A Brief Guide to Robin: Carrie Kelley

This is the part 6 of the 6 part series “A Brief Guide to Robin”. For links to previous Robins, click on their names: Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, Damien Wayne

Carrie Kelley Dark KnightEven though Carrie Kelley was only Robin in an alternative universe, she was Robin nonetheless! I included her because she is courageous, spunky, and has a rad fashion sense (See: green tinted glasses).

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13 year old Caroline Keene Kelley is a normal school girl in the legendary Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. In this mini-series, Bruce Wayne is at the ripe age of 55 when he re-dons the Batman cape. Since his retirement, crime in Gotham City has been on the rise. Bruce first meets Carrie when he saves her from the gang, The Mutants.  She is instantly star struck. She admires Batman so much that she buys an imitation Robin costume and scoured Gotham for crimes to find him. After she saved Bruce’s hide fighting The Mutants again, he allows her to fight alongside him as Robin.

But what makes Carrie memorable is how she complements the older crotchety Bruce. She is scrappy and energetic, where he is dark and just damn tired. Unlike the other Robins, Carrie’s parents are still alive just extremely apathetic. She really doesn’t have a reason to be Robin other than she saw that Bruce needed some motivation. It turned out that Carrie was exactly what Bruce needed in his life.

In the sequel, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, she is still by Batman’s side, but now as Catgirl. She upgraded from firecrackers and a slingshot to motorized rollerblades and a cannon that shoots batarangs. Once the series ended, Carrie Kelley effectively disappeared from Batman universe.

Carrie Kelley New 52But wait! Carrie Kelley is back! She was introduced in the Batman and Red Robin series fairly recently. In this series, she is a college-aged friend of Damien Wayne from a karate class. She dropped off some videos for him at the Wayne Manor, not knowing that he died. Bruce returned the videos and talked with Carrie about Damien’s absence. When she returned to the Wayne Manor to talk to Damien about his lessons, she had an argument with Bruce about caring for him. Alfred then hired her to take care of the Damien’s dog, much to Bruce’s dismay. The last scene we see is her picking up the phone call from Damien. It’s a voice recording explaining that he will is traveling the world and will not be around.

It’s a departure from her original characterization, but I am happy to see she is making a return. And although it doesn’t seem that she is in line to be the new Robin anytime soon, it’s clear that DC reintroduced her for some reason. Now it’s up to the writers to keep her alive.