Maybe I’m Just Like My Mother

May 6th, 2010 by | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Grant Morrison, Andy Clarke, Scott Hanna, and Dustin Nguyen’s Batman & Robin 12 reveals the identity of Oberon Sexton and sets up the next arc of Grant Morrison’s Batman mega-story. That’s nice and all, but what I dug most about the issue was something else entirely.

A preface: I’m not 100% sold on Batman & Robin. The art has been shaky when done by people not named Cameron Stewart or Frank Quitely. The story hasn’t been hitting on all cylinders. I’ve talked about this with David Uzumeri, the #1 Batmannotations guy on the internet, because I was confused. I like Morrison. I like Batman. I like Damian. This should be clicking for me, but it wasn’t. This issue, though, came the closest to the knock-your-socks-off spectacular I was expecting. And it wasn’t because of Oberon Sexton. It was this scene:

Maybe I’m a sucker for parental issues, but this is it. This is Morrison fully bringing Damian into the Bat-family and setting him on his path to be a hero. Batman began fighting crime as revenge on crime itself. Dick Grayson brought a much-needed light to incredible darkness. Tim Drake did it because Batman and Robin can never die. Babs Gordon did it because it was fun and because helping people is in her blood. Cassandra Cain did it as penance.

Damian, ten years old, just slightly older than his father was when he made a vow to avenge the death of his parents, has finally found a cause. His father, bleeding to death, said, “Yes. Father. I shall become a bat” and chose to honor his parents through his life’s work. His mother raised him to be a killer and run roughshod over the world. His father, and his father’s family, treated him with love and kindness. They treated him like a person. His mother is cold, distant, and considers him a tool.

Batman wants to fight crime. His biological son has a more focused target, a specific representation of crime. The son of the world’s greatest detective and the heir to the world’s foremost criminal empire has chosen a side: his father’s side. Damian’s cause is to be a worthy enemy for the daughter of the greatest criminal mastermind on the planet.

I also enjoyed this:

“You’re nothing, old man. I can end you whenever I want to.”

This is how you do fall-out from an event.

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14 comments to “Maybe I’m Just Like My Mother”

  1. Ooh, that also makes me interested in Talia in the heir apparent role.

  2. Man, I wish that Dick could stay Batman. Just like I wish that Bucky could be Captain America. But I guess their “brave new eras” couldn’t hold out for more than a year or two before the status quo warps back into place.

  3. I thought Bucky was staying as Cap while Steve Rogers runs the Secret Avengers?

  4. I’m more concerned where Damien is going to end up when Bruce Wayne gets back and the issues with the Black Hand are done. Tim Drake is still around, and I don’t think he’ll Red Robin long-term.

  5. This is precisely why I enjoyed this issue so much, and why I think it was such a step up for the book. Damien’s arc so far has been a very interesting one, and the last two panels in his discussion with his mother were perfectly handled by Morrison and Clarke.

    “I hope I can be a worthy one, Mother.”

    Now that is a line that will go down in the record books as a major moment in Bat history.

  6. This was probably my favorite issue of Morrison’s run so far.

    @Joe England: Bucky will be Cap for the foreseeable future. Steve will be running around doing his best Nick Fury impression instead.

  7. What’s really dope is that this is one time where Dick Grayson as Batman vs Deathstroke felt like it was from the Teen Titans cartoon since the entire issue they called him “SLADE”. And if you watched that fine cartoon, a lot was built up with SLADE being Dick Grayson’s arch nemesis.

    (Yeah I know that those stories were made from the OG comics, but overall conceptually that’s closer to our collective brains)

  8. This is the moment where Damien finally became a three-dimensional character for me. I’ve mostly been “meh” about him up until now, but I can’t wait to see what he does next.

  9. Hey, that’s cool news. I’m not holding my breath that it’ll last, but… say, has anyone else noticed the weird parallel story arcs of both Batman and Captain America? Maybe if Bucky’s keeping the mask, Dick will… nah. If Bruce Wayne’s in the room, he’s Batman. That’s a given.

  10. Nice post David. I loved this scene too, especially how it was “acted” by the artists–that imperious look from Talia on the top of the third page here, Damian’s expressions throughout.

    I also really saw Talia’s father in her expressions here too; makes overall for another nice riff on the DCU “legacies” leitmotif.

    Did I just use the word “leitmotif”? Christ, I’m a douche.

  11. This is what we’ve all been waiting for since Batman 666. Now it’s time to cancel that Apocalypse.

  12. Ugh, I’m sorry, but this was the final nail on the coffin for me. I might have enjoyed this if not for Talia’s continued OOCness. Geez, I hate Morrison’s Talia. Before she was wishy-washy but she wasn’t 100% evil soulless woman like she is now. I didn’t like the way Morrison wrote her in the beginning, since she came off as extremely random and dumb (and a rapist to boot, great!) but I think I’ll take that version over this heartless clone-making rendition. I’m sorry but…what a TOOL. Now she’s a complete tool/clone of her father’s. Great. I think I liked her better when she couldn’t decide between her father and Bruce. Now she’s just a female Ra’s al Ghul.

    I like Damian, but I find myself let down by this conclusion. I expected more from Morrison since everyone else does but considering his treatment of Talia, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. It feels to me like Damian chose the side of light because they’re NICE to him. Not because it’s the right thing to do. How very…normal. Boy picks the side that beats him up less and gives him cookies. Yup, very human. Perhaps my expectations for the son of Batman were too high or extraordinary? I wanted him to have a better or more nobler motivation?

    and damnit, another baby? Damnit, Morrison why go there? Is this baby going to grow up to be that evil batman from Batman #666?

  13. I’ve always enjoyed Damian since day one, but this is definitely the first time since #666 I’ve fully loved the character and saw him as a “true” part of the family

  14. @Jesse: The evil Batman from #666 is Michael Lane who finally went insane from a combination of Hurt’s programming and the effects of the Suit of Sorrow