by Jeremy DeFatta
Happy new book day, everyone! For this week, let’s take a break from Bruce Wayne and have a look at his son, the beloved/hated Damian. Though he is (potential spoiler) currently dead in continuity, Damian has featured in some great Batman stories, and the possible future in which he becomes Batman is perhaps one of the strongest. Let’s dive in!
Damian Wayne is the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, which makes him the grandson of Ra’s al Ghul and heir to the League of Assassins, with whom he trained throughout his childhood. Continuity is spotty on a few details here, but it appears that Damian is actually a clone of his parents and that Bruce was unaware of him until he was roughly 10 years old.
Damian was (officially) created by Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert in their Batman and Son story arc in the main Batman title, where he became the fifth Robin (pre-New 52). This creative team and others have gone on to use the character in many projects in the years since. Damian featured heavily throughout Morrison’s tenure on Batman, appearing in many of his strongest stories—The Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul, Batman R.I.P., Batman and Robin/Batman Reborn (with Frank Quitely), and Batman, Inc., to name but a few.
Perhaps the most enduring visions of Damian come to us through some single issues of the Batman series that show a dark, corrupt, Blade Runner-esque future Gotham where Bruce Wayne has (supposedly) been dead for years and Damian has risen to take his place. This bleak future was first introduced in Batman #666 and revisited in several other short stories, including the landmark Batman #700, which can still be found in collected editions or as single issues. These stories are a treat, and I recommend seeking them out at your local comic shops forthwith.
Though Damian was killed off by Morrison in the pages of Batman, Inc., the character’s co-creator, Andy Kubert, has been spearheading a fairly successful non-continuity series chronicling Damian’s rise to the role of Batman entitled (appropriately enough) Damian: Son of Batman. I haven’t had the chance to read much of it yet (it is currently ongoing), but what I have seen of it is great. I highly recommend looking into it at your local comic shops.
I plan on returning to Damian (and Batman’s other heirs) in future installments of this column, but I wanted to provide a basic primer here today.
Further, I was remiss in not mentioning Bill Finger (1914-1974) last week. Finger, who would have turned 100 years old on February 8th, is the co-creator of Batman— the writer to Bob Kane’s artist. Finger deserves at least as much recognition for the creation of the Dark Knight as Kane still receives. Much like Batman, may his legend grow and never die.
My comic picks for this week:
Justice League #28
Batman Beyond Universe #7
Avengers World #3
Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts on Damian Wayne, Batman in general, this week’s picks (there are many throughout the post and following), or anything else that fits the topic. I’ll be back with more on Batman next week. Tweet me @quaintjeremy.
P.S.: A bonus treat if you’ve read this far—the trailer for DC’s animated Son of Batman film due out soon:
Image: Promotional cover art for Batman #666, by Andy Kubert. All DC Comics characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are Trademarks & Copyright © 1935-2013 DC Comics, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Via Wikimedia.