Saturday, April 20, 2013

Who is Carrie Kelly?

Another Robin is dead and with it another vacant spot. In the world of Batman, that spot does not stay vacant for long. Batman needs a Robin, someone to even out that over-obsessive and brooding personality of his. With Damian’s death, DC seems to be pushing for a girl named Carrie Kelly to be thrust into the spotlight, but who is Carrie Kelly? Glad you asked, reader! Hit the jump to find out!

Stephanie Brown often gets a shiny badge for being the first girl Robin, but that is not really true. You see, back in 1986, when Frank Miller created The Dark Knight Returns, Carrie Kelly became the first female Robin. She may not be a part of the accepted continuity, but she wore that iconic red, green, and yellow costume before Stephanie Brown was even created.

Carrie Kelly lives as a part of Earth – 31, or, as I like to call it, the crazy, abusive Batmanverse of Frank Miller. The stories contained here are Batman: Year One, All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, The Dark Knight Returns, and The Dark Knight Strikes Again. In this universe, “The goddamn Batman” is a little more unhinged than usual. He curses, abuses twelve-year olds, threatens Justice League members, and probably parks in the handicap spots at Walmart. With that being said, Frank Miller writes some of the most bad ass and iconic Batman stories.

In The Dark Knight Returns, Bruce Wayne is 55-years old and retired from being Batman after the death of Jason Todd. With crime on the rise in Gotham, Bruce finds he cannot deny who he truly is and dons his cape and cowl once again. Batman and Carrie have their first run-in together when he saves her from a gang of Mutant thugs. This grants her newfound inspiration and she spends a few weeks worth of lunch money to buy a cheap Robin costume.

A few less than stellar acrobatic showings later, she begins to fight crime in her own way. Basically, she lights firecrackers off in the pants of illegal gambling deals in back alleys. Hey, you have to start somewhere. She doesn’t officially become Robin until she saves Batman after he receives a royal beatdown at the hands of the Mutant leader. A delirious Bats refers to her as “Dick,” but slowly realizes she is completely different and might be of some use to him.

From this point, they form a special kind of bond that only a Robin can share with Batman. With such touching moments like “I have detailed tonight’s plans. Alter it in any way -- take any chances -- and you’re fired,” or “If you disobey, ever again, you’re fired,” or possibly my favorite, “No. I will not teach you the program. Touch those controls and you’re fired.” Though, in all seriousness, she becomes an indispensable part of Batman’s iconic battles with the Joker and Superman and shows that she can stick with Bats through thick and thin.

One of the most interesting parts about Carrie is the fact that she doesn’t really have any kind of parental trauma like all of the other Robins. Her parents are hinted at to be hippies and maybe are less involved in her life than they should be, but they are both alive and neither of them villains. By all means, Carrie shines as the most normal kid Batman has ever recruited (kidnapped -- eh, whatever) into his war on crime.

Another point of interest is that she seems less able than most Robins. When Batman meets her, the only really special thing she has going for her is the courage of a fearless Gothamite and an astute skill with computers. During a mission, she hacks the Batwing and configures the voice commands to her own lingo (pretty shnazzy for a thirteen year old). She becomes more able over the course of Batman training her, but she appears to be the Robin with the least amount of skill starting out.

Her debut in the New 52 was not the main focus of the issue, apparently Damian had been meeting her for acting lessons. It was nice to actually see Carrie in a comic of the main continuity, but that's pretty much all that happened. Her introduction as of right now just seems like a kind of taunting fan-service. I cannot see her becoming Robin anytime soon, but if she does I hope we get a more fleshed out character than Miller’s version.

What do you think of Carrie? Do you like her? Dislike her? Where do you think DC is going with her introduction? Sound off in the comments and let us know!

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