Grant Morrison was the reason i came back into collecting comics and now he finishes his almost decade long run on Batman and well, i anticipate a huge send off. Robin might die! It’s not an original idea but it’s been a while since Batman has lost a sidekick of great significance in the main continuity so if this is to happen again i got my tissues ready….. oh and this (sort of) eulogy……..
It speaks volumes when writers take a character who is initially unlikable and turn him into one of the most popular characters in DC today. Damian Wayne was introduced in Batman #655 during Morrison’s run on Batman and was introduced to Bruce by Talia as the son he had with her whom she has been keeping in secret from him. Upon his introduction he beheaded a minor villain. subdued Alfred and nearly killed the ever so popular Tim Drake, enraging fans. To say his entrance into the Batman mythos was well received would be a grave mistake as there was an initial outpouring of hate for the character from readers and changed things up at DC.
Years went by and we got Batman R.I.P , Battle for the Cowl, Batman and Robin Volume 1 and our intro into Batman Incorporated as we finally saw fans accepting Damian and it seems those who now hate the character remain in the minority of fandom. For me, i began to like Damian in Morrison’s run of Batman and Robin, the Dick Grayson and Damian dynamic was quite a change from the traditional gloomy Batman and lighthearted Robin to dark Robin and lighthearted Batman. I find the fans that haven’t warmed up to Damian quit reading or have ignored the Batman and Robin books from Morrison and therefore only remember the kid as he was before he made a friend out of Dick Grayson. Fast forward to today 2013 and i find there are talks of Damian’s death over in Batman Inc #8. Now look, the comic has yet to be released but given the solicitations to Batman related titles and the lack of Damian in his own book’s covers (Batman & Robin) for the next few months i am starting to have little doubt we are in the very least beginning to see the end of an era.
Initially, i thought theNew52 had destroyed the development of the character from the previous continuity and the first issue of Batman and Robin did nothing to quell those fears but as the NoBody arc came to a close we saw a heck of a lot of development from him. theNew52 didn’t start fresh with his character but rather his relationship with his own father as it was something we didn’t see much improvement of pre New52. Granted i did miss the Damian and Dick Grayson dynamic, i was glad to see it (sort of) return in Nightwing #17 in this continuity and really we have seen their relationship as stable as ever in small moments sprinkled throughout the Bat-family centric books (War of the Robins, Nightwing, Red Hood, Batman). So if the rumors are true and Damian is to make his exit from the Batman mythos this month i am not ok with it. Here’s why: Damian has evolved so much over the last few years that his death can produce more of an impact than any major event that came before, altering and potentially destroying development that has grown over the years. The latest issue of Batman & Robin shows a page where Damian pulls Bruce out from drowning under water. This image was powerful to me, it represented perfectly how Damian has given Bruce hope and a direct purpose to live on and get over his parent’s deaths. See Dick, Jason, and Tim have each given Bruce hope by playing the role of Robin but they have moved past Bruce, they are not held back by the same issues Bruce has faced and they are fully focused on becoming their own persons, which is great because none of them were ever a carbon copy (or as close to one) of Bruce. They all share tragic pasts but unlike Bruce they were never as alone in facing the aftermath. Damian on the other hand i see as the most likely candidate to inherit the mantle of the Bat. Unlike the other Robins, Bruce is directly responsible for the existence of Damian and therefore also for his brutal upbringing. This presents Bruce with the prospect that “we cannot choose our family” and like it or not Damian is his responsibility. On the son’s view we also see the eager child trying to impress his father and unlike Tim or Dick, Damian is stuck with Bruce since they are not only family but very similar. I see Damian taking on the mantle of Batman long after Bruce’s passing. With all this said, this character has evolved into his own really well. and it seems a shame to kill him off so soon. Should DC go the route of OFFING him i do hope he is gone for some time to give his death some meaning and not let it be just some year lasting death. Regardless of the decision i see Damian as already having a lasting impact on the Batman mythos that will be remembered for a long time.