Wait, What’s This About DC Killing Damon Wayans?

March 5th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

“Tell the others it’s over, Alfred. Batman. All of it. This madness is over.” – Bruce Wayne, Batman Incorporated #1

The big news of the week is the death of Damian Wayne, latest Robin and son of the Dark Knight himself. Created in an Elseworlds story in the 80’s, the idea of “Bruce and Talia’s kid” showed up in a couple other alternate realities. My favorite of which is Kingdom Come where under the name Ibn al Xu’ffasch, he didn’t do anything of note. They don’t even outright spell it out that it’s Bruce’s kid until the sequel, but like with much of that comic, there’s miles of details to be found throughout. For instance, despite being a part of Lex Luthor’s little cabal against metahumans, it’s strongly suggested that Ibn is a mole working for his father all along.

His subtle storyline leads to one of my favorite little moments in that book. During the end, there’s a page that shows Batman walking through the Batcave, now transformed into a hospital for people affected by a nuclear bomb. All of Luthor’s league are forced to wear control collars as they tend to the sick, except for Ibn. Off to the side, there’s a sequence that tells its own story. Ibn drapes a sheet over a body. He appears broken up over this loss of life, but Bruce stops by to give him a reassuring look.

Ibn also had a mullet. That was a plus.

Anyway, the fully-realized Damian has become a focal point of Grant Morrison’s run on Batman. He appeared as something of a villain in the very first story, gradually turning into something a little less evil. He faded into the background for much of the early run and remained a complete bastard, especially towards his “brother” Tim Drake. Also, there was that look to the future in Batman #666 that showed a reality where he would become Batman after supposedly selling his soul to the Devil.

Damian wouldn’t begin to show any real change until Bruce’s supposed death. Battle for the Cowl gets a lot of warranted criticism for being an unnecessary miniseries meant to cash-in on Batman being dead, but there is one sequence I kind of like. Damian steals the Batmobile and takes some unidentified teenage girl for a joyride. Shit goes down, they get split up and Damian finds out that she’s been killed by Killer Croc. It’s actually kind of shocking to see Damian have a horrified reaction to this. By this point, any moments of him working on the side of good has been self-serving, trying to get Bruce’s approval or simply just fighting for the sake of fighting. It’s the first reassuring moment in the character’s history as there’s something resembling humanity being shown.

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Is this Damian?

November 23rd, 2010 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

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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This Week in Panels: Week 59

November 7th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Welcome to another great week of ThWiP! Lot of fun comic stuff this week. Bruce Wayne made a major announcement that’s going to shake up the DC status quo. Frank Castle met up with a woman whose unmasking is likely to piss off SO MANY hardcore Punisher fans, more so than the Frankenstein fiasco. And panel contributor Was Taters believes the Red Hood image shows that it’s only a matter of time before some crap writer tries to retcon Damian Wayne’s heritage even further.

Amazing Spider-Man #647
Fred Van Lente, Max Fiumara and Various

Avengers Academy #6
Christos Gage and Mike McKone

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This Week in Panels: Week 57

October 24th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Time for another week of ThWiP. This time I’m helped out by Was Taters (Power Girl) and ManiacClown (Loki). Apologies for the lack of content in the last week outside of that Avengers cartoon article. Various things have been holding back my free time. I’ve been busy with a bad work schedule and ManiacClown has been… learning how to make Mjolnir with balloons. Not making that up.

Anyway, panels.

Azrael #13
David Hine and Guillem March

Batman and Robin #15
Grant Morrison and Frazer Irving

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Dammit, Damian!

September 9th, 2010 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

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.

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Maybe I’m Just Like My Mother

May 6th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

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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This Week in Panels: Week 29

April 11th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

I’m not sure who Oberon Sexton really is (he’s the Joker), but I bet he reads This Week in Panels every Sunday.

The A-Team: Shotgun Wedding #3
Joe Carnahan, Tom Waltz and Stephen Mooney

Avengers: The Origin #1
Joe Casey and Phil Noto

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Batgirl #5 Play-by-Play

December 11th, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

Immediate cut!

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Batman & Robin & The Facets of the Joker

November 15th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Earlier today I put up another edition of This Week in Panels. When I was getting the one for Batman and Robin #6, I noticed something odd. A striking similarity that didn’t poke out the first time I read it. At first I was wondering if it was a coincidence, but then I looked further into it and noticed that there were even more similarities. Being that this is Grant Morrison, I knew all of these nods had to be intentional.

One of the things about Dick Grayson as Batman is that he needs his own villain. Yes, he can fight the Joker, but it wouldn’t be the same. They wouldn’t have the magic of Bruce and the Joker as rivals. On the other hand, there’s Jason Todd. Ever since he’s been brought back to life, he’s been wasted potential. Whether he’s Red Hood, Nightwing, Red Robin or Batman with guns, he’s been in one bad story after another. And while Bruce Jones’ horrible Nightwing squandered Dick vs. Jason, the potential is still there. Dick Grayson and Jason Todd are meant to be archenemies. Todd would play off Dick far better than he would Bruce.

So if Jason Todd is Dick Grayson’s Joker, then they need to cement this. Most would consider Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s Killing Joke to be the ultimate Batman vs. Joker story. It’s fitting that the first six issues of Batman and Robin have been something of a retelling of that very story. Let’s look at the two:

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Batman and Robin History From the Future

July 10th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Between Batman & Robin and Batman, I realize that while I do enjoy Dick Grayson as the newly-christened Dark Knight, what really seals the deal for me is his relationship with Damian Wayne. The big selling point is that now the roles of Batman and Robin are reversed. Batman is now the light-hearted one mentoring the brooding, moody badass. Without even mentioning him, Damian is the best use of Jason Todd since his resurrection, as Dick is trying to make sure that, against all odds, Damian doesn’t end up either corrupt and crazy (like Jason) or dead (also like Jason). I feel that the Dick/Damian dynamic is what’s going to define this episode of Bat-history and may ultimately make it one of the more interesting duo dynamics in comics, alongside Cage/Iron Fist, Booster/Beetle and Wolverine/Cyclops.

Then I remembered something. This isn’t the first time the two of them have crossed paths in comics. In fact, they helped lead to one of the few bright points of the Kingdom Come sequel Kingdom. More specifically, Kingdom: Nightstar, written by Mark Waid and drawn by Matt Haley ten years ago. Following up on the plot thread shown only in background shots from Kingdom Come, Nightstar — the daughter of Dick Grayson and Starfire — has a romantic relationship going with Ibn Al Xu’ffasch — son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al’Ghul. Bruce, being a delightful asshole in this continuity, decides to let Dick know.

There you have it. The next time Robin gets all indignant at Batman, imagine that inside he’s thinking, “I’m so going to nail your daughter in an alternate timeline for this, Grayson…”

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