This story is on the list of Michael Uslan’s “Greatest Batman Comic Book Stories of All-Time,” and it’s definitely one funky Batman tale!
BM156v1 – as we shall refer to it from now on – is presented as a “3 Chapter” story. However, the continuity here between chapters is sketchy at best.
In Ch. 1, Batman is out of town “on assignment,” and Robin is left to defend Gotham City from all its evildoers. In doing so, he runs into DC’s version of Ant Man.
In Ch. 2, we see that Batman has volunteered to be a guinea pig for a super top-secret military experiment to test how humans are affected by long term isolation.
The Batman’s response? In short, he totally trips out!
While in the isolation chamber, Batman has a hallucination in which he’s transported to a cRaZY alien planet. Ultimately, Robin is “killed” during Batman’s delusional state. Though The Boy Wonder is still alive and well in the real world, Batman is so distraught by his hallucinations, he says he is no longer able to be “Batman” and retires. He then proclaims that Robin is now in charge of protecting Gotham City.
Uh, OK. Batman is SO freaked-out by Robin’s “death,” that he them anoints him as, basically, Gotham’s new Batman?
In Ch. 3, a criminal operation that glosses themselves as the “Gorilla Gang,” come across Robin and kidnap him. As a result, Batman is forced to un-retire, suit-up, and rescue his young ward and sidekick…while wearing a gorilla suit.
Ultimately, Batman succeeds and gets his mojo back…with the help of antidepressants (I’m kidding).
BATMAN #156 was written by Bill Finger, penciled by Sheldon Moldoff, and inked by Charles Paris. Its iconic cover was done by Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris. It had an original cover price of 12 cents and has a cover date of June 1963. Grant Morrison included this story in his BATMAN, R.I.P. (BATMAN #676-681) story arc in the 2008. “Robin Dies at Dawn” was reprinted in various trades and comics, including Batman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told, Vol. 1. – Bill “Jett” Ramey.