About a month ago, in Batman Incorporated #8 we had the death Damian Wayne – son of Batman and the latest character to hold the mantle of Robin. Writer Grant Morrison introduced the character way back in 2006, made him Robin in 2009, and ended his life in 2013. IGN Comics had an interview with Grant Morrison that I wanted to share with our readers to find the thinking of the writer behind the comic book. I will share my idea why this had to happen myself after the interview which starts right now:
Question: Was it always part of your larger plan on Batman to wind down your run with the death of Damian?
Grant Morrison: Yeah, always. I actually have my series pitch from April 13, 2011 and the death of Damian is right there. So even two years ago I was telling everyone this stuff was going to happen. It’s amazing that no one leaked the news until a couple of weeks ago! But yeah, it was always going to happen; it was part of his destiny and the character arc he was put through. Initially I was going to do it in the first four issues, but I’m glad we didn’t because we got to build him up to be a much bigger and stronger character.
IGN: Very quickly Damian became my favorite Robin; Batman’s lost Robins before but Damian’s death isn’t quite the same. How do you think Damian’s death challenges Bruce as a character?
Morrison: Well, what I don’t want to do is the whole weepy Batman; the Batman in mourning thing. Over my run, we’ve seen a Batman who’s basically a super Buddhist meditation addict who’s going through one of the most hardcore rituals. This is a guy who works in a superhero universe who has seen friends die and come back to life. So what I wanted to do, and what you’re going to see coming up, is a Batman who has a very different approach to death than what most of us do.
I think what makes this guy special is in the way that he relates to life and death; he’s seen things the rest of us just couldn’t deal with. He’s not going to think the same way we do, he’s not going to weep. He’s just going to be working stuff out, and that’s what I’m going to start to show. These last four issues are kind of the vengeance of Batman and the iron fist of the Dark Knight.
IGN: You mentioned not showing Batman weeping and such, but we’ve been getting a lot of great aftermath stuff in some of the other Bat-books in the weeks following Damian’s death. How involved were you in what they had planned?
Morrison: Everyone knew what was going down from two years ago, so I know they had planned a Requiem month and everyone had their little wave and nod goodbye to Damian. But apart from that, I’ve just been doing my own book, you know? These guys know what I’m doing, they’ve got the pitch, so they just added their little notes. Pete Tomasi did such great work with Damian in Batman and Robin right up to his death, and he made Damian more and more likable and lovable until the moment we snatched him away.
IGN: Damian is, and I think you’ll agree, a character that took some fans a little while to warm up to.
Morrison: Oh, yeah.
IGN: So what’s the reaction been like to his death as opposed to his introduction back in 2006.
Morrison: Well, people didn’t like him. And obviously, he was created to be kind of unlikable, although I always liked the character. I like little bratty kids, fighting against authority. Damian was created to be difficult. He had a bad attitude. But the reason was always to turn him into the son of Batman. I love the idea that he was the son of Batman and the daughter of the world’s greatest super criminal. So part of him is a bad little dude and the other part of him is the son of Batman. It’s an obvious story to tell of this little bad, aristocratic, stuck-up, arrogant, snot of a kid suddenly realize that, “Wait a minute, part of my genetic heritage is Batman!” and then living up to that.
That practically wrote itself the minute the character appeared. For me, he was always great, but I think the fans took a little while to realize, “Okay, we get it now. This little, bad, horrible, snotty kid is going to turn into something great.” I think that’s how it played. Hopefully it did. I think he was a really lovable character by the end.
IGN: I think Damian has been a great example of showing that a character can age and evolve beyond the usual accepted status quo of superhero comics. What are the challenges of accomplishing something like that as a writer operating within the structure of a larger universe?
Morrison: For me, it was always to keep in mind that I had one Batman story to tell, and this is how it worked, and he was a story arc, and here’s how it would play out. I always knew I was going to give Batman back kind of like, “This is the way I found the guy.” He’s got his cave, he’s got his butler, he’s got his Batmobile, he’s got his allies, and that’s it, you know? I didn’t want to leave the kid for future writers who may not want to have to deal with that stuff. That’s why Damian’s death was always going to wind down my run, because I wanted to take away anything that could date Batman or trap Batman within a certain set of circumstances.
I tried to bring him up and give him an arc and then take him away within the context of my run. I don’t want the other writers to be stuck with something I’d come up with and was intrinsic to what I was doing. So I kind of kept him to my stuff and there are a lot of other writers who have done great stuff with Damian, but the whole arc of who he was, what he became, and how he’d wind up, was hopefully contained in my Batman run.
IGN: That sort of brings me to my next question, which is something I have to ask – Damian is an al Ghul, after all, so is there any chance of a Lazarus Pit in his future, or is that something you’ll be leaving to other creators, should they want to carry that torch?
Morrison: We deal with the Lazarus Pit in the very next issue. That’s in there. For the purposes of my story, Damian is dead. As I always say, who knows what the future brings? But no one is doing it as far as I know, and it’s not a priority. Damian is dead in this story. And you see why he had to die; why he had to go.
IGN: Well now that he’s gone, what do you hope is this lasting legacy of Damian Wayne? What do you hope people remember?
Morrison: Just all of those issues where you loved him. Where he jumped about kicking Professor Pyg and just jumped into every battle, even if he got his neck broken, he didn’t care. Most of the Robins have been good boys. Dick Grayson was a circus kid and I really liked that he was kind of a working class kid. Tim Drake was more of a middle class kid; this little computer expert who could pretty much do anything. Hopefully what people remember is just Damian being the kind of Robin that the 21st century wanted. This little ninja-trained kid who could do anything and had a problem with all authority but a desire to do the right thing.
IGN: Anything you wanted to add about Damian or the end of your Batman run in general?
Morrison: I just hope people like the end. It’s kind of a big end and obviously we’re dealing with big emotions now. And we’ll be dealing with the whole red-and-black thing that’s been in play since almost the very beginning and ultimately resolves with the Dark Knight versues the Red Queen. It all makes sense in the end! But I hope it’s got a big opera-like ending and that people get into it. And then they can wait for the omnibus edition! [laughs] END OF INTERVIEW
Well that’s it why Damian had to die, it was his plan since 2006 and it fits in the overall story arc which will end with the Dark Knight versus the Red Queen. But there is the image of Batman as a character with ” He’s got his cave, he’s got his butler, he’s got his Batmobile, he’s got his allies “, Batman is a self made hero who was born from tragedy and heartache. Something happened in him which made him what he is that day he watched his parents die. The bad things in life seem to drive him to greater heights of personal achievement and disciple. There is no equal to the determination of the Batman in the DC Universe.
His popularity is well earned by the molding of a timeless character to some great story interpretations of that, while it was great to think of the son of Bruce Wayne one day stepping into his father’s place as Batman it did not happen. The greater future of Batman is Batman Beyond or more perhaps. Batman had a son and loved him, it was a part of Batman we have never seen before. A great story and a sad ending. Stay tuned comic faithful for more. 🙁 Walt