Posts tagged Batman
Posts tagged Batman
Damian is a hard character to like, I agree. And I like him! It does seem a bit like he’s been shoe-horned in and while he’s had some character development, it’s been to the detriment of others (Talia in particular).
A big problem I have with him in the Robin role is that…
Even as somebody who can like Damian in the hands of some writers, I disagree he’s a compelling character, really. Mostly he seems to appeal to people as a joke—he gets to say obnoxious things (cue laugh track) and not suffer any consequences. Likewise disobey orders or generally come out better as adults. And this is mostly down to his bloodline—the idea that his “training” explains any of it is nonsense because he’s so far shown more training than he’s had a lifetime to experience.
Which really doesn’t apply to Jason. Jason had to be much closer to an actual kid in that he didn’t know everything. He was allowed to look up to Bruce and Dick and his moments of anger were more understandable as moments of anger. If he did lash out at someone he wasn’t given the best lines to do it with—he was believably inarticulate for his age. Damian, again, is much more like a comic character who can be obnoxious and we’re just supposed to know that underneath he’s great and people grow to love him.
Writers who play that out often get criticized by fans of the Morrison version because Damian is no longer the Gary Stu of endless talents. That Damian has the instincts of a snob and no time for social niceties or relationships if they interfere with his noble mission—though he will recognize when someone else is also impressive on this front. Basically, he could just as easily be an adult. It’s almost the way Damian would like to see himself. Where as other writers, imo, write the other side of him that should exist, a lonely Billy No Friends who actually is hurt by the haunting knowledge that nobody likes him, but truly lacks the social skills to do anything about it.
Read what sistermagpie has to say about Damian. Particularly this: Where as other writers, imo, write the other side of him that should exist, a lonely Billy No Friends who actually is hurt by the haunting knowledge that nobody likes him, but truly lacks the social skills to do anything about it.
Now that’s compelling.
I promised myself I wouldn’t weigh in on this topic, but I’m apparently not worthy of a green power ring. Honestly, I’m getting tired of people claiming that Morrison’s Damian is devoid of all depth. There is more than enough substantial character development proving otherwise in the Batman & Robin title alone. I’m going to try and back this point up with evidence.
Firstly, whilst it is true that Damian’s personality would work well as an adult character, the fact that he behaves this way despite being a 10 year old is what makes him endearing. He’s this odd little kid with a head that’s a bit too round saying lines that would sound ridiculous in a child’s voice. It’s meant to be preposterous – and just a tiny bit sad.
Secondly, please bear in mind that he was grown in a tank and fed all sorts of information through tubes and implants. He’s had nanomachines injected in his spine before, so it’s fair to expect that Talia could’ve done any number of things to him without us knowing. In this regard, saying that he has “shown more training than he’s had a lifetime to experience” is a little off. You can argue that his tank background is a deus ex machina for his skills, but the same could be said of the Lazarus pits for Ra’s - and readers really need to allow for a little suspension of disbelief when dealing with comics. Plus, tank training and combat expertise does not a vigilante make, especially since we’ve seen the downfall of his lack of field experience – namely getting his ass handed to him by Jason and several other bad guys they’ve come up against. And to prove that running off on his own won’t work, Morrison has Damian go out to fight Pyg alone. He nearly gets killed and it’s Dick who saves his life. He isn’t unbreakable and is not infallible. He’s just bad-ass enough to earn the right to be Robin, because without those skills he’d never be able to fit the role.
“He gets to say obnoxious things (cue laugh track) and not suffer any consequences”
But he does suffer consequences - mostly in the form of a large debt of bad feelings between him and his surrogate family. You also have to remember that despite arguing with him initially and misjudging his character, Damian has since come to respect Dick immensely to the point of worrying whether he’ll get to be around him once his father returns. If you need another example of his respect for him then there is this point later in the series. The “you’re not joking” seems particularly poignant here, in that it shows how flippant Dick is with him. He cares about him, sure, but not nearly as much as Damian cares for Dick. He is one of the only people that has ever shown him real care and affection and he ruined the start of their relationship by being a jackass. I believe that in continuing to tone down his undermining comments and backchat, Damian is gradually trying to apologize to him. It’s not as outright and obvious as it is with other authors, certainly, but it’s there. I believe, on a personal note, that the subtlety in Morrison’s characterization is a strength of his.
Speaking of consequences – you really think putting him down or letting him get hurt would work? In my mind the way that he has been treated is the best course of action. Dick has the patience not to rise to his stupid little quips and, on the rare occasion where he does yell at him, he quickly realizes that it doesn’t get through to Damian. It’s part of why Grayson does so well in the mentor role – he treats Damian’s petty assertions with just the level of seriousness they deserve, i.e. none. This is another major reason why Damian is shown to stop speaking this way so much as the series progresses, to the point where he rarely does that to Dick anymore. These days most of Damian’s best lines are talking down to enemies with an obvious glee, knowing that Grayson is standing behind him smiling a little at his jokes. That was always Robin’s role and it’s something he excels at and revels in. To remove his ego and overconfidence and replace it with pure obedience and vulnerability would destroy the character. The problems with sharing emotions aren’t just his upbringing either – it’s Wayne genetics, something which I feel other authors sometimes miss.
There are a ton of other discussions I could go into but I think I’ve probably already written enough to make my point. I’m sorry, but the assertion that Morrison intends that readers are “just supposed to know that underneath he’s great and people will grow to love him” is just. Plain. Wrong.
Sorry to my followers for the huge reblog and reply, but I had to get that off of my chest. It’s something that has been annoying me for quite some time. I don’t demand that everyone should suddenly adore Damian (he will never be to everyone’s tastes), but when people get their claws out and start criticizing the writing as unbalanced self-insertion, I tend to get ticked off.
Thank you. I agree completely.
I also commented at length here, with points that I think are relevant to the discussion, but it seems to have gone completely unnoticed.
Discussion points about the character Damian Wayne from the Batman line. Interesting perspectives, worth read. What do you think of Damian?
Sorry for the IMMENSE HUGEITY of this post but I’m a recovering academic and I’m trying to break the habit. I would probably be better off using my time to write about subjects that actually matter, but this is way more fun.
So, OPINIONZ TAIM YAYE!
Oh man, this is just…
I wish to subscribe to both their newsletters.
Basically, it’s a discussion about the Batfamily and Bruce’s influence on the kids in a pro/con sort of way. Fascinating read, really. I wish I was this smart.