Robot 6

Some thoughts on the future of Damian Wayne

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Hey, have you somehow managed to avoid hearing about the thing that’s going to happen in that one comic book Wednesday? The thing the writer and publisher are so excited about that they’ve been hyping it up in various media?

If so, then you must be the sort of comics fan who doesn’t like to have story points spoiled for you in advance, so out of respect for you, and respect for  the diligence you’ve shown in so far being able to avoid having the story — whatever it is, in whatever book it’s unfolding — spoiled for you, I’m going to bury this entire post below the break.

So, if you already know what I’m talking about, read on!

Damian Wayne, the fifth and current of the children to fight alongside Batman as Robin, will be killed off in tomorrow’s Batman Incorporated #8.

Writer Grant Morrison introduced the character, the 10-year-old version of the baby Batman and Talia Al Ghul produced in an out-of-continuity story, at the beginning of the writer’s multi-year, multi-title Batman run in 2006.  He officially became Robin in 2009, fighting alongside the new Batman Dick Grayson in Batman and Robin.

The character’s death won’t come as too terrible of a shock, as one-quarter of the people who had the gig before him ended up dying (Jason Todd, who got better … 16 years later; Stephanie Brown, we’re told, never actually died), and tea-leaf readers likely noticed there was no mention of Damian in the last few rounds of DC solicitations, but several mentions of tragedy of some sort in the Bat-Family.

batman incorporated8Some thoughts on the matter …

OK, show of hands: Who thought Damian Wayne was going to be around long upon his initial introduction?

Batman having sired a child that he himself didn’t even know existed for a decade seemed to raise a whole host of problems from the get-go, the damage to his rep as the World’s Greatest Detective being the least of them.

It drastically aged Batman, seeing as he didn’t even meet Talia until Dick Grayson went away to college, and then we have to add at least 10 years; it permanently altered the dynamic of the core Batman cast, as a biological son couldn’t be forgotten as easily as Stephanie Brown or Cassandra Cain could; it would eventually push the once-new Robin Tim Drake out of Batman comics, after so many people spent so many years selling the idea of Robin to a Robin-averse readership and, perhaps most importantly, it was such a big change to the status quo that it felt temporary, like putting Batman in a wheelchair or killing off Bruce Wayne or having Superman and Lois Lane adopt a son.

I certainly didn’t think Damian was going to last too terribly long, and assumed it was only a matter of time before it was revealed he wasn’t really Batman’s son. And/or The Joker killed him (not that I know all that much; I never thought DC would bring Barry Allen or Jason Todd back from the dead, or re-number Action Comics, for example).

Oddly enough, he has at this point been around so long that I just recently stopped expecting him to be written out of the comics.

This being comics, I think it’s well worth noting that dead almost never actually means dead, and, in fact, dead means dead less and less with each passing year.

It’s impossible to speculate on the finality of Damian’s death with any great accuracy at this point — I haven’t read the issue yet, and Morrison still has a few issues to go before he leaves Batman comics — but let’s not forget that the writer began his run on the character by killing off Batman, and he didn’t stay dead long (actually, between “Batman: R.I.P.” and Final Crisis, Morrison killed Batman repeatedly).

Nor that Damian’s maternal grandfather Ra’s Al Ghul discovered a means by which to restore the dead to life.

Nor that Jason Todd, Barry Allen, Bucky Barnes and even Uncle Ben have all come back to life in some form or another; if Morrison doesn’t bring Damian back to life by the end of his run, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before someone does, right? There are no sacred, non-reversible deaths in super-comics.

But let’s imagine that Damian is dead. It would certainly be in keeping with Morrison’s work on various superhero franchises, from DC’s JLA to Marvel’s X-Men to the whole of the DC Universe with Final Crisis.

At the end of each, no matter how radical or drastic the changes he may have effected, the dial was reset. The caretaker nature of a work-for-hire super-comics creator necessitates that everything be put back in order, and left the way you found it.

With the controversial end of his New X-Men run, for example, Morrison saw many of the most drastic of his story beats deliberately (and almost immediately) undone by his editors and other writers. I wonder if perhaps that might have taught him to clean up after himself so he can end his stories on his own terms, rather than trusting others to do so? If someone were going to do away with Damian Wayne at some point anyway, perhaps Morrison decided he wanted to be the one who did it, to see that it was done properly?

bat family

If Damian really is dead, then the timing of his death strikes me as particularly ironic, for two reasons.

