Is Alfred Pennyworth really alive? Batman vs. Robin #1 has the answer

Batman vs. Robin #1
(Image credit: DC)

After years of tension between father and son, DC has officially declared open war between Bruce and Damian Wayne – but the new Batman vs. Robin limited series written by Mark Waid, illustrated by Mahmud Asrar, colored by Jordie Bellaire, and lettered by Steve Wands isn't all bad news.

In fact, the first issue provides an important moment of reprieve for the Dark Knight, even when it seems his world is crumbling around him.

Spoilers ahead for Batman vs. Robin #1

Batman fans have mourned his beloved friend, surrogate father, confidant, and butler since he died three years ago, and now they can breathe a sigh of relief alongside him. 

Damian Wayne has poisoned magic itself in the DC Universe and brought together the devil Nezha and his grandmother, Mother Soul, which will surely have major consequences for the entire Omniverse. However, there's one positive to his terrifying actions: Alfred Pennyworth is back from the dead. 

Prior to the issue's release, DC offered fans two previews of Batman vs. Robin #1. The first only showed Alfred seemingly being resurrected and showing up at the Wayne family manor, and the second kinda-sorta implied he wasn't really Alfred, but something more sinister. Now that the issue is on shelves, we can confirm Alfred is truly back (or at least his return seems earnest), which is a huge relief. 

art from Batman vs. Robin #1 (Image credit: DC)

Alfred is the closest thing Bruce has had to a father since his childhood. Now that Damian has apparently given into his demonic ancestry, Bruce needs allies who understand both himself and his son. Who better than Alfred, who knows them both like the back of his own hand?

Alfred was killed in the 2019 'City of Bane' arc written by Tom King. He was brought back as a desiccated corpse in 2021's Death Metal #7, but this is the first time he's been seen alive in the main continuity for three years. His return might be the only thing that gets Batman through this fight with Robin in one piece, which the DC Universe needs. 

As a result of Damian's actions, magic users like Zatanna are dying horrible deaths. Damian freed the devil Nezha from his prison on Lazarus island, this time with supercharged magic that can overtake anyone with demonic evil, and Mother Soul is at his side.

Batman vs. Robin spins out of the events of Waid's Batman/Superman: World's Finest and the 'Shadow War' Batman-Robin-Deathstroke, Inc. crossover by writer Joshua Williamson. And in addition to resurrecting Alfred, the limited series will likely mark major changes for Bruce and Damian, as well.

DC has been teasing a "new chapter" for Damian for some time. The Robin ongoing series in which he stars ended August 23, and DC also released the trade paperback collection Batman vs. Robin: Road to War, a collection of Batman and Damian-centric stories, including stories from Teen Titans #43-44, Teen Titans Annual #2, Detective Comics #1032-1033, and a "two-part backup feature that sets the stage for a new chapter in the life of Damian Wayne" originally published in Batman #106 and Detective Comics #1034, on August 9.

Meanwhile, Tim Drake will star in a new Robin ongoing starting in September, which could indicate that Damian is dropping the title and costume – at least for now.

Batman vs. Robin #1 will be available September 13.

Damian and Tim rank highly on Newsarama's list of Batman's best Robins of all time.

Samantha Puc
Editor, Newsarama

Samantha Puc (she/they) is an editor at Newsarama and an avid comics fan. Their writing has been featured on Refinery29, Bitch Media, them., The Beat, The Mary Sue, and elsewhere. She is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative nonfiction at The New School.