Batman's new protege Duke Thomas getting superhero name, solo series

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Lucas Siegel
Jun 16, 2017

Way back when Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo first started on Batman at the launch of the New 52, they had big plans. When Robin, Damian Wayne died (um, he got better -- superhero comics, folks!), there were rumors swirling all over about where the next Robin would be introduced. Indeed, Snyder and Capullo brought in a new kid in the "Zero Year" storyline named Duke Thomas, who seemed simply destined to be by Batman's side.

But after a tumultuous youth, losing his parents to the Joker's poison, running with the Robins (the "We Are Robin" street gang, not the actual sidekicks) and finally starting to train with Batman, Duke didn't want to be a mere sidekick anymore. He wanted to be a partner, something Batman didn't just agree to, he actually encouraged. While he got a cool yellow and black suit, he still didn't get that other half of the superhero equation, though: a name!

"Yes, his name and his role are coming out," writer and co-creator of Duke, Scott Snyder, told CBR in an interview. The writer was going to give him his new identity in the pages of his current series, All Star Batman, but DC "gave us the option of playing him harder into [Metal], so I thought we should do it here," he said.

Dark Knights: Metal is DC's big summer event this year, kicked off with a prelude called Dark Days: The Forge, which hit store shelves this week (and features Duke kicking Hal Jordan in the face). If The Forge is any indication, the series will have mysteries within mysteries, ties back to the very first arc of Snyder's Batman run, and the Dark Knight will need all hands on deck. Out of the pages of the event, Duke will have his superhero name, and he'll also have his own solo series.

"By the end of The Casting," Snyder said, referring to the next prelude issue dropping July 12, 2017, "you'll see his new role, you'll know about his new book, all of that stuff."

Interestingly, Duke Thomas has technically had not one but two superhero names already. Outside of the "We Are Robin" movement, he was also shown in an armored Robin outfit (and called as such) in the Batman and Robin: Future's End tie-in issue. That future was avoided, though, and we shouldn't expect him to fall back into that role. In the pages of Batman #35, a Scarecrow-induced vision showed Batman fighting alongside Bluebird and Lark -- a young black man in a black and yellow suit. Will his name still be Lark in the present-day, real continuity? We'll have to wait until next month and Dark Days: The Casting to finally find out.