Grant Morrison is one of the most divisive comic book writers at work today, and his influence on Batman’s character has been immense. It was he who introduced Damian Wayne as the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, the kid who would later become the fourth and most hot-tempered Robin. It was Morrison who penned Final Crisis, at the culmination of which Batman was missing and presumed dead (by the people of Gotham, if not by genre-savvy readers). These are developments that had major impacts on the Batman mythology and DC’s canon, affecting numerous comic titles and spawning many new plotlines (not least of which were Battle for the Cowl and The Return of Bruce Wayne).
One of Morrison’s latest contributions is the Batman Incorporated title, a DC comic centred around Bruce Wayne’s initiative to create an international force of heroes under his tutelage and leadership. The title featured Nightwing (Dick Grayson) and Red Robin (Tim Drake) as well as Damian, and was renewed after the New 52 came into effect. Now, in Batman Incorporated #8 (released February 27th), Morrison made another huge development.
Spoiler warning! Read ahead at your own risk.
For the second time in DC’s history, a Robin dies. Batman Incorporated has seen Batman, Nightwing and others battling Leviathan, a violent and secretive organisation under the leadership of Talia al Ghul, the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul and mother of Damian Wayne. Acting as Leviathan’s enforcer is the Heretic, a growth-enhanced clone of Damian, bred to replace him in the organisation by his mother. Damian dies confronting the organisation and its enforcer.
As many of you will know, this is not the first time a Robin has died: Jason Todd, the second Robin, died at the Joker’s hand (or rather, crowbar) in 1989. Though Todd was eventually resurrected, he had been dead for sixteen years by the time it happened, and he never returned to heroics, becoming instead the vigilante and (arguably) Supervillain Red Hood. A resurrection is rather less likely for Damian: Morrison is leaving the Batman Incorporated title this year, and the character was always very much his project. It is likely that future writers will be a little fearful of disturbing his legacy.
Was this an ill-advised move? Was Damian Wayne a suitable Robin, and do you think we’ll see him brought back to life in the future? Sound off in the comments.