Firstly, there’s the fact that DC just wrapped up a big, huge, multi-title Batman story featuring Batman and his allies against their greatest enemy The Joker, written by their lead Batman writer Scott Snyder, a storyline that was named “Death of the Family,” a deliberate riff on the title “A Death In The Family,” which was the name of the story in which The Joker murdered Robin Jason Todd.

The rumor was that there would be a shocking, surprise ending, and that there would be a death. If you thought DC was going to kill off their current Robin, that’s gotta be where they would do it, right?

That the publisher didn’t makes the fact that Damian is dying in Batman Incorporated a mostly marginalized, happening-off-in-a-corner-by-itself Batman book by a departing writer with waning influence on the line, all the bigger a surprise.

Secondly, and less immediately, there’s the fact that Morrison’s six-year run on the character, which wound from Batman to Final Crisis to Batman and Robin to The Return of Bruce Wayne to Batman Incorporated, was interrupted by the New 52 reboot, during which DC Universe continuity was tossed out and replaced by a shorter, mostly unknown continuity in which Morrison’s storyline — in fact, Batman history in general — didn’t really work, if one thought too much about it (and by “too much” I, of course, mean “at all”).

The company line was that superheroes have only been around for five years now, instead of the 11-plus or so of the pre-New 52 continuity (the 10-year sliding timeline from Zero Hour, plus the post-Infinite Crisis “One Year Later” jump, if you’re wondering where I pulled that number from). It was allowed for that maybe Batman was around a little longer.

Even still, Damian’s existence necessitated a career of more than 10 years, and even if the in-progress storyline was retconned so that he was artificially aged, the question of how Batman trained and worked with a series of four Robins — Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake and Damian — in five or six years stretched credulity more so than just about any other aspect of Batman comics.

Scott Snyder, Grant Morrison and most of the other Bat-writers dealt with this by ignoring it, but the New 52 reboot didn’t help Morrison’s story in the least, as characters he had used in earlier chapters no longer existed (Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown) or no longer existed in the same form (Barbara Gordon).  I imagine this last part of Morrison’s run would have been a lot different without the reboot; I imagine Dick Grayson would still be Batman instead of Nightwing, for one thing.

It sort of seems a shame that the new DCU suffered so many dings and bruises by keeping Damian in-continuity if he was only going to be killed off a year and a half later, doesn’t it?

batman and robin18If Damian is dead, that raises a few questions for the DC Comics line and the DC Comics Universe.

For the former, I wonder what will happen to Batman Incorporated and Batman and Robin? Both sell well, by virtue of being Batman comics, and it seems unlikely DC would cancel two guaranteed strong-sellers in order to experiment with something like a Sword of Sorcery or Justice League of America’s Vibe.

Batman and Robin has long since outlived its original purpose: giving Morrison a new title to write about the new Batman Dick Grayson and the new Robin Damian Wayne. With the New 52boot, the book was refashioned so as to feature the story of old Batman Bruce Wayne dealing with a sidekick who is also his son. If it outlives Damian, it will need to be re-focused with a new direction once again, likely simply by focusing on whoever the new Robin will be.

Batman Incorporated is harder to see sticking around, as one imagines Morrison will bring an end to the concept as part of his exit from the character. Can DC keep the title going after its premise evaporates? I don’t think so, but it won’t be too difficult to replace it with a new title focusing on the wider Batman family, perhaps dusting off Batman: Gotham Knights, which, similar to Batman Incorporated, tended to concentrate on Batman plus one of his many sidekicks and allies per storyline. (Personally? I’d like to see Batman: Club of Heroes, in which Batman leads the most promising of the Batman Inc. members as a team. Imagine, a Justice League comic … where every member of the League is also Batman!)

As for who the new Robin will be, that’s a pretty tricky question, isn’t it? Were it not for the New 52 reboot, I would have guessed that Tim Drake would have returned to his role as Batman’s partner, but it now seems as if current continuity is that Tim Drake was never Robin, but was always Red Robin.

I’ve heard baseless online speculation that new female character Harper Row might be a good candidate, an idea that seems likely in that: a.) It would be another big thing DC could announce to mainstream press (that is, that there’s a new Robin, and this time it’s a girl); b.) it might make the Stephanie Brown fans happy (of course, why not just reintroduce Stephanie Brown, as she seemingly no longer exists?); and c.) Harper Row appeared in a Snyder-written comic and, with Morrison leaving, Snyder will be the undisputed lead Batman writer, a role he’s gradually been assuming anyway as more and more attention has been focused on his Batman than on Morrison’s Batman Incorporated.

