Sometimes comic books don’t do what I want them to do (see: DC Comics Reboot). Comics for the most part tend to be more concerned about the action that is occurring in the story than the relationships between the characters. There are notable exceptions of course, but for the most part comics are focused more on action and fighting. For those of you that long for some more character and relationship building I suggest you turn to your favorite fanfiction site.
I love all things Batman and I love the Bat Family. The dynamic in that family is fantastic, interesting, and multilayered, but because many of the characters in the Bat Family are emotionally stunted, and because comic writers aren’t often going to create a series simply to explore characters’ relationships, the dynamics of this family are often not explored.
Silver Spider wrote a series of one-shot fanfics that focus primarily on the relationships between Batman and the various Robins. The Choice of Family is the first in the series and begins in a hospital with Damian Wayne (Robin) and Tim Drake (Red Robin) watching over an injured Dick Grayson (Nightwing). As the story progresses the reader learns that Dick was injured in a gang altercation involving Jason Todd.
Jason, for those maybe less familiar with Batman, is a former Robin who was murdered by the Joker and later resurrected. Jason is the estranged son of the Bat Family, angry with his father and his siblings for not avenging his death by killing the Joker. The Jason Todd of the comics often struggles with his own anger toward his family, but occasionally the fact that he still cares about them is made known.
Silver Spider shows this amazingly well. In The Choice of Family, Jason feeling guilty, shows up at the hospital to check on Dick and even attempts to apologize for his actions, though he doesn’t take full responsibility for what happened at the time.
I might be a bit bias, but Jason’s journey throughout the series is arguably the most compelling. Jason begins by being angry and vengeful, blaming everybody but himself for his problems, but starting with Antidote for the Poison and climaxing in In Father’s Honor, Jason changes and grows. Jason becomes more mature and learns to turn to his family with his problems, which then allows him to begin to overcome his past and start on a better path.
As a Jason Todd fan girl this is kind of my wildest dream.
But perhaps the thing I like most about this series is that the familial relationships are stressed far more than in the comics.
In the Batman comics, the only one of Bruce’s children that calls him father is Damian, and the Robins never really refer to each other as brothers, but in Silver Spider’s series the Robins often refer to each other as brothers and refer to Bruce as their father.
Simply by using names like father and brother, Silver Spider takes the Bat Family to a whole new emotional level than the comics really have. It’s a nice and much needed change.
This is an amazing fanfic that I would highly recommend to anyone. For those interested in a good fanfic that doesn’t focus on pairings (though there are a few het pairings, they aren’t usually the main focus) and really deals with interesting canon relationships between the characters, Silver Spider’s The Choice of Family and it’s sequels are few you. Check it out!