The second issue of Batman vs. Robin landed in comic shops on Tuesday, fleshing out the DC universe in some truly unparalleled ways. While the book could have easily been presumed to only concern the conflict between Bruce Wayne / Batman and Damian Wayne / Robin, the first two issues have instead shown a weirder and more expansive story altogether. That story has weaved in a surprising number of magic users from the pages of DC's comics, ranging from Golden Age baddies to newer fan-favorites to a few staples of The Sandman.
With Batman vs. Robin already confirmed to be spinning out into next year's Lazarus Planet event, the notion of these character returns is particularly interesting — so here's what you need to know about them. Spoilers for Batman vs. Robin #2 from Mark Waid, Mahmud Asrar, Jordie Bellaire, and Steve Wands below! Only look if you want to know!
Originally debuting in 1970's The Phantom Stranger #10, Tannarak is a dangerous, near-immortal alchemist who goes toe-to-toe with the Phantom Stranger countless times over. He later became a member of the Lords of Chaos and an occasional foe of Zatanna and John Constantine. He has largely been missing in action since the New 52 run of Constantine.prevnext
While she's become ubiquitous among some fans thanks to her appearances in the Teen Titans animated series (and soon, HBO Max's live-action Titans show), Jinx has a magical history all her own. Initially debuting in Tales of the Teen Titans #56, Jinx has served as a member of the Fearsome Five, Villainy Inc., and the Crime Syndicate's Secret Society of Super Villains. Outside of a few Elseworlds appearances, Jinx's most recent prominent appearance was in two issues of the Rebirth runs of Titans and Justice League.prevnext
Another fan-favorite thanks to the world of animation (particularly Young Justice), Klarion the Witch Boy is revealed to be part of the issue's magical cabal, and even violently stole Ragman's rags from his body. While Klarion has sporadically appeared throughout recent DC lore, including his own six-issue solo series, this issue marks his first appearance in a Batman title in quite some time.prevnext
Zor, also known as Zachary Zor, originated all the way in 1940's More Fun Comics #55 as an antagonist of The Spectre. A member of a secret group of angels tasked with mantaining the fabric of reality, Zor rebels and creates the Sheeda, a foe of the Seven Soldiers of Victory. Zor has not prominently appeared in DC Comics for almost two decades, since the Seven Soldiers: Zatanna series.prevnext
One key player in the issue ends up being The Devil Nezha, a Chinese warlord whose immortality has kept him alive for generations, and whose machinations are ultimately possessing Damian and other people close to Bruce to do evil things. Nezha is a relatively new addition to the DC mythos, originating in this year's Detective Comics #1050 before becoming the villain of Waid and Dan Mora's Batman/Superman: World's Finest.prevnext
Another key player in the issue is Ruh al Ghul / Mother Soul, the also-immortal mother of Ra's al Ghul who has mastery over the League of Lazarus and the very resin that makes up the Lazarus Pits. Debuting in 2021's Robin #1, Mother Soul became a staple of that book, as well as the Shadow War event.prevnext
In Nezha and Mother Soul's first scene in the issue, they are torturing Lori Zechlin / Black Alice, trying to utilize her magical leeching abilities to further power the Helmet of Fate. Originally debuting in 2005's Birds of Prey #76, Black Alice started out as a teenage girl who crossed paths with the Birds of Prey, and later became an ally of the Secret Six and Raven's Night Force.prevnext
One of the issue's coolest moments pays tribute to Justice League of America #10, a Silver Age issue in which Felix Faust fought the super team. In particular, his magic created the image of miniature versions of the Justice Leaguers literally being trapped on his fingertips — something that Batman vs. Robin pokes at, by having Faust be haunted by full-sized versions of the League grotesquely escaping his body.prevnext
Cain & Abel
After crossing paths with Faust, Batman and Alfred journey into the House of Secrets and the House of Mystery — and meet the brothers, Cain and Abel, who maintain them both. Originally debuting in DC in the 1960s as the de facto narrators of House of Mystery and House of Secrets, the duo are now best known for their memorable stints in The Sandman, as well as its recent Netflix adaptation.prevnext
The Kindly Ones
The issue features another tie to The Sandman in the form of The Kindly Ones, a trio of witches who share some lore with the three-headed witch the Hecateae. Also known by their names of Cynthia, Mildred, and Mordred, the trio originated in 1969's The Witching Hour #1, and have had bizarre and unsettling appearances ever since.prev