broo1232's Damian: Son of Batman #1 - Book One: The Next of Kin review

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Villains use Facebook now!

Okay this was a major disappointment to me I love Damian and I loved reading his character development from the moment he first appeared in Batman with Grant Morrison to when he died in Batman Incorporated and he went from an arrogant, unlikable brat to a very complex likeable character and that feels severely lost in this issue, I mean severely. He’s written almost like Dick Grayson, but way more arrogant and violent. That’s not my only problem with the issue I have a lot and unfortunately I want to love this series, the art is totally gorgeous and some panels are beyond what you’d expect in any comic, but it’s so disappointing that with a series like this with, so much potential that it falls so short.

Let’s me start saying that this isn’t as bad as Kubert’s Joker issue although still pretty bad there are some scenes in here that are at least decent like the one in the church and there are some good ideas put in (spoilers from here on in, but this was inevitable) and when Batman is killed off I like how all the villains try to grab the glory for it. The Church scene probably reads the best and I did like how it transitioned and it’s a nice glimpse into Damian’s motives and how he works.

The first scene is probably worse which is the scene where Batman gets killed, but the dialogue! Since when did Damian say “Holy Crap!” sounds more like something Tim or Dick would say, Damian would be sarcastic about it like one of his famous “TTs”, but no it’s Holy Crap! I wouldn’t have knocked anything off for that, it’s one poor line of dialogue and I’ve read that in some comics, but it continues through the issue I mean he will joke about it almost like Dick or Tim, it doesn’t sound at all like him. Damain was sarcastic, arrogant and some of his lines of dialogue where just loveable, but not here. Maybe it’s because in this series he’s older he’s about 16 odd here I think, but I’d have preferred to have seen that transition and he seems just to drastically altered in this anyway. Minor point compared to the rest, but would Batman call Damian “Young man”? Sounds like something Alfred would say, but not Batman. The characterisation all over the issue is bad, he’s lost all of that sense of good that he inherited in Batman Inc and Batman and Robin, sure I know he has to kill it was written in Batman 666, but I think he lost some of the remorse and feeling of guilt and late on in the Batman Incorporated series he felt guilty about it and he would kill, but with some reason like protecting his father, but he’s killing randomly for revenge? I mean would Batman want him to do that? Surely in death he would want to make his own Batman, but respect his father. (Spoilers)Also did he just kill Jackn’apes is he not alive later on in this reality? Also the thing with him killing in the past was that it was a one off event once in a while for emotional impact, in this he kills loads of people with no remorse about it, I think you get the picture about it, but this just enraged me, so much since Damian was a favourite of mine. I think I’ll finally say that if this was admitted as an Elseworlds tale like in the beginning of the issue, I would have accepted the new version a bit more, I don’t like it, but if it was a different version it would have been more tolerable, even though I still would have hated his characterisation.

I think the scene with Talia and Ra’s al Ghul made sense, but how is she alive? If this is elseworlds that’s fine, but I still think it should have some explanation. Also I realise it’s trying to get new readers up to speed, but for Talia to suddenly jump to his origin retelling is both forced and cheesy; however, there is a fair amount of jumping around like one bit of dialogue that suddenly jumps to another scene with the villains. It doesn’t transition well at all. Also the villain’s putting up claims on Facebook?! That they killed Batman with the like option is just plain stupid, news headlines or graffiti carved out due to their powers or something like that, but Facebook?!

Right I think I’ve ranted too much, now onto the best part of the issue, the art. The art by Kubert is glorious in every way his attention to detail is amazing and I love how the first sequences is laid out, it’s amazingly detailed, but also is very dark in tone and shadows. His rendition of Damian is very good although it lacks the sort of charm that Burnham’s version had, although he is older, but I think this more aggressive version of Damian is well drawn even if I don’t like the fact it’s happening. Brad Anderson though is the real star his colours bring so much depth to the book and life as well and the scene in the church is particularly well done and the colours bring so much depth to the scene.

I think you get the message about why I hated this issue and how it ruined a character I adored and all character development went out the window, I mean I would understand more if it was said to be Elseworlds, but I still really hate this version of him, he has no depth and at points sounds like Dick Grayson, so technically you could say that he changes characterisation midway through the issue. I will stick with the series mainly, due to the hope that it will improve and the fact I love Damian so much, but I’m not too hopeful about it.