Other candidates include Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen — those guys seem to be get the nod whenever there’s an open position in a DC comic book, don’t they?

Whoever the next Robin ends up being, I’m sure there will be a next Robin. If there’s one thing that Morrison has made abundantly clear over the course of the last half-dozen years, its that Batman and Robin will never die.

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Comments

60 Comments

i really like batman and robin and batman incorporated . Damian is my favorite robin because at sometimes he can be kind of a ass and he can be sweet and kind. I would hate to see him die.

i cant what for the next comic

I totally agree that morrisons story just does not fit in the new universe. I would have preferred to have it finish out in the old continuity, where Morrison could of had free reign to do whatever the hell he wanted. In fact it could have been a real capstone to that universe, the send off it never had. Bat mans timeline is a real mess, and by not starting over with a new streamlined batman method, I think there is going to have to be a cleanup project at some point in the future.

DC already said Batman Inc is going away when Morrison is finished

That was a fine article, Caleb.

Aaron Poehler, I do not believe that is the case. I’m pretty certain DC has never said any such thing

When DC rebooted the universe, they didn’t think out the Bat books very well, for all the points you mention re: the characters’ ages, and more. Dead sometimes does mean dead, especially when it’s a child. Lian Harper is still dead in the old DCU, and now apparently, never existed, so if she ever came back, she would be a new version of an old character. Unless, of course, DC reverts to the old continuity at some point, or decides, as I have, that the current New 52 is simply another alternate universe in the multiverse. Jason was dead a long time. For many readers who stopped reading comics as adults, he was dead for the rest of their comic reading days. It’s only those of us who keep reading for decades who see so many deaths reversed, other than the stunt deaths that can’t last for long because of who they are: Superman, Batman/Bruce Wayne. Those are characters DC Entertainment can’t afford to lose for long.

I hated Damian when he was first introduced but I came to love him before the reboot. From a story standpoint, that’s good writing, to make me care before offing him. From a fan’s perspective, killing him sucks. For the record, I voted for Jason to die all those years ago, but I doubt I would today. I didn’t like him when he was finally revived, either, but now he, along with Kori and Roy, are among my favorites because he’s finally growing up/maturing. He was a teen when he was killed, but still too young to be treated that way. Damian is a child, and DC is sending a very bad message by killing children IMO.

Better they should have allowed Morrison to finish off the Damian story before the reboot than bring him into the new 52 where the Bat books now have serious inconsistencies age-wise and time-wise. Damian shouldn’t have existed in the new 52 at all.

This article reminds me why I gave up on the New52 even though I’m exactly the type of reader they were trying to attract. Having recently got back into comics, I hadn’t read a DC superhero comic in nearly 20 years, so there was a whole continuity that was a complete mystery to me. When I heard that DC was rebooting the entire continuity I totally decided to check it out. But I get there and there’s been 4 or 5 Robins already in the Bat books, the Green Lantern continuity is the giant political mess of multiple colored Corps with their own convoluted back stories, etc. I mean, if you’re going to reboot, than do a full reboot. This way, it seems, they just pissed off a lot of long-time fans who were invested in continuity and totally failed to capture readers like me.

Just when Damian was finally starting to be a good character, thanks to Tomasi.

But ah, well. At least we’ll finally have Morrison away from the Batbooks.

Marvel had the right idea by not rebooting their entire universe with their Marvel Now relaunch.

Tomasi today said that his book will be renamed “Batman and….” in future issues. (i.e. “Batman and Red Hood” one issue, then “Batman and Red Robin” in the next.)

Re: “..This being comics, I think it’s well worth noting that dead almost never actually means dead…”

Er, no. “…This being super-hero comics…” would be accurate, but in most comics (non-super-hero American comics, French, Japanese, British, Italian, etc) dead means dead.

Charles J. Baserap

February 27, 2013 at 5:37 am

Morrison never really killed Batman; he was hit with the Omega Sanction which he’d previously established would force the victim to be lost and relive/live things.

Having Batman, Inc. start again so late into the DCnU and letting it pick up where it left off, combined with the way Batman’s continuity slightly changed at most after Flashpoint is an example of REALLY poor planning with this whole thing.

The Batman Inc. part of things makes it all fall after Death of the Family because that’s where we last see Damian alive, but we know now it’s been only SEVEN years since Batman returned to Gotham to start fighting.

How?

Because in Night of the Owls, Batman Annual #1, there’s a flashback that Snyder says is 6 years prior and we have Bruce saying he’s just come back (actually Lucius says it). Then we know it’s been a year between Detective Comics #1 and Death of the Family because they repeatedly say he laid low for a year.

That means that the new Batman/Superman has to fit in the year between his return and beginning of Justice League which was five years prior to the start of the DCnU.

That also means in less than seven years total of actually BEING Batman, he’s had his back broken (Bane says this specifically in Batman: The Dark Knight), he’s been “killed” which made Dick take over for about an entire year (which is explicitly stated), had Dick as Robin, had Jason as Robin who then died and came back, had Tim as Robin (despite the retcon/poor editorial oversight that allowed Lobdell to claim otherwise when it was glaringly obvious in Batman #1), met up with Talia and “donated” to her uterus, had all of Morrison’s stuff happen, etc.

WOW.

He’s running through Robins like Taylor Swift through boyfriends and he’s been crippled and “dead” in less than five years. Not the best track record already. DC painted themselves into a corner with a specific five year timeline that’s made worse by the random things they say counted, even things that couldn’t have happened the same way (What made Hal Jordan go crazy if not the death of Coast City since Superman’s death, if it happened, couldn’t have happened the same way since we’ve at least heard of a non-Cyborged Henshaw in Team 7 and Superboy and Steel just came out for the first time and it wasn’t because Supes died, not to mention half of Blackest Night is impossible due to key characters like the Earth 2 Superman and Alexander Luthor and even Vibe and Donna, et al that came back either not having existed until recently if at all; and Batwoman has similar problems with JH Williams claiming everything from Rucka’s run happened, and yet he still has Flamebird saying she fought Deathstroke as a Teen Titan when it’s obvious from that book she did no such thing) and all they would have had to do was either:

1. Do a COMPLETE reboot, not a half one.

or

2. Not state such a problematic timeframe.

squire as the new robin, harper as the new oracle.

Two things: I am still not sure if Damien is an actual child (born of Talia) or is he a grown clone? Other thing: why do comic book readers/fans act as if they have never heard of a thing called “suspension of disbelief?”

It is an essential thing, suspension, to enjoy just about anything.

Charles J. Baserap

February 27, 2013 at 6:07 am

Marc, there comes a point where belief has to be suspended so much to the point of absurdity, relative to the subject matter. Naturally, we all have to suspend belief, but when they do things that seem to break their own in-story rules and give needlessly complex non-explanations, it’s glaring and sometimes distracted. I agree we shouldn’t let it overpower the overall enjoyment, but at the same time, there’s suspension of belief and just pisspoor editorial planning and nonsense.

dc already decided to end batman inc once grant is done. though given how the dc has things like lazurs pits and magic . would not see damien being dead for long like maybe getting cloned. sad for found damien challenging including having batman learn how to balance his career with parenting. plus the fact that for so long dc denied and tried to make damin not exist saying a kid would age batman.

I really don’t get these people who talk rubbish about Morrison and glad he’s going away and stuff like that. The guy developed Damien into who you whiners grew to care for. When Damien came out most people hated him …and then showing how well Grant wrote him…many got to like him. If grant wants to kill him so be it. It’s about story, Who cares if he comes back as long as it’s a good story. You’d think comic fans would get by now that dead is a plot device in comics.

I would contest this passage:

“…let’s not forget that the writer began his run on the character by killing off Batman, and he didn’t stay dead long (actually, between “Batman: R.I.P.” and Final Crisis, Morrison killed Batman repeatedly).”

Morrison has always said he never wanted to just kill Bruce Wayne, that that wasn’t fitting enough for someone like him. You know, rot in purgatory and all that.

What a great issue though.

With regards to the point about Death In the Family, it doesn’t work from a storytelling standpoint.

As it is, the idea’s old hat. If you count Stephanie Brown as a Robin, we now have more Robins killed than not at this point (Todd, Brown and Wayne). Even if you don’t count her, accounting for New 52 continuity, you’ve still got two dead Robins to Dick Grayson (As Tim was never officially Robin anymore).

