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“We fight to the death,” the skeleton-attired Flatline says as she rips Robin’s still-beating heart from his chest in Robin #1, DC Comics (2021). Image: Jushua Williamson, Gleb Melnikov/DC Comics

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Robin did a Mortal Kombat

Batman’s son enters the Lazarus Island arena in his latest DC comic

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Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

Robin — Damian Wayne, son of Batman and Talia Head, grandson of Ra’s al Ghul himself — is in a tough place right now. He was trained as an assassin, but gave up his League of Shadows birthright to be Robin, but now he’s really, really mad at Batman for letting Batman’s alternate-universe dad let Bane kill Alfred. But really, Damian is mad at Batman because he feels responsible for Alfred’s death. What’s a Boy Wonder to do?

Well, in Joshua Williamson and Gleb Melnikov’s new series, Robin, Damian travels around the world entering supervillain cage matches until somebody invites him to the DC Comics equivalent of Mortal Kombat.

What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Monday Funnies, Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. But there will be great comics. (And if you missed the last edition, read this.)

Robin #1

“Try to paint from your heart,” a young girl tells her friend in a manga Damian Wayne is reading. “C’mon Hana, you must have a plan,” he mutters to the book. The manga panels are presented in a Western reading order, in Robin #1, DC Comics (2021). Image: Jushua Williamson, Gleb Melnikov/DC Comics

The final page of Robin #1 features new teen supervillain Flatline ripping Damian’s still-beating heart out of his chest shortly after their arrival on Lazarus Island (probably a clue that Damian will still be around next issue after all). But I’d like to highlight another important canon moment of Robin #1: Damian Wayne is a fake nerd who reads horizontally flipped manga.

Beta Ray Bill #2

A detailed cross-section of Beta Ray Bill’s ship, Skuttlebutt, revealing many different rooms including an armory, galley, bedroom, arcade room, and rooms where the artist and Marvel Editorial are working on the comic, in Beta Ray Bill #2, Marvel Comics (2021). Image: Daniel Warren Johnson/Marvel Comics

The first issue of Beta Ray Bill was fun, but with this cross section of Bill’s sentient ship, Skuttlebutt, Daniel Warren Johnson (with Mike Spicer on colors) has pulled me fully in. Look! There are rooms in this ship where Johnson, Spicer, and the Marvel Editorial team are working on the comic! UNBELIEVABLY CHARMING.

Batman: Black and White #5

Batman chases after the Riddler into a mirror maze. Captains tell the reader to turn to page 37 to head into the mirror maze, or to page 7 to bypass it, in Batman: Black and White #5, DC Comics (2021). Image: Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie/DC Comics (2021).

I thought you’d like to know that this week’s Batman: Black and White featured a Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie team-up in the form of a “Choose Your Own Adventure” Batman story with ... a twist.

Hellfire Gala Guide

Concept art for Colossus’ Hellfire Gala outfit, which includes a bare-chested top adorned with gold chains, tight pants, and a fur-topped cloak and ushanka hat in Hellfire Gala Guide, Marvel Comics (2021). Image: Lucas Werneck/Marvel Comics

I also thought you’d also like to know that you can pick up a free copy of the Hellfire Gala Guide on Comixology right now, featuring all the new character designs for the X-Men’s mutant couture lewks.

Action Comics #1030

Damian Wayne/Robin tells Jon Kent/Superboy that he doesn’t get to choose to be Superman or not. Eventually he will fill his father’s shoes, in Action Comics #1030, DC Comics (2021). Image: Philip Kennedy Johnson, Daniel Sampere/DC Comics

Now that we know Jon Kent will be stepping into his dad’s shoes pretty soon, it’s nice to see Action Comics becoming a Superman and Superboy book. It’s making that transition more gradual — and it’s keeping the Superboy and Robin friendship alive.

The Next Batman: Second Son #9

Lucious Fox and his son Tim/Jace argue about the measures Lucious is taking to protect Tim from culpability in his distracted driving hit-and-run in The Next Batman: Second Son, DC Comics (2021). Image: John Ridley, Travel Foreman/DC Comics

John Ridley and Travel Forman’s Next Batman continuation is easy to miss — it’s among DC’s weekly digital-first offerings, for a buck an issue. But it’s playing with an interesting question. If losing all his money is making Batman more grounded, what happens with the people who got the $20 billion he lost, the family of Lucious Fox?

One of Next Batman’s biggest secrets is about why Lucious and his wife had a falling out with his second son, Jace (who used to go by Tim). It turns out that Jace used to be a very irresponsible kid who was the perpetrator of a fatal hit and run. At the time, his parents saw it as their duty to make sure that Jace’s actions were excused and erased just as they would have been if he was the white son of white millionaires. As an adult, Jace is deeply troubled and contrite about the incident, and unsure about his family. It’s juicy and thought-provoking drama.


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