WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Justice Leauge #11 by Scott Snyder, Francis Manapul, and Tom Napolitano, on sale now!
In DC's Justice League: No Justice miniseries, we saw the presumed end of the villainous alien starfish, Starro. However, as it is for most comic book characters, death was temporary, and Starro made a triumphant return as much smaller (and more adorable) version of himself in Justice League #10.
Crowned with the delightfully cheeky moniker of Jarro by Batman (who says Bruce doesn’t have a sense of humor?), the once fierce villain has found himself in the most unusual position within the DC Universe, as a de facto ward to The Dark Knight. Oh, and inside a jar. Yeah, that's a pretty unusual position to be in unless you're a Kandorian.
Now before you get too excited, no, Jarro doesn’t wear a little ‘R’ lapel pin and sport a cape (but we wouldn’t be against it). He does, however, act as a vigilant aid to Batman, as the Caped Crusader keeps tabs on the global cataclysmic events occurring during the “Drowned Earth” crossover. And while a slew of insane thing happen in the aforementioned issue, Jarro's role in all of this is one of the quietest and yet more fascinating. More importantly, it's interesting just how quickly Batman adopted the alien pluteus as something of a personal assistant (wait...maybe Jarro is a bit more like Alfred?).
Batman has had no shortage of strange partnerships over the course of his storied career. As steely and stoic as he tends to be, the Dark Knight isn't exactly reluctant to team up with rather unorthodox heroes (and villains) to work toward a common goal, despite the dour reputation which often precedes him. He's teamed up with characters like Detective Chimp, Daffy Duck, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and even the Beatles (no seriously, check out Batman vol. 1 #222; it's super weird). But the Batman and Jarro dynamic is a different kind of animal... and we love it.
While inherently odd, Batman's relationship with Jarro does mirror that of the Caped Crusader's connection to the myriad wards he's taken under his wing over the years. This echoes the loudest in how Jarro refers to Bruce as a parental figure, which happens in a moment that is equal parts adorable and strangely unsettling. To be fair, Batman isn't the most ideal father figure. He's brutal, stern, intolerant of any form of insubordination, and allows his underaged wards to enlist in his crusade against crime in Gotham City. You know, like any reasonable father figure who dresses up as a flying mammal to punch the poor and mentally unstable population at three in the morning does.
The relationships between Batman and the various Robins has been tumultuous at times. Even Dick Grayson, who, legally speaking, is Bruce Wayne's adopted son, would never call Batman dad (we don't care what the LEGO Batman Movie says). This, of course, mirrors Bruce's feelings of his own father figure, Alfred Pennyworth, who for all intents and purposes is Batman's dad. Sure, he's a dad who gets bossed around by his kid, but he's Bruce's dad none the less.
Jarro referring to Batman as a father does seem a little strange considering the expeditious nature of the narrative over the course of the last couple issue, but it's easy to chalk it up to a baby organism gravitating toward just about anyone who is in their direct vicinity and treats them with some level of compassion. What's really bizarre, though, is just how chill Batman seems to be with the heavy title Jarro has given him. It's almost as if Batman has been waiting his whole life for a moment like this. Or maybe the fact a baby alien starfish with a giant eye in the middle of its body is helping is weird enough. No need to make the dad topic a big deal.
If Jarro is somewhat of a de facto Robin, does it mean he will eventually get his own cool avian themed motorcycle or some sort of Kevlar outfit to protect his squishy little body? Probably not. It'd be awesome and hilarious, but incredibly unlikely. If we were to put money on it, the time spent in a jar and being irresistibly adorable will be short-lived for Starro. It's only a matter of time before he returns to his villainous ways, so let's just enjoy Jarro while we have him, shall we?