At this point, killing Robin’s become officially old hat. Couple in adding in Joker’s involvement and coinciding it with Death In the Family (Thus mirroring Todd’s death WAY too much) it becomes similar to the point of lacking any creativity. Almost a parody in the end.

That aside, Damian was Morrison’s baby and Morrison very rarely seems to get involved in events unless he’s writing them. No way does he let Snyder write Damian’s death without pitching a massive fit.

mike, squire as the new robin would be brilliant!

Batman Inc. has been in and out of continuity, so now it will just go away. That’s a drag but such is life.

But you can bet that there WILL be a Robin. There are already several, right?

The real question that I have is, what will artist Chris Burnham be doing next? Is his exclusive contract with DC over? I believe it was a 2-year deal beginning around March 2011, so… is he done with DC… and Batman? Hope not!

I really think Damian, a clone whose maternal family swears by the use of Lazarus Pits, will be back. If there was ever a character who has multiple ways of returning from the dead (even including the occasional “Superboy Punch = dead Robin return” option), it would be Damian Wayne. I think Morrison just wanted to finish his story the way he saw fit, and he always intended to kill Damian. Now, at least, when Damian does return, Morrison will know “his” version of Damian is dead, and future writers can do whatever the hell they want with the character. I just hope we don’t have to read a cliched story line of “Robin has come back evil! Bruce must save him!” when Damian is resurrected. I’m one of the many who hated the character at first, but really grew to appreciate him as time wore on. Hope he comes back soon. Titus will be so lonely.

Doesn’t this just undo the rift created by Death of the Family? Aren’t we supposed to be believe that everyone is estranged from Bruce? How exactly does that work when he now has to bury his biological son? There’s no way the characters as we’ve seen them (Dick, Barbara, Tim) would leave him to grieve alone. Well, not in a well written universe anyway. So in one issue the previous “event” is totally undone. If this were anything but 8 years in the making I’d say Morrison did it on purpose.

And I haven’t even brought up Damian as Bruce’s son being public knowledge. Combine this with Jason’s publicly known death and Bruce just looks like the worst parent/guardian ever and there would be an investigation.

“Damian’s existence necessitated a career of more than 10 years, and even if the in-progress storyline was retconned so that he was artificially aged, the question of how Batman trained and worked with a series of four Robins — Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake and Damian — in five or six years stretched credulity more so than just about any other aspect of Batman comics. Scott Snyder, Grant Morrison and most of the other Bat-writers dealt with this by ignoring it”

And THAT is why I stopped by DC comics altogether.

I always love the “that’s why I don’t buy DC anymore” type comments. I prefer to ignore the greater continuity/universe bullshit and enjoy the stories on their own. that’s why I enjoy Dial H, Wonder Woman and Inc…

“There’s no way the characters as we’ve seen them (Dick, Barbara, Tim) would leave him to grieve alone.”

By comparison, there’s no way Batman would take on another sidekick now that his dead sidekick ratio is sitting at 3:2 now. It just defies logic. Even his Bat-family, within reason, would likely side with him if he said he was done with it, the mortality rate is just awful. There’s simply no counter argument to Bruce pulling volume three of his “I lost a sidekick, working with me isn’t safe” routine. “Maybe you should just pack it in” holds more rational weight.

But he’s going to have another Robin eventually. That’s just how things work. Frankly, I hope the Gotham media flips out over it. It’s publicly known that Bruce has lost two Robins now (I don’t think Stephanie ever got any press attention), when’s the tipping point where a media crusade about this guy taking adolescents out to get beaten to death after two such incidents going to happen?

And if Bruce covers it up I can’t help but think of how bad it makes him look. As Superman says to him in The Dark Knight Returns. “Do you remember why you quit Bruce? And like a murderer you covered it up.” To avoid scrutiny he’d have to cover up the death of his child. So creepy.

The more you put the pieces together, the more Didio seems to have screwed the pooch with this “New 52″ with regards to Batman (and everyone else apparently). How short sighted can someone be? That said, the countdown to The Return of Damian! is on. 2 years or less!

Sure everyone comes back from the dead in comics. Case in point Jason Todd. But its not uncommon to have to wait 10-20 even 30 years for a character to come back.

I’ve said many times that when DC did this reboot it should have included Batman and Green Lantern. To me, that just would have made a lot more sense than the this-happned-that-didn’t reboot we got. The inclusion of the preexisting Batman and GL mythos into theis “new” continuity was the most egregious part of this ventue (from a creative standpoint anyways). Five years is not enough time for all of those things to have happened.

