Little Damian Wayne. I wanted him dead when Grant Morrison first introduced him in the pages of Batman. At first he seemed like more of a stunt than anything else – certainly this kid wasn’t Bruce Wayne’s real son – and the longer he stuck around, the more horrified I became as I realized Damian wasn’t going anywhere. An annoying, entitled, arrogant brat, whose apparent purpose in the DCU was to make readers hate Grant Morrison. Jettisoning Tim Drake so Damian could be the new Robin? Worst. Idea. Ever.
Then Batman and Robin happened. The contrast between Dick Grayson’s happy-go-lucky Batman and Damian’s grimly determined Robin was a pretty genius inversion of the standard Dynamic Duo formula. And Dick didn’t take Damian too seriously, which meant readers didn’t have to take him too seriously, either. His petulance suddenly seemed adorable.
Fans of Grant Morrison’s version of Damian, that is – the angry and spoiled mini-Bruce. The kind that would run an ambulance off the road and not even bat an eye:
Damian’s not completely heartless. Despite bristling at any suggestions made or instructions given by Dick, Damian turns his back on his mother Talia and the entire al Ghul family line (grandpa included) when she demands her son choose between Grayson and herself.
It is, however, Damian’s bravado that makes him so endearing. Which is why Tony Daniel’s take on the character in Battle for the Cowl feels so utterly wrong:
Damian is not an awkward pre-teen. Damian does not make mistakes (let alone admit to them). Damian could have that car programmed to turn into Optimus Prime if he wanted. And Damian would never try to impress a girl; he considers himself so inherently impressive no flourishes or displays would be necessary.
The Damian presented in Peter Tomasi’s Blackest Night: Batman is slightly off, too:
It’s too kid-like of Damian to say something “sucks.” And, again, he’s not neurotic or depressed; he’s self-assured and pissed-off. Constantly. If he had a problem with something, he’d use a cutting remark to pin the blame on someone other than himself. He wouldn’t wallow in self-pity.
Bryan Q. Miller gets it, as evidenced by Damian’s spot-on characterization in Batgirl:
Damian’s an insufferable prick. That’s why we like him. Hopefully future writers keep this in mind.