Andy Kubert had his work cut out with his Damian Wayne tale. Firstly, and these are problems shared with the reader, Damian’s in continuity demise is still quite recent and profound. Secondly, we have Morrison’s work on a plausible future for the character standing as somewhere between a helpful framework and a barrier to story telling.
In essence Kubert does well with the first issue of this mini series teasing and creating enough mystery to keep the reader’s interest. What seems strange is that Damian himself seems to still be, though much older, somewhat immature and arrogant. This stands in firm contrast to the fact that in established continuity we’ve seen him grow and mature not only in Morrison’s writing but the work of many other writers as well. At first this seems somewhat jarring but we soon realise this sets the series up as Kubert’s take on Damian’s evolution. So in a way it’s good to have the capricious, back chatting, tutting little b-tard back again.
Without spoiling or revealing too much, since the landmark Dick and Damian team up, the question has always been just which Batman’s death Damian witnesses? This is a concept Kubert utilises as a fine bracket to Damian’s initial reaction to the tragedy. In essence the reaction is somewhat one dimensional and obvious, but that’s half the fun of Damian and Kubert adds some sublime elements to treat the reader. Damian scours super villain social media for clues to Batman’s demise and Alfred holds a paper boasting a Pyg headline while he scolds Damian. Damian even visits his maternal family and birth place. Though seemingly appearing as camp cliches Kubert actually captures the Al Ghul’s perceptions of the Bat mantle. Whether that be Talia’s passion or her father’s scornful admiration.
Strangest of all Damian goes to confession although, this being Damian, this plays out as a certain stubborn baiting of those who do not share a certain ethos. What is interesting is the potential identity of the priest,something I hope will be confirmed and explained at a later date.
In closing I’d say that this is potentially an alternative tale of Damian’s maturation and redemption and though there are what initially seem to be a few awkward and clumsy stumbles, like all great journeys this might well turn out to be be those first small, but important, steps.
This article was first posted on October 31, 2013