Dammit, Damian!

September 9th, 2010 by | Tags: ,

So Batman has a son conceived under unfortunate continuity circumstances.  And this son becomes Robin while displaying no interest in justice, goodness, or preserving life.  He’s an eight year old who kills people, and throws in some attempted murder of the hero’s family.

He provides a permanent tie to one of the most annoying families in comics: a father who is always causing trouble for no reason while trying to achieve his goal of nobody knows, and a daughter whose one goal in life seems to be proving Freud right about that whole ‘penis envy’ theory.

Meanwhile the kid is shown, at eight or ten, to be better at everything than everyone.  Occasionally he provides some flashes of amusement, because he’s rude about it.  However, mostly he’s a more violent, more angry, more disrespectful version of Batman.

Really not my cup of tea, but at least he was a cup of some sort of boiling liquid and that proved useful last month when he was thrown in the face of The Joker.  Finally, finally, finally, the guy who can mow down anything and feel good while doing so started something I’ve been hoping was going to happen for years.

Finally!  Finally, in Batman and Robin #13, Damian did something I can approve of.  And don’t tell me that the Bat universe would be poorer for losing The Joker.  Go ahead and tell me about one good Joker story from the last twenty years.

But he’s Damian, and his primary purpose for existing seems to be bugging me, so I was not surprised to see the preview for Batman and Robin #14.

Oh, for crying out loud, Damian.  The one thing I like you for, and you can’t do it.  Remember when you decapitated that guy?  All you had to do was bring a sword instead of a crowbar, and this could have been over by now.

Idiot.  What are you good for, anyway?

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20 comments to “Dammit, Damian!”

  1. Batman & Son-era Damien would have brought a sword. Sadly he’s drank the Bat-Kool-Aid now, so any amount of massive blunt-force trauma is fine, but no guns and no sharp things bigger than a shuriken.

  2. If the Joker can take a crowbar to the head with no real immediate or lasting damage, then he could probably grab the sword blade with his teeth and bite it in half.

  3. I’ve been surprised by how many people have turned around from hating Damien to simply loving him. I guess you’re not one of those people? For me – it really is that redemtive arch his character has been going through. I heard Morrison say that you couldn’t have had that without him being a brat at the beginning.

    That being said, him still being willing to wack the joker with a crowbar to the head means he still has that shaky-edge to him.

  4. I hate that Jean Paul Valley is really dead, he got the shit end of the Bat stick.

  5. The Joker GN that came out last year and The Man Who Laughs are two great Joker stories from the last 20 years or are you just playing around? 🙂

  6. @Sweetman: Probably more using hyperbole. There have likely only been a handful of Joker stories that have really been very good (I’m curious how many were penned by Morrison, as I liked the character quite a bit in Rock of Ages).

    I would also count the whole of the Oberon Sexton as a Joker story, at least because he was the punchline.

    I’m sorry you’re not digging on Damian, Esther, I know that I’m liking the reversal of roles with B&R, and the little bastard’s grown on me since issue 666.

    And I do think that the bat-universe would be poorer for losing the Joker, provided that he became an infrequent character, rather than an overused villain.

  7. “He provides a permanent tie to one of the most annoying families in comics: a father who is always causing trouble for no reason while trying to achieve his goal of nobody knows, and a daughter whose one goal in life seems to be proving Freud right about that whole ‘penis envy’ theory.”

    Bullshit. Damian was only connected to Deathstroke the Terminator for one issue.

  8. And why on earth did he even bring a crowbar? We’ve been told that he’s got the best arsenal of weapons money can buy. Where did he find a crowbar? Obviously it’s supposed to be symbolic to beat the Joker with a crowbar, but Damian doesn’t know anything about that or have any emotional connection to Jason. (Oh wait, it’s Grant Morrison. Linking to the past story is all the meaning we need…)

  9. Damian was definitely unlikeable in his first appearances, but that was definitely intentional. His growth over the last year and a half has been pretty incredible and has made him into one of my favorites.

    Joker should never ever be killed off unless they officially announce the end of all comic books. He’s too interesting a character and is too useful for a good writer.

    I’ve only been reading comics for around 7 years, but I have yet to read a Joker story that I didn’t really enjoy. Unless you start getting picky and claim that “Salvation Run” or “Countdown” was a Joker story.

