In case the news did not pass you yesterday, a rather huge event happened in the Bat-universe with the death of Bruce Wayne’s son, Damian. Now, the current Robin was certainly a dick for most of the time the character has been written, but really wouldn’t you be also if you were raised like he was?
Over the past year through the different Bat titles he has gone through a maturation process and embraced his role as Bruce Wayne’s son and what that meant in the legacy of the Wayne family name. So when a character turns a corner like this, the next logical step is death. Hey, it’s comics. Damian was killed by his mother Talia, well to be more specific by her monster soldier named Heretic, who was acting on her orders. For those of you who did not read Batman, Inc. #8, Damian went out like a champ making the beating Jason Todd took from The Joker look like a love tap session.
So where does Batman go from here? Yes, we understand this is the world of comics where characters can come back on a whim and death is never…well, death. But this is a life shattering event in the life of Bruce Wayne. When Jason Todd was murdered it scarred Bruce Wayne for the twenty or so years until Todd was brought back as Red Hood (again, comics). This should, and better, have a bigger resonance with Bruce. While he has always treated every Robin as his own son, this is his ACTUAL son. A test tube one yes, but Damian came from him nevertheless.
The next few issues of Bat titles will be interesting to read and see what direction this takes the Batman character. The first title to handle this will be Detective Comics #18. The title has been in the middle of a big Penguin storyline that honestly is going nowhere for me, so I hope the team of John Layman and Jason Fabok can bring their A game.
The title I am looking forward to the most in this post-Damian world is easily Batman and Robin #18. I bet you thought I was going to say Batman with my love of Scott Snyder right? Sorry to disapoint, but the reason I say Batman and Robin is that Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s title is easily my second favorite of all the Bat tiles and the one that has truly explored the father/son dynamic of Bruce and Damian better than anyone. They have tackled the issue of Damian taking his first life and shown Damian’s love for his father by sending him on a worldwide trip to rediscover Thomas and Martha’s love for each other (even though he used that to dress up as Batman). And the team is doing something unique for their upcoming issue #18.
Batman and Robin #18 will be a completely silent issue. No words will be spoken. Peter Tomasi is leaving the entire issue to artist Patrick Gleason to show how Bruce deals with the death of his son in art alone. After that, Tomasi plans to take Bruce through the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) and then the title will be renamed with whichever member of the Bat-family is in the issue at the time, like Batman and Red Hood, etc.
Ironically enough, Damian’s death is coming off the huge Death of the Family story arc spearheaded by Scott Snyder, who brought The Joker back more sadistic than we have ever seen. As Batman #17 ended, it seemed that as Bruce was coming to trust everyone with more secretive information, but The Joker put a crack in their trust in Bruce and have started to distance themselves. Will Damian’s death be a catalyst for them to band together for Bruce’s sake?
Exactly how Damian’s death will be handled in other titles are not exactly known at this time, but needless to say this should rock Batman and the entire family to the core.