Damian’s love for animals was an important development in humanizing him and making him more relatable. While he was introduced as a child who had been taught to be self-centered and remorseless, it became clear that he was empathetic with animals even if he found it difficult to make emotional connections to other humans. We’ve seen Damian express concern for stray cats, a cow, and even a sewer rat.
His bond with Titus the great dane was one of the most charming parts of his character arc. Having to care for his dog, to be focused on the needs of a living creature aside from himself, helped him mature and be more open with the other members of the Wayne household. Despite any faults he may have, Damian Wayne has no bigger fan than his loyal Titus.
Damian’s short life was tumultuous after he entered Bruce Wayne’s world, a continuous struggle to excise himself of the cruelty he’d learned while upholding his father’s ideals instead. Damian never resented those ideals; he made the choice to join Batman, and though he lapsed in the case of Morgan Ducard, Damian fought his instinct to kill his enemies because he saw qualities in his father that he wanted to develop in himself. To show the ultimate mercy to those who had wronged himself or others is counter-intuitive to everything Damian had been taught about vengeance, but even if he didn’t understand his father’s refusal to kill, he tried his best to respect it.
Damian was a child who was taught to be wicked, but longed to be good in the end. Even if he’d grown to be an adult, I’m certain he would have always struggled with his conflicting impulses, with compassion trying to blossom beneath the drive to be merciless and self-centered. I don’t think he would have ever been a gentle spirit, no. He would’ve always been arrogant and sharp-tongued, combative just for the sake of it, insatiable in every aspect of life. But he would have grown to understand that compassion must be at the center of Batman’s mission, and he would’ve upheld his father’s ideals if he ever adopted the cowl. He respected Batman that much. He respected Bruce that much.
I’m glad little Damian had one opportunity to act as Batman (Batboy) before he was killed. He was successful in solving the case, he enjoyed himself, and Bruce wasn’t angry with him. Damian still had much growing to do, still had many years before he answered the questions of identity he poses in the panels above (Batman and Robin #8). Perhaps he never fully would have answered them to his own satisfaction.
But Damian did, at least, become comfortable in his role as a member of Bruce Wayne’s family. Dick and Bruce allowed him to be Robin, and that was important to developing Damian’s respect for authority and sense of justice. But more importantly than that, they took a little boy who had a childhood of brutality and cold ambition and gave him the opportunity to be a kid. In the end, Damian became more inclined to smile, to accept affection, to play with his dog or pull a prank on his father. He began to value others and himself as more than just pieces in the games of those in power. Damian was still difficult, and it’s likely he always would have been. But, if given the chance, I think he would have grown to be happy.
Fortunately, Titus and the rest of the family helped him find a little tranquility for the brief time he had with them.
We’ve been dedicated to Damian for a week around here, and now it’s time to let him rest and resume normal operations. This is the last post in the Damian Wayne in Memoriam tag, but the link will remain in the sidebar to visit whenever you’re missing him. I’ll begin posting other characters again, but have no fear: Damian will remain a fixture on this blog. He will be posted frequently amongst the rest of the Batfamily characters.
wasn’t it easier in your firefly-catching days when everything out of reach, someone bigger brought down to you wasn’t it beautiful running wild ‘til you fell asleep before the monsters caught up to you
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have received breaking news. The battle between the Batman and the unknown assailants has taken a victim. Robin, the Boy Wonder, has been killed. Repeat. Robin is dead.”
“I’m… I’m sorry… Please excuse me.”
A storm began to trek across the skies as a family clouded in black shadows made their way up cracked stone stairs. No one spoke, no one made a single sound. The five steps leading up to the oak doors seemed to last a mile. Today was the last time they could all be family before they had to say goodbye to the youngest member of their now broken family.
Beyond the doors rested a child in such a small coffin. Each of them have experienced death before, one of them had even died. Yet in this instant, none of them knew how to react. One of their own had been taken from this world and the only thing they could do now was mourn.
fyeahbatmanandrobin will be dedicated to Damian Wayne for the next few days.
Immediately following this post, I will begin a queue of posts about Damian Wayne. My blog will be posting much more frequently than usual (I don’t like to spam your dashes), but no more than one post per hour. It’ll be an assortment of new posts and reblogs of favorite panels and things I’ve written about him over the past year of running fyeahbatmanandrobin.
All posts in this queue will be tagged damian wayne in memoriam. If you want to join, you are welcome to use that tag on your own blogs as you post your favorite memories of Damian. Track or block the tag as you wish. An alternative method of joining in is to submit posts for me to publish on your behalf.