle Ben. As much as the legend of Batman says otherwise, he is human and capable of making mistakes. And maybe this situation ended up improving it. While it may be one of Bruce’s biggest regrets, his mistake would change him and DC Comics forever. bat Man without a Robin?
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