SPOILER WARNING####### Over the last several years the death of classic comic book character have become commonplace ... as has their resurrection, but that's another story. But DC and writer Grant Morrison's decision to kill Damian Wayne in the pages of this week's Batman, Incorporated #8 feels a little different. Maybe it's because the character has only been around about six-and-a-half years as is. But as Morrison and other DC creators have made it clear already today, this was always to be Damian's fate, and in fact it's coming much later than originally planned. While there is sure to be debate over whether his death is the right fate for a character who was often a very polarizing one amongst fans, Newsarama thought we'd get out front of the issue and offer both a pro and con position to today's big news.
Here are our reasons why killing Damian Wayne was the right move, and why it was not.Give the following a read and then tell us: where do you fall in this ideological debate?
PRO by Graeme McMillanThis is why it's a good idea to kill Damian Wayne: That's what he's there for.
Okay, that might be a slight overstatement, but it's not as if the idea of Damian dying hasn't been raised more than once by this point in his short existence. After all, Grant Morrison has not only previously admitted that his original plan was to kill the character at the end of the original "Batman and Son" storyline, but his first issue of the current Batman Incorporated series ended with a (faked) death for the latest Boy Wonder.
Damian's death also echoes a number of things from Morrison's run to date. Putting aside the obvious parallels to "Batman R.I.P." - with its first page pronouncement, likely important here, that "Batman and Robin will never die!" as new people take on both roles, a reminder that Robin is an identity that gets passed on and on - Damien could be seen as a more positive, more active take on the idea of children as weapons that has become more and more a part of Morrison's current "Leviathan" storyline; whereas Talia's child army is willing to die for her cause through brainwashing, when given his choice of destiny, Damian rejected her and strove to be worthy of his father's legacy, instead. Fittingly bleak, then, if that decision leads to his death - and a further raising of the stakes in the war between Batman and Talia, after the recent death of the Knight has already demonstrated the deadly cost of standing in Leviathan's way, and a deeper demoralization of the good guys when all seems most bleak.
Morrison has said in an interview that this second series of Incorporated is "a big 'weepy' type of story" that "finished everything, dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's, and left no stone unturned" on his run to date. Killing Damian does that in a literal way; just as Morrison's first arc introduced the character, his final arc takes the character away, right…?
More importantly, it underscores the essential tragedy at the heart of Batman in a way that goes beyond Scott Snyder's "Death of the Family" storyline - something that, now, almost seems like a feint to lure attention away from Morrison's plans, given the near-promise of familial disaster and strife it offered from the very start - in that it offers Bruce Wayne the genuine, literal family that he's lacked since the death of his parents, only to pull it away from him just as he was starting to get used to the idea.Whatever character becomes the next incarnation of Robin - and, surely, one will; we know that much, at least - he or she will be unable to truly replace Damian for Batman, and that is the grim genius of the decision. The death of this Robin isn't a phone stunt to raise sales or the latest in a long line of meaningless superhero deaths; it's a storytelling choice that, oddly, strengthens the central character in the narrative, restoring the idea of Batman as being alone even in a world where he has his pick of sidekicks, and in doing so, restoring the idea of Batman as being a hero born of, and continually and constantly haunted by, tragedy.
CON by Lucas Siegel
This is why it’s a bad idea to kill Damian Wayne: He's outgrown being simply a Grant Morrison plot point.
Morrison himself has said as much. The character, the son of Talia al Ghul and Bruce Wayne, was originally intended to die at the end of his very first storyline, as Graeme mentioned. That Damian’s creator himself altered original his plans goes to show the character as outgrown his origin. Further indicating the new Robin was taking on a life of this own, Morrison let other DC writers get their put their stamp on him.The first writer to really get a chance to play with the new Boy Wonder outside of his creator was Pete Tomasi, who had been the editor of Damian’s first appearance (and story arc). Tomasi helped take the still-fledgling character and added new layers, while also building his relationship with his father. While Bruce Wayne had played the “father figure” role to his previous Robins, and in a more literal sense to Tim Drake (prior to the reboot), this time he was a father. Their give-and-take transcended the partner dynamic, or the teacher/student or even general/soldier we’d seen in the past. As they grew as a family, it became more and more clear that Damian, a true son, could be Bruce’s salvation, just as Robin in his figurative sense was always Batman’s saving grace.
But Damian’s relationship with the other members of the Bat family, along with his growth under other writers, is the real reason killing him is a bad idea. Dick Grayson had been a leader of teams, and he and Tim will always have a special friendship, but in Damian he found a brother, and someone he could truly mentor.
Make no mistake, Bruce Wayne never would have been able to change Damian in the dramatic initial way that Dick did. Damian, likewise, made Dick finally believe that he could be the great hero – maybe the greatest hero – of his kind.Alongside Tomasi, Sterling Gates, Scott Snyder, JT Krul, and more, proved that his killer instinct, balanced by his extreme training and eagerness to please his father, combined to create a character whose distinct voice could transcend one writer, relationship, or storyline. The simple fact is, not enough writers have gotten to play with Damian yet, and not enough characters have gotten to find out what Damian’s influence on them, and vice-versa, would be.
Now, none of the Damian faithful want to see his “Batman #666” future come to pass, but we don’t want there to be no future, either. With all of the quality younger characters thrown out with the New 52 bath water, we need to hang on to the good ones we have. Death doesn’t need to be the ultimate step for a character’s arc: that well is drier than the desert sands Damian once trained in. Let a character grow, let a character move beyond his creator and into the lasting lexicon. Damian Wayne should live on, and show the world the influence he still has to offer.
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