2 stars

18 Comments
Posted by johnkmccubbin91

I personally didn't think it was as bad as you did. I agree with the characterisation and dialogue but I do feel that Damian would become a killer if he witnessed the death of his father, as although he has changed, he is still a killer deep down and I'm sure such anger would cause him to do so again. Also I think it is slightly questionable whether he killed the villains, and if he did this is comics and people come back alive all the time. As for the explanations I expect the same, but can overlook that for one issue. I do however feel it is needed as if this is the same universe there is a lot of questionable things, like Damian wanting help from the person that killed him.

Edited by broo1232

@johnkmccubbin91: I do see your point; however, now for a really long talk about why I love Damian both Grant Morrison and to an extent Peter Tomasi built him up to a more likable character and when he did kill people (Nobody and Otto Netz) he felt it was a last resort to save his father; especially, with Otto Netz when he's about to kill Batman, but in this I think he'd want to uphold what his father believed in more since in this he just about offed every single Batman villain, apart from the Joker and I know he has killed in this reality before (seen in Batman 666), but it is seen that a load are kept in Arkham in Batman Inc, including Jackn'apes who seems to die in this issue? and in this he is killing again, I love how he was built up and to see him brought down like this, isn't great. I agree on that as well, maybe he didn't kill them, but it certainly seemed with all the blood on his hands and what was said in the Church it seems pretty much confirmed that he killed most of them.

Posted by johnkmccubbin91

@broo1232: As I said I feel Damian would turn into a killer out of rage and anger as he no longer had Batman's influence. Also he is a smart character so he may see Batman's death as a sign that they can't be rehabilitated. Either way I still think given his history he'd become a killer again.

Posted by broo1232

@johnkmccubbin91: No disrespect to your opinion, but I think his death would have had a more profound affect on the character as he dies and then it's the funeral it over in under 10 pages also there wasn't much in the way of grieving, also Alfted surely would have had more of an affect I mean he was practically Damian's second father, instead of just asking if he had done it.

Posted by johnkmccubbin91

@broo1232: Given his history and characteristics that's what I feel as although he started to change he has always been rebellious and this would be what would push him over the edge. I do however agree that there wasn't much grieving time.

Posted by broo1232

@johnkmccubbin91: I think he would go over the edge, but surely he would feel like upholding his father's beliefs to an extent and also Alfred would manage to do something about it surely?

Posted by johnkmccubbin91

@broo1232: Yeah but when you're like that stuff like upholding believes can easily be overlooked.

Posted by broo1232

@johnkmccubbin91: Possibly, but I think with Damian I think he'd be a little less violent and aggressive.

Posted by johnkmccubbin91

@broo1232: Fair enough. I'll agree to disagree as having read nearly every issue he's featured in I honestly feel that without Batman's guidance he'd be a walking time bomb.

Edited by broo1232

@johnkmccubbin91: Yeah he is pretty much most of the time. I guess I'm holding out hope that all that development didn't go to waist, so much and that his father teaching him not to kill people wasn't a waste, I just feel like whenever he's killed in the past it's had a real emotional impact like Nobody, but in this he just offs a load of villains in quick succession.

Edited by johnkmccubbin91

@broo1232: I do feel that the killing has happened rather too sudden and would like some more depth to it, but there are issue it can give that in, plus the end of the first issue teases that his killing will come into question.

Posted by broo1232

@johnkmccubbin91: Maybe, but Damian hasn't even put on the Cowl yet and there is a lot more to cover so I don't know how much depth will be put in, but I think the ending may add a good amount of depth to it, hopefully.

Posted by johnkmccubbin91

@broo1232: Anyway we'll see. Not a great start but I have hope (though it won't stay if next issue is rubbish).

Posted by broo1232
Posted by johnkmccubbin91

@broo1232: That could be a good thing or a bad thing (depending on how bad or good it is).

Posted by broo1232
Edited by johnkmccubbin91

@broo1232: Precisely, though it will be a good thing that it's only four issues long then, a bad thing if it starts getting good, having the feeling that it could have been better if longer.

Posted by broo1232

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