Bob from Accounting

February 27, 2013 at 9:54 am

“Doesn’t this just undo the rift created by Death of the Family? Aren’t we supposed to be believe that everyone is estranged from Bruce? How exactly does that work when he now has to bury his biological son? There’s no way the characters as we’ve seen them (Dick, Barbara, Tim) would leave him to grieve alone.”

Yeah, this is completely what my first thoughts were.

Charles J Baserap, thanks very much the rundown on the obvious inconsistencies in the bat-books (and also the gl books). Just like the Grumpy Old Fan and this current article by Aaron (I also concur, nice job Aaron!) pointed out as well, the Batbooks don’t fit AT ALL in the new continuity. The GL books are a mess too with the truncated timeline. IMO, the new-52’s new continuity is a total and utter mess. How could any head editor, Didio, Lee, Harras, think it was a good idea/!??!? There are so many things wrong with it, from the obvious and glaring continuity problems in the bat books and gl books, the books that were selling well and therefore were minimally rebooted, to the removal of popular characters (Stephanie Brown, Wally West, the JSA), to the pandering to special interest groups ( at the expense of their character’s legacies (i.e. making Alan Scott gay, and no, I’m not anti-gay, but I hated that arbitrary, huge change to the character just for marketing points, just create a new GL already!), and, finally, the incorporation of the Wildstorm characters which just don’t fit into the DCU at all (the whole reason the were made was as a contrast the iconic characters of the DCU. The Authority and the JLA in the same universe? How does that work? Oh, yeah, just make them a secret team called Stormwatch. Well, then, you’ve pulled the teeth out of what made Ellis’ Stormwatch and Authority books great in the first place!).

I would love to know who came up with the idea for the reboot and pushed it through. We know it wasn’t Morrison. I don’t think it was Geoff Johns either, since he loved the old continuity and tried to use it as much as possible and to great effect. I think it was all Lee, Didio, and probably Harras. And the thing is, the reboot was both damaging and totally unnecessary. You want to alienate Superman? Kill his wife Lois. Done!

And I haven’t read Morrison’s Superman run yet. I’m a fan of his and I’m sure it will be, at the very least, interesting. But is it actually any better than Waid’s Superman: Birthright or Geoff’s Superman: Secret Origin series? I thought both those previous origin stories, as well as Byrne’s, were great.

Several of DC’s writers have expressed in interviews, not very explicitly obviously, but their are indications that they’re very unhappy with the blatant inconsistincies and problems with the new-52’s history. How could any professional editor sign off on something so broken?

I also agree with you, Charles, that a clean-up event is needed. Zero-Hour was specifically done to clean up the mess with Legion of Superheroes continuity brought about by Crisis on Infinite Earths (in constrast, the continuity changes in Infinite Crisis were used to re-introduce older concepts from the prior-Crisis universe and to explain prior changes to continuity (i.e. GL’s changed origin). Well, the continuity and history problems present from not rebooting the Batman and GL franchises are far far greater with the New 52 in this case.

As for Damian, I love that kid. Tim Drake was my Robin (I hate his redefined origin. Tim Drake was essentially removed, like Alan Scott and others, and replaced with a doppleanger in the New 52). I liked him a lot and collected his book for a few years. But I love Damian! That kid was just such a fun, crazy character. He really rocked the bat-boat and played off Dick and Bruce so well. I understand that killing him off thematically fits Morrison’s story and that it will be great drama for its effects on Bruce, Dick, Alfred, and the others, but dang, I will really miss that kid! I really really hope he gets resurrected, even if it compromises Morrison’s story (sorry Grant, you did too good a job with this character, I want him back).

The New 52: “Thanks for all the cash you spent last month, folks! Now FORGET EVERYTHING YOU JUST READ, because NONE OF IT COUNTS ANYMORE…unless you’re reading the Bat books or the Lantern books, in which case IT ALL HAPPENED, only over a period of five years instead of fifteen. So there have been five Robins in five years, and this ten-year-old kid was born and grew to his current age in about four years, and Hal Jordan has quit or been fired from the Green Lantern Corps about every six months since Abin Sur picked him. Enjoy!”

