Goodbye, Little Bird – The Eulogy of Damian Wayne, AKA Robin V
First off, before any smart asses bring up the title, I still count Stephanie Brown and Tim Drake as Robins. I don’t care what Dan Didio or anyone at DC Editorial says. But yeah, today a Robin fell…again. This is like the third Robin to die in the line of duty, although fortunately one turned out to be a cover-up and actually lived and the other was brought back to life. However, this one seems to have been planned pretty much since conception, so while I cling to hope he may return, I have to take this time to say a fond farewell to Damian Wayne, AKA the Fifth Robin.
Damian’s run in DC Comics can technically be traced back to the 1987 book Son of the Demon, but the canonicity of it is kinda tricky, so let’s instead look to his début à la Grant Morrison‘s run on Batman. Damian is the son of Batman and Talia al Ghul, he was grown in an artificial womb and raised by the League of Assassins. One day, Talia just drops Damian in on Bruce and tells him he needs to take care of him for a time, though really it was just to mess with him. Immediately, he was a problem, trying to beat Tim to death so he could replace him as Robin and even murdering one of Batman’s enemies, but it becomes clear that he DOES mean to do well and wants to be accepted by Bruce, however misguided his efforts are.
During an event where Batman was believed to have been killed by Darkseid, Dick Grayson was eventually convinced that he needed to become Batman. Believing that Damian needed guidance and seeing Tim Drake more as an equal than a sidekick, Dick took Damian on as his Robin. The two formed a unique version of the Dynamic Duo, with Dick being a more light-hearted Batman while Damian, to be blunt, was dark and brooding like his father. When Bruce returned, they continued to serve in such capacity within the newborn Batman Incorporated, but eventually Dick stepped down to become Nightwing again.
Bruce and Damian’s partnership was rocky at best, due to Damian trying to suppress the murderous instincts ingrained into his mind by the League of Assassins and Bruce’s lack of experience as a father. However, as they realise they lack an understanding of each other, they open up to each other. Their partnership is later hampered when Damian’s own mother, seeing Damian siding with Batman against her, puts a bounty on his head that the most lethal assassins in the world try to cash in on. However, this isn’t the worst of Bruce’s worries, believing his son is more than capable of protecting himself. Rather, he had received a vision of the future upon his return of a post-apocalyptic Gotham where Bruce is dead and Damian makes a deal with the devil to become Gotham’s new protector, only for everything to fall apart and for Gotham to be destroyed. This is eventually proven false when it turns out the one set to one day obtain this title is actually The Heretic, who turns out to be Damian’s genetically cloned brother. With Batman held captive by Talia and The Heretic, and much of Batman Incorporated overtaken, Damian comes to their rescue, but is ultimately murdered by The Heretic.
Now, as I said before, I’m still clinging to hope that they find some way to bring Damian back. However, in the off-chance that they don’t, I would just like to say that Damian was never a perfect Robin, and I don’t know if I’d call him the best, but he was a hero, and don’t anyone dare try to take that away from him. And if there was one thing I can give him, above all else, is that despite being the youngest Robin, he may have been the single most fearless of them in the face of evil.
- Robin the Boy Wonder Killed Off in Latest Batman Comic (theepochtimes.com)
- DC Histories: Damian Wayne (Robin V) (ifanboy.com)
- Why Dc? Why?! (thebeardygeek.wordpress.com)