Damian Wayne just confronted his mother about his place in the DC Universe — and she has doubts about her son.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the story “Demon or Detective? Part One” from Batman #106 by Joshua Williamson, Gleb Melnikov & ALW’s Troy Peteri, on sale now
Damian Wayne has always had a complicated place in the DC Universe. The former Robin had the potential to become the best — or the worst — figure in the world. But now, there’s a question of whether he’s worthy for either of those destinies.
Damian Wayne has given up on the legacy of Batman and returned to the League of Shadows. But as his mother points out, there might not really be a place for him in their ranks either.
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Damian Wayne was born to lead life at a crossroads. The son of one of Earth’s greatest heroes and one of its most devious threats, Damian was poised to take either legacy to heart. He was born into the League of Assassins and trained in their ways by his mother, Talia al Ghul. He became a fierce warrior, but with enough heart to be swayed by his father Batman and his crusade against crime. Damian joined him and became Robin, eventually growing to become a hero in his own right. But in recent years, his morality has faltered, and his time with the Teen Titans ended with Damian crossing the line by imprisoning villains and murdering enemies — eventually confronting his father and giving up his role as Robin.
Damian has now returned to his mother, furious with the world and ready to accept the ideals of Ra’s Al Ghul. But as Talia explains, this isn’t at all how she wanted to see Damian return. In her mansion within Markovia, Talia finds her son wearing a variant of Ra’s Al Ghul’s classic green cloak. He proclaims that he’s here to truly become the heir to the Demon throne. but Talia does not consider his departure from Gotham to be a victory for rejecting Batman. Instead, Talia makes the pretty solvent point that he returns to her with nothing. Damian has burnt many of the bridges he had with the hero community, breaking apart his connection with young heroes like the Teen Titans and severing his connection to Jon Kent via letter.
Damian no longer has access to the (already depleted) Wayne Fortune, he has no allies like Nightwing or Alfred to call upon in times of need. He returns to Talia with empty hands, even failing to live up the promise he made in Batman & Robin to at least become a worthy adversary. Instead, she compares him to any other sheepish boy who tried to make it out in the world on their own, and failed. In many regards, Talia is right. This is one of the most overtly childish things Damian has ever done. The defiant and self-assured young man has always resisted perceptions that he’s young and in need of guidance. And yet, he came running home to his mother as soon as he needed guidance. As Talia tells him, it’s not the most impressive showing the young man has ever had.
Damian has effectively removed himself from the more heroic figures of the DC Universe, more or less giving up his place within the Bat-Family — at least for now. His recent actions have cemented that he’s not ready to take on his father’s mission for himself. But he has also grown too much of a heart to be an effective Demon’s Head, as proven by the attack against Talia by the League of Lazarus. Damian’s attempts to learn from his father may have kept him from ever truly achieving the mantle that Ra’s Al Ghul left for him. But he’s too dark to truly become the inheritor of the role of Batman. Damian has now been left adrift in the world, a failure to two legacies. This could lead him to discover who he truly is, and become the hero his father believed him to be — or possibly to become the villain everyone feared.
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