This issue (and the epilogue issues of Batman Inc.) are and will be the ripping away of the last vestiges of the pre-52 reboot. With Damian gone, the focus will return to Snyder as the sole showrunner behind “new” 52 continuity. With this death comes the death of anything inherent to the “soul” of the former DCU.

I think Morrison will bring back a damian in his last issue. I think it will be a left over clone without all of damian memories of his father but he will look like damian. So he is not really bringing damian back as the person with his experiences is gone. Otherwise there is too much left open from Morrisons story line re talia’s cloning bioengineering lab. Doing this will also reduce the likelihood of another writer bringing back the original damian.

Good riddance to that overhyped Scrappy.

Now would be the perfect time to bring in Stephanie Brown to set her up as Robin, so that she can take over when Tomasi’s “Batman and Red Robin” and “Batman and Red Hood” arcs are over. However, I agree that it’s way more likely they’ll push Harper Row into that role. Personally, I think that’s a huge mistake, but DC seems to be doing this a lot lately – setting things up well for something good, and then pulling away at the last second for something mediocre.

Stephanie Brown is probably the worst Batcharacter ever created. Her replacing Damian would be terrible.

this is the most stupidiest death since supermans and peter pakers and its not permanent for those with a fucking brain

I hope the death is perminate. Two reasons: A. Because death is to much of a joke where no one stays dead for longer five second anymore. B. I hate damien and was worst Robin ever. Please don’t give Robin to throw away and badly named character Harper Row. Who the hell is that? Seriously you have Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain just sitting around doing nothing.

The funny thing is that it was in a stephanie brown batgirl book that i started liking damian pre-new 52. now neither of them exist. squire would be a cool new robin since she doesnt have a batman anymore. i don’t know how many more unnecessary write-offs of characters i just started liking or re-liking i can take.

DC was dying before the new 52 so the fact that dollars and market share went up makes it a success…whether the continuity is flawed or not. There are people who just read Inc, or just read barman, who have no idea what’s happening in the other book. The stories are just fine to them. I’m not saying dollars should override good editing….but the reality is, it does.

Awesome article.

I got right into Gran’ts Batman run reading trades and have been getting the singles and have set up a subscription. I think it’s hands down the best comics work I’ve read. Trumps both Moorse and Miller for me. Once Morrison’s finished on batman so am I!

In the words of a late ten year old – “Tt!”

This is comics writing at its best. If you can’t kill an icon, you create one specifically designed to later kill. The loss of a child that became Robin NOT by Bruce Wayne, but by self appointment with Dick Grayson as original partner. The loss of a son will create big time issues for Wayne and is something to be studied in comics.

Like it or not, its historic and forget you critics, historians will remember it as a watershed moment in comics

Most of you with the ‘how old is Batman’ issue needs to watch the video when Morrison was asked the same question.

i cant believe they really killed damian. i hope he comes back in the future i would hate to see him killed off roght there. I think damian is my favorite robin because he is such a ass ,and a swee heart and the fact that he is bruces realy son is just flippin awesome. ;( He is died it sucks.

in loving memory of damian. His favorite line (Tt)

I have to say Damian is my favorite Robin.

I read Batman, Batman Inc, and Batman and Robin. I’ll continue Batman as long as I enjoy it. Batman Inc is ending soon anyway. But I’m dropping Batman and Robin once the title changes. I read that book because it co-stared Damian. But going 3 books to 1? My wallet is happier.

Curious to see how they’ll handle writing Bruce as a parent who grew attached to and then lost his child. Not particularly excited for that…and hoping it won’t last long.

Chris K:
what interview is that? I’d like to watch.

Interesting article, but there are a few misguided elements as it pertains to the history of Morrison’s entire Batman run up to this point, as well as Damian’s implications on the DCU.

It has to be understood and maintained that although Morrison is an outgoing writer, Damian Wayne is still basically HIS character, as he has been able to dictate where and how he is used. Damian’s uses in other corners of the DCU have been relatively minimal, and Morrison has stated openly that he had plans to kill Damian off in the first arc he appeared in back in 2006 (“Batman and Son,” issues #655-658).

The fact that Morrison finally did kill Damian off has nothing to do with who’s “hot” at the time (IE Snyder) and everything to do with the thematic aims of Morrison’s years-long story. The endings lining up may look suspect, but even if Damian’s death was in the cards for “Death of the Family,” I think it makes greater sense for the character to die at the hands of his creator rather than Snyder, and Mike Marts apparently agreed with me (if there was ever actually a debate).

