Published: February 1988
"D.C. Comics Aren't Just For Kids!"
Clearly the cover depicts more graphic violence than one would expect from a kids comic book. It's interesting to me that my reaction to this cover is a lot different than it would have been when I was spinning the comics rack at my local convenience store when I was growing up. (Sunny Corner Farms, Brookline, MA to be specific...)
I was actually 17-18 years old when this was published and was more likely stocking the rack as I worked at my local Store 24 (Beacon Street, also Brookline, MA) but my point is that I would have totally paid absolutely no attention at all to this cover as I was more attracted to the creepy fantasy aspect of the revamped Ghost Rider that also came out around that time.
Now tho? Yeah, this bothers me. The adult in me (who after 10 years working in convenience stores has had more than my fair share of guns, thank you very much) has a definite gut reaction to the realistic depiction of the gun in this villain's hand and even more emotion is evoked by the seemingly doomed young man on the ground.
(The fact that it's Robin? Meh. Robin has always bugged me to some degree but, this? Nah, he's an irritating gnat as a character but he doesn't deserve this. Or any of the later things that happened to him but I digress...)
(High School aged convenience store clerks is debatable...)
Endless insinuations both subtle and overt have been made about a possible romantic relationship between Batman and Robin. Most of which I find just silly but I think that is because "my" Batman and Robin are the Adam West / Bert Ward campy TV variety that I loved as a kid. I view the relationship between the two characters as any 8 year old would, as presented, at face value and totally innocent and devoid of any romantic undertones.
But to accept that we have to suspend our belief in the reality that ALL of our beloved childhood icons were not written and drawn by kids like us but by adults with adult feelings.
So yeah, whether we buy into the whole Batman and Robin as a couple idea, it's pretty undeniable that these pages illustrate very adult relationship emotions.