  10. As annoying as it is to see yet another “Haha, I’m the Joker and I’m threatening to kill/maim Robin!” story, I don’t like the idea of Damian crowbar-ing the Joker simply because I don’t feel like he’s earned it yet. Like, if someone in the batfamily has no emotional motivation to beat or kill the Joker, that’s kinda boring. In Last Laugh Dick beat the Joker to death (they revived him of course) after the Joker taunted something like “his name was Jason, right?” This has less impact.

    Mind you, I’d be happy if some rookie cop just shot the Joker one day as a part of doing his actual job, and that was that. Then watch the batfamily deal with that.

  11. “Go ahead and tell me about one good Joker story from the last twenty years.”

    I thought Detective Comics #826 was amazingly good.

  12. The Gotham Central story with Joker as the sniper is my favorite Joker story EVER. The artwork and characterization for the Joker in particular is really freakin’ good.

    And Damian is the best new character DC has had in the last 10 years. I love that little bastard.

  13. I thought this was a great scene. And Damian says to Joker, “I’ve read your files.” Surely, there’s something in there about Jason’s death.

  14. @bairfanx: I mean, sure, it’s hyperbole, but I do disagree with it. Like Sweetman said, The Man Who Laughs and the Joker OGN are great. So was J.M. DeMatteis’ “Going Sane” story from Legends of the Dark Knight and The Batman Adventures’ Mad Love (the definitive Harley story, but also the definitive Joker/Harley story), which started as a comic before it was adapted for the animated series. I thought the “Soft Targets” story in Gotham Central was great, too; it was more a realistic take on the Joker, at times uncomfortably so. As I recall, it came out either shortly before or after the DC sniper appeared.

    I know not everyone will agree with this, but I did like Emperor Joker quite a bit. Some people argue that they don’t like stories where the Joker gets infinite power, as if that were a regular occurence or Joker subgenre… except I’m pretty sure it’s only happened twice in the past decade. Besides, the criticism distracts from the fact that Emperor Joker was fun, funny and even poignant. A “World’s Finest” story done right.

    Other controversial favorites… “Slayride,” The Long Halloween #3, Batman #614 (from the “Hush” arc, where after years of thinking about it, Batman finally decides whether or not to kill the Joker) and the climactic finale in No Man’s Land (which ends with almost a prequel to #614, as Batman says he won’t stop a certain supporting cast member from killing the Joker). Yes, the Joker does kill a whole lot of characters in NML, but the scenes are just so well executed. He doesn’t just pick up a machine gun and kill everything in sight; he uses cunning and creative ways to confront his enemies, like Petit and the GCPD.

    And that’s just the comics. Think of all the excellent stories of the DCAU Joker, like “Joker’s Favor,” “Almost Got ‘Im” (wasn’t JUST a Joker story, but he did play a big role), “Harley and Ivy” (again, mostly a Harley story, but we do learn just how much the Joker depends on her) “Mask of the Phantasm,” “Superman/Batman: World’s Finest,” Return of the Joker, “Wild Cards”… the list goes on. I’d have to say the last twenty years have been plenty kind to the Clown Prince of Crime.

  15. Like, if someone in the batfamily has no emotional motivation to beat or kill the Joker, that’s kinda boring.
    He’s the biggest serial/mass murderer the (DC) world has ever known. The only motivation needed for a character wanting to kill him should be that he has the opportunity.

  16. @Jeremy: Agreed, I love the sniper story from Gotham Central!

    And this may be sort of controversial, but I actually quite enjoyed Kevin Smith’s take on Joker in Batman: Cacophony. The central thesis behind that book, I think, is that he’s not just a crazy person who hates Batman — his hatred for Batman is actually what makes him crazy. It’s a very interesting take, in my opinion.

  17. To get rid of Joker would be destroying a lot about Batman. I think back to the Killing Joke, and how Batman had that speech about how they need each other. True, Batman has a whole cast of villains who seek to challenge him, but many only in one aspect. The Riddler only challenges Batman on a mental level, and Bane is the test of Batman’s fighting skills. The Joker is the exact opposite of everything Batman is. Maybe he isn’t being utilized correctly, but that is no basis for killing him off.

    Damian’s transformation is what has been making him a great character. Instead of saying “here’s the world’s most perfect Robin ever,” they’re putting him through the fire and refining him into a great character. He’s Batman’s son without it being too cheesy.

  18. mad love is a good joker story.

    but yes, kill the joker, and whats more have batman do it. bring joker back 5years later after harl finds some of that lazarus juice.

  19. better yet, have a random civvy kill joker.

  20. Love it! That “random civvy” thing appeals to the Ditko in me.