Batman and Robin and Captain America and Bucky, two iconic duos from the Golden Age of comics, there are others, Flash and Kid Flash, the Human Torch and Toro, Green Arrow and Speedy but recently both DC and Marvel have been doing strange things with the mentor/protégé pairs.
With Captain America, Marvel revived him in Avengers #4 in 1964, frozen in ice, his last mission hurling him into the icy North Sea to spend time in suspended animation while for over 40 years Marvel insisted his World War II protégé Bucky was killed in the last mission. Marvel for all of that time insisted Bucky was dead. Different Buckys existed, Jack Monroe (Nomad) was the third Bucky in the 1950s and Rick Jones looked like Bucky but the original except for dreams, nightmares, What Ifs and a couple of tours in the Legion of the Unliving, Bucky was dead. But in 2005 it was revealed Bucky Barnes survived the explosion, losing his arm not his life but rather than spending decades frozen in ice, he was found by a Soviet sub and turned into the Winter Soldier, brainwashed and with a cybernetic arm he became the Soviet’s premiere assassin. Having recovered his memories he steps into the void left by Steve Rogers apparent death at the end of Marvel’s Civil War in 2008 and remains Captain America when the time displaced Steve Rogers returns.
Over at DC, Batman and Robin remain their premiere duo for 40 plus years until Robin grows up, goes out on his own and becomes Nightwing. Flash forward 20 years to 2008 and Bruce Wayne is seemingly killed by Darkseid’s Omega Beams and is actually displaced in time. Dick Grayson picks up the cowl and becomes Batman, Bruce Wayne’s illegitimate son Damian becomes Robin V as Jason Todd (Robin II) became the Red Hood after being restored to life. Tim Drake-Wayne (Robin III) became the Red Robin and Stephanie Brown (the Spoiler, Robin IV) became Batgirl III. Then we find out Bruce Wayne is alive, time displaced into prehistory, the time of Anthro and Vandal Ag (Vandal Savage) and is skipping forward in time as a pirate, a puritan and others leading to his return later this fall in the Bat books.
Wow! What a coinky-dink! Holy Twisted Plotlines! The most iconic duos in comic history, the same plot circumstances and at the same time! What are the chances? Of course this isn’t the first time I’ve gone on a rant about DC and Marvel running parallel storylines at the same time. Will Bruce Wayne assume the mantle of Batman on his return or take on a new identity as did Steve Rogers and let his protégé take over the identity? In both cases the villains have determined there is someone else under the mask and in both cases, the new Batman and Cap joined their mentor’s teams. It is said great minds think alike but this is not the only exception where the Big Two have tried to run similar plot against each other, the X-men Necrosha and Green Lantern’s Blackest Night is a recent example also. It is fun to see them try to one up doing essentially the exact same story and plot and still be different.
Batman can be found in Batman, Batman and Robin, Detective, Justice League and other DC titles while Cap can be found in Captain America and the Avengers books as well as other Marvel books. All of these titles can be found in comic shops in the metro Atlanta area. I get mine at Galactic Quest in Lawrenceville. Stop by and tell Kyle Bruce said “Hi!”