Is this Damian?

November 23rd, 2010 by | Tags: , ,

The DCU blog has a preview of Teen Titans #89, when Damian joins the team. 

Here is some sample dialog:

“The only joke that I see is Beast Boy.  My first order of business will be kicking him to the curb.  We’ll call him if we ever need a talking chipmunk.”

“Should have left it alone, One-Eyed Jackie.”

“You’re funny.  Look even funnier when I take out your other eye.”

List of things Damian should not be saying:

1.  Nicknames.  This is a kid who calls Alfred ‘Pennyworth.’

2.  Sentences with dropped articles.  This is a kid who calls his dad, ‘Father.’

3.  Contractions.  I don’t think Morrison’s Damian ever really used them.

4.  The phrase ‘kick him to the curb’ or any slang that would be seen before the turn of the last century.

Renting Damian out to various titles is good.  He’s a funny character and an obnoxious little snot.  They’ve got that part down.

One of the main reasons he’s funny, though, is the fact that he’s a child who speaks like an 18th century vampire.  The kid was raised by a family of functionally immortal aristocratic ninjas.  Having him talk like that smart-ass kid from around the corner doesn’t work on any level.  This character has one of the most recognizable ways of speaking in the DCU.  The only character easier to single out through speech alone would be Bizarro.  A few obnoxious remarks just don’t cut it.

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15 comments to “Is this Damian?”

  1. I think a lot of times, comic writers just don’t pay attention at all to speech patterns, and think if they can get a general ‘attitude’ down, it’s all okay. I’m reminded of poor Cassandra Cain, who every time she would appear in someone else’s book would be speaking in full sentences with big words and without pauses. All it would take is a cursory glance through these characters’ histories to see that that kind of stuff is completely wrong.

  2. I couldn’t agree more.

    The more I think about it, especially after Nat’s post, the more I am semi-offended by this type of writing. Change them enough and they are not even the same characters, anymore.

    That’s bad enough, but if that’s how they’re going to retcon the character then that should be consistent across the different titles. Both versions should not co-exist.

    * – not that I am invested in Damian all that much, but still

  3. Maybe Damian’s speech evolved over time. Didn’t Morrison write this panel?


    It’s full of contractions.

  4. Damian never sounds the way he does in B&R in other books. I remember especially noticing it in Batgirl where he’s a bratty sitcom fifth grader who’s up on all the ‘tween lingo.

  5. I just don’t trust the writing JT Krul anymore, especially after all the Green Arrow/Red Arrow/Arsenal crap he wrote.

  6. @Yeti: Did you ever trust JT Krul to begin with?

    Though by all accounts, it sounds like he’s doing better than the last half-dozen Titans writers. But that may be because DC seems to have specifically set him up for success, what with always pushing him as their newest golden boy and all.

  7. Underwhelming writing on Teen Titans? Somehow, I’m not surprised.

    As you point out, it’s lazy to not review a character’s previous interpretations.

  8. This post is ridiculous. Damian has always used contractions and he doesn’t at all speak like “an 18th century vampire.”

    The fact that he calls Alfred by his surname doesn’t mean he never uses nicknames. Damian is a character who adjusts his speech depending on who he’s talking to and to assert himself as dominant. The other members of the Bat family affectionately call him by his first name or even “Alfie,” so of course Damian resists that. He considers Alfred a servant, an employee, so he refuses to be familiar with him, using the most formal form of address he can.

    In the case of his peers, though, there’s no reason to establish that kind of relationship with them. Instead, in order to assert his dominance, he uses derision and nicknames, showing he doesn’t respect them. It’s perfectly in character. I’m pretty sure he’s used nicknames before.

    I’m not 100% convinced that Krul got the character right, though. I don’t at all trust him as a writer after that ridiculous dead cat incident. The last issue of Teen Titans made me cautiously optimistic, but this title is still on probation for me.

    I’m going to wait until the issue comes out before I form an opinion.

  9. Three cheers, nobody’s gotten him right other than Morrison so far. High hopes for Cornell, though.

  10. Esther, I told you nobody else gets him right. He’s an aristocratic ten year old jerk, not just a ten year old jerk. Welcome to my side of the street… hope you survive the experience!

    @Basque: Krul got him wrong, he doesn’t use nicknames (The other Bats are “Father,” “Grayson,” and “Drake,” not “Pops,” “Dickie,” and “Timmers”), and the preview’s pretty crap.

    Any comic you have to put on probatation is not a comic that’s worth reading. A book is good or it isn’t.

  11. I had the exact same reaction when I read the preview. I understood the attitude Krul was attempting to evoke, but Damian’s speech pattern was decidedly “off-model.”

    – JEP

  12. I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed this. I have a special kind of annoyance for writers who cannot be bothered to get a character’s voice right. You would think even the lowest writer on the DC totem pole would at least research a character thoroughly enough to write a character accurately.

  13. @david brothers: I admit it. I WAS WRONG. DEAD WRONG!

    I just desperately wanted to believe that Teen Titans could be good again. I was blinded by my desire for this book not to suck.

    I just finished reading #89 and, what can I say? It’s absolute garbage.

    I stand corrected. And I’ve learned my lesson. I will never, ever buy another book by J.T. Krul.

  14. Putting J.T. Krul on Teen Titans is like the comic book equivalent of Hamsterdam from the Wire.

  15. Based on the preview alone, “One-Eyed Jackie” was the only thing that really threw me off. The rest sounded pretty Damianesque, to me.

    As for contractions, he still uses them quite a bit:
    http://www.4thletter.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/BnR12-17.jpg (last panel)