Morrison has also repeatedly said that the Incorporated title would finish with his tenure on the title, which line-editor Mike Marts indicated to me in an interview I conducted with him for Batman-On-Film last year. Inc. Volume 2 was created specifically for Morrison to finish his story, and while the continuity is cumbersome, Marts also indicated that the entirety of Morrison’s story was unequivocally a part of New 52 continuity. Does it make a whole lot of sense when dissecting it?

No, but neither does the induction of 3 additional Earth Green Lanterns in such a short time, as well as Hal Jordan’s death and resurrection and the discovery of the Emotional Spectrum, along with the Sinestro Corps War and the events of Blackest Night, Brightest Day, and the War of the Green Lanterns. In that regard, it’s JUST AS, if not MORE problematic for the DC Universe to condense the entire history of Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern run (especially Rebirth) into that five-year time span. It can work, though, because fans remember, and fiction operating off of a floating timeline has a lot of ambiguous rules attached to it.

With all of these preserved elements, we’re also supposed to believe that the start of “Death of the Family” occurred a full year after the New 52 #1’s, since Joker’s face-removal from Detective #1 was said to have taken place a full year before. Do people care? No, not if the comics are enjoyable. Continuity’s a state of mind, and the individual reader largely decides their own sequence of events anyways.

i believe there will be no new Robin until Damian will be brought back.

tots agree

Nice article the fact that Damian was 10was brought up so much, but the point that he was aged in the lab and was not a natural born child wasn’t brought up doesn’t make sense.

RobinMarkFive

March 4, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Honestly, I know that everyone’s playing the ‘Batman and Robin never die’ tune, and hoping that Bruce will get a new Robin, but let’s be serious for a second here–he’s gotten two kids killed. Two. One of whom was his actual son who was just learning how not to be such a prick. Not the mention the crippling injuries the other members of the Batfam have undergone.

If he gets a new Robin so soon after Damian’s death (at least give us a year) I’m going to flip my shit. Because really all that makes Bruce out to be is a giant asshole in love with justice who doesn’t even care about the well being of children, and won’t even take the time to properly mourn his own dead son.

At the risk of being flamed by those who are very dedicated to Damian, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, I feel compelled to say that Damian was actually one of my least favorite Robins. I think he was a well crafted character, a troubled soul battling to be good but never able to escape his evil heritage and upbringing. But for me, the redemption aspect grew old and I never cared too much for this character. I was somewhat relived that the storyline might be renewed and refreshed without the Damian character. Although I do hope there will be a new Robin, and that this legacy will carry on.

What book did that third picture come from? The one with the rest of the BatFamily confronting Bruce and Damian?

R.I.P. Damian

Biggest mistake they had was putting Dick back in a RED nightwing costume. Having 2 batman made sense, it freed up Bruces time to expand. Dick had worked hard for it, and now they’ve just gone back to the status quo.

Why kill off Bruce Wayne’s own son? Damian helps change the whole dynamic of the Bat family: Dick is the light-hearted person, despite going through the same past as Bruce, making him a great leader. Jason is the darker reflection of Bruce, to highlight the absence of his parents. Tim never went through a bad past, but his courage gave Bruce something to respect him for. Damian is what Bruce was like when he was younger: arrogant and violent, but compassionate.

Or is it maybe the powers that be don’t want their heros to be adults?

Riddler DIddler Dum

August 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Damian was an awful little brat: he was also a killer.Doesn’t that break Batman’s moral code, or does his son get let off while Jason Todd didn’t (and there is still no proof that Jason kiiled Felipe Garzonas). It seems Damian got away with everything just because he was Bruce’s son. Tim Drake (the best Robin after Dick Grayson) was treated like a joke when Damian turned up. I still find it unbelievable that a ten year old kid beat Robin/Drake – who has fought the baddest of the bad and who was taught in combat by Batman and Lady Shiva. Drake should have kicked Damian up the ass, and Tim should also have never have left the position of Robin… I think of the criticism Jason Todd got before his demise in Batman 427 , but Damian was a million times worse. Grant Morrison has done plenty of damage to the Batman legend (the horrendous Batman RIP, and laughable villains like Dr. Hurt, The Black Glove and Jezebel Jet for a start!), and Damian was bloody awful too!

Ta-Ta, Scrappy Doo… You won’t be missed.

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