I Really Hope Damian Wayne Stays Dead

It's just months since Grant Morrison killed off the latest Robin, Damian Wayne, in the pages of Batman: Incorporated. Wayne was an artificially aged clone birth from Talia al Ghul from Batman's DNA, in essence a son he never particularly wanted. Trained to be a master assassin by the age of ten, he eventually assumes the role of Robin where he excels.

Most people weren't really keen on the mouthy and somewhat bratty character upon first introduction, but for me and I suspect a lot of fans Damian grew into an extremely enjoyable character. He actually was able to achieve a kind of edgy brilliance, backed up with his considerable skill. Being always able to hold his own, he was no longer the Batman bait that so many of his predecessors were. When Damian finally fell in battle with his own mutated clone, The Heretic, it was devastating for his father.

Lately, he's been trying to find a way to resurrect Damian, and even though it means I'm rooting for the continued non-existence of a child and the endless grief of his father, I really, really hope Damian manages to stay dead. Permanently if possible.

Rocks Off Gothic Council: Is Batman Goth?

He wouldn't be the first Robin to return from the dead, of course. Jason Todd managed to come back to life after Joker beat him to death with a crowbar then left his body in an explosion-filled building. That was A Death in the Family, and it remains one of the most legendary of Batman stories.

Yet here he is now, alive and well. First he adopted Joker's previous criminal identity of Red Hood, and waged a war of vengeance against Batman for not killing Joker over his murder. These days he, along with Arsenal and Starfire, are my favorite monthly book in Red Hood and the Outlaws. Being killed was the absolute best thing for him.

Alive, he was cocky and unlikable, much as Damian started out but without the good writing so people quickly began to wish for his demise. Being dead managed to channel all that rage and angst into a more mature and powerful figure that is still on the outskirts of what his former mentor would consider proper crime-fighting, but lends him edge and verve enough to keep his adventures the best in the current DC Universe.

On a similar note, take Captain America's sidekick Bucky, who was also considered one of those figures that no one would dare erase the death of. Turns out that after World War II he ended up in Soviet espionage experiments that left in with a bionic arm and frozen between assignments. Now he's the Winter Soldier, with his own impressive comic title that is also among the best in the current Marvel line.

What I'm saying is that emotionally damaged sidekicks that die and come back to life make for great comic books. If that happens to Damian, I'm willing to bet it will be entertaining at least, maybe even great.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner