- Damian Wayne, despite his divisive nature, is growing and evolving as a character, as seen in Batman and Robin #1.
- Through Damian’s relationships with Bruce and other members of the Bat-Family, he has overcome his initial struggles and developed as a hero.
- Damian’s newfound creative side, and secret fan-fiction, showcases his growth and ability to stand apart from his Robin predecessors.
The following contains major spoilers for Batman and Robin #1, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
Since his introduction, Damian Wayne has divided fans in almost every possible way. He has also put the Bat-Family on their back foot on more than one occasion, both due to his coldly callous demeanor and overtly violent tendencies. Thankfully, Damian has come into his own outside the dark shadows cast on him from birth to at least some degree, and if his self-inspired fan-fiction is any indication, he is only going to get better as time goes on.
Following a harrowing encounter with the villainous White Rabbit, the eponymous heroes of Batman and Robin #1 (by Joshua Williamson, Simone Di Meo, and Steve Wands) return to Wayne Manor to regroup and recuperate. When invited out for the evening by one of his daily life acquaintances, Bruce declines the offer, noting that this is the weekend when Damian is finally moving in with him. While Bruce is openly excited about the prospect of spending more time with his son outside the field, Damian is reluctant to see their relationship progress at any rapid pace. At least, that is the general demeanor Damian exudes in the open. The fan-fiction he has been writing about himself in secret, however, paints a far different picture of what the young Caped Crusader really wants out of life.
How Damian Wayne Began as Batman’s Dark Reflection
Although retroactive continuity has placed Damian’s first pre-New 52 appearance as far back as 1987’s Batman: Son of the Demon (by Mike W. Barr and Jerry Bingham), it wasn’t until 2006’s “Batman & Son” storyline that ran through the pages of Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert’s run on Batman that Damian truly stepped into the DC Universe. The son of Bruce and Thalia al Ghul, Damian was trained nearly from birth to become the League of Assassins’ perfect weapon. When Thalia determined Damian was of age, he was brought to Gotham City to meet his father.
Initially, the two couldn’t find much in the way of common ground, though once they did, Damian was quick to join the Bat-Family as the fifth Robin. While Damian was sympathetic to Bruce’s non-lethal tactics, he still struggled to come to terms with that mission after so many years of being trained specifically to kill. For as much of a wedge as this drove between them, Bruce and Damian still overcame their differences when and where it mattered the most. This was true of Damian’s relationships with most members of the Bat-Family, a few of which may have even lent themselves more toward his development as a character than his relationship with Bruce.
How Damian Wayne Has Evolved Since His DC Comics Debut
As formative as his earliest outings as Robin at Bruce’s side were for Damian, his time fighting alongside Dick Grayson when the latter picked up the mantle of Batman were just as if not even more defining. Not only did Damian have to learn to respect someone who he originally felt was beneath him in every way, he had to come to terms with the fact that he was in no way ready to take up his father’s legacy in spite of being the Dark Knight’s “rightful heir” by birth. By the time Bruce returned from his apparent demise, Damian had already broken out of the cold, calculating shell that used to hold him back.
This trend of forming new, meaningful relationships and allowing them to bring out seemingly new sides of his personality continued for Damian as he gained more heroic allies than those the Batcave had to offer. Damian’s time with the Teen Titans exposed him to numerous different personality types that he had previously only encountered in passing. Similarly, his short-lived stint with the Justice League showed him both how vast the threats he would have to deal with could be, as well as how much the small, interpersonal moments that happen during them truly matter. These experiences didn’t necessarily hone Damian’s worldview into that of a normal teenager. They did give him a chance to expand it beyond what the League of Assassins or Bat-Family could teach him, though, and that shows in just how much of a normal teenager Damian is becoming whether he likes it or not.
Why Damian Wayne Deserves a Normal-ish Life in DC Comics
This isn’t to say that loosely translating his actual superheroic adventures into a fan-fic of himself is normal, but rather that fantasizing about the version of himself that he wants to be is completely normal compared to Damian’s usual endeavors. Whereas Damian would have once scoffed at the idea of indulging in creative efforts, let alone semi-fictional ones, today it is simply something he would prefer keeping to himself. Maybe it is a guilty pleasure, or maybe he is worried other people will judge for it, but whatever the case is, Damian’s creative side coming out whatsoever is indicative of just how much he has changed since his debut, and only for the better.
Even if this alone doesn’t suddenly make Damian more relatable to his fellow heroes, it is absolutely a sign that they have more in common than the circumstances of whatever supervillain or Crisis brings them together next. It is also a potent indicator that Damian has found at least one outlet for himself apart from beating up goons, dismantling ancient conspiracies, or hunting down supervillains. If anything, it is tacit confirmation that Damian is well on his way toward becoming more like Dick Grayson or Jon Kent than anyone else. By letting go of what others expect of him, no matter how slowly, Damian has guaranteed himself a place in the DC Universe that is capable of standing completely on its own.
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