Son of the Bat. Heir of the Demon. Just one of these titles would be enough to lead to a complicated life, but Damian doesn’t do things by halves. Who is this kid? Is he really Batman’s son or just an elaborate trap by the al Ghul’s? Let’s find out.
Damian was conceived during a time when Batman and Talia al Ghul were still happily in love, but by the time he would be born that happiness was gone. Talia kept Damian a secret, raising him more as an experiment than a child. He was raised by herself and the League of Assassins, making him a magnificent killer. Like many things Talia did, she revealed Damian to his father when she thought it was strategically to her advantage.
Upon meeting the boy, Batman was shocked, believing this to be another trick of Talia and her father. Damian was left with his dad so that he could be a distraction to him. Since Damian had been raised as royalty and by murderers, he was a spoiled brat ready to kill anyone who displeased him and fully capable of doing so. That’s a great distraction, Talia.
Damian immediately took on Tim Drake, at that time Robin, as his enemy since he desired to be Robin instead. In his first few encounters with his father, to gain his approval, Damian took to vigilantism, but in the most extreme fashion and killed a criminal. Having been raised to do as he pleased and kill with impunity, Damian didn’t have much in the way of social interaction. When Batman sought Talia out to confirm Damian’s connection to him, both Talia and Damian were caught in an explosion. They survived, but Damian required a lot of medical attention, something Talia always kept an eye on.
When Damian learned that his grandfather was still somewhat alive, he also learned that it was his intention to take over Damian’s body to renew his own life. Damian fled to his father, but since he hadn’t made a good first impression with Tim, he ended up having to fight Robin. When Ra’s and his people arrived, Tim and Damian worked together, until Damian tried to betray Tim for his own self interest. This didn’t go as planned, and the two ended up captured by Ra’s. Batman tricked Ra’s to go with him to better revive him, while Damian, Talia, and the Bat-family fought off Ra’s’s goons. When all was said and done, Damian left his father again to be with his mother. Batman had finished his own tests to prove Damian was his biological son.
When Damian discovered a plot to kill his father, he and his mother teamed up with Commissioner Gordon and Alfred Pennyworth to try and save him. It seemed as though Batman had been killed, and with that, Damian was under the care of Dick Grayson, Nightwing, the original Robin. As Damian dealt with the loss of a father he never truly knew, he lashed out and was attacked by Jason Todd, the second Robin and current Red Hood. While fighting Jason, Dick was nearly killed, but saved by Damian. This rescue proved to Dick that Damian could be Robin to his Batman, and thus began a new era of Batman and Robin.
The new Batman and Robin were different from the standard format in which the more serious Batman is mellowed out by the upbeat Robin, since the roles had been reversed. Dick Grayson as Batman was far more personable, and Damian Wayne as Robin was far more brooding. His first year as Robin was filled with dealing with some of Batman’s more murderous villains, and a new one in Professor Pyg, a maniac who transforms people into “dolls.” One of these dolls that Damian failed to save joined Jason Todd to be his sidekick in his violent vigilante actions as Scarlet to his Red Hood. Damian was paralyzed by a criminal, but thanks to Talia he was brought back to fighting form with a new spine.
That new spine came with a caveat. Talia could control all of Damian’s actions if she chose to. Upon sending out the mercenary Deathstroke to bring Damian back to her, Damian was frozen and then put under the control of Deathstroke. Dick was able to save him, and upon seeing his loyalty to Dick and the ideals of Batman, Talia gave Damian back control of his own body. She went on to begin making a clone of Damian that would be loyal to her, which would not bode well for Damian.
Upon seeing his clone, Talia admitted that while she loved her son, she could not abide by her son going so against her own views. Damian was told that he was now an enemy of the House of al Ghul, to which Damian responded that he hoped to be a worthy enemy. That was really harsh to do to someone who was on the early end of the double digits.
It turned out that his father was not dead, but actually trapped in the past fighting his way back to the present (it happens to even the best of us). During the chaos of his father’s return, the family also dealt with the Joker and the Black Glove, an organization that wanted to destroy Batman. The group was successful in stopping the Joker and the Black Glove. Batman told Damian that he was proud of him and glad that he was doing what he’s doing. Effectively, Damian just lived Bruce Wayne’s own wish of his father returning to life and being proud.
Damian joined the Teen Titans shortly after, in an attempt to make friends. He almost made friends with Ravager, daughter of Deathstroke, since the two could relate to being trained to kill by their parents. His time with the Titans was short-lived when Tim Drake returned as Red Robin. Damian saw no need to stay, and realized he had a friend in Dick Grayson.
Attempting to work with his father as Batman, Damian had a tough time dealing with his father since they were too similar in personality. As Batman Inc. took off, Leviathan (Talia’s counter-measure to a world of Batmen) put a hit out on Damian. Batman tried to protect him by faking Damian’s death and hiding him away in the Batcave. Damian escaped under the guise of Redbird, to disguise himself from people seeking Damian or Robin.
When it became apparent that Redbird wasn’t a disguise anymore, Damian went out boldly as Robin. In a confrontation at Wayne Enterprises, his family’s company, fighting alongside his friend and brother, Dick Grayson, the two aided in stopping the death of many employees of the building. Finally meeting his fully grown clone, The Heretic, Damian went in to stop him, and failed. The Heretic killed Damian, leaving the Bat-family to mourn.
So there you have it, the spoiled, murderous brat who took a new path upon losing his father. While he never lost his arrogance, he definitely did his damnedest to become a hero even if it meant losing his mother, as well. He wanted to be a better person, and found his father’s cause was the best path to do it. He was abrasive, but he won over his eldest brother and the man his own father could call dad. He might not have been the best Robin, but he was the best he could be. Goodbye Damian. For now. This is comics after all.
Batman & Son
Batman and Robin
The Return of Ra’s al Ghul