Back in 2006, Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert brought Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul's child, Damian Wayne, into the spotlight. Readers quickly fell in love with the arrogant kid as we watched him become Robin and have priceless experiences with other characters ("Don't patronize me or I'll break your face."). From his dynamic with Dick Grayson to his crude and hysterical conversations with Stephanie Brown, his rude yet still lovable personality made it a real joy to watch his adventures unfold in the DC universe. Last year, however, Morrison shattered our hearts and had the child brutally murdered.
Since then, Peter J. Tomasi has shown us how the Caped Crusader is handling the loss of his son. He's gone through the five stages of grief and seemingly come to accept the painful tragedy that has happened. But Ra's al Ghul's actions and an appearance by Glorious Godfrey has brought the death of his offspring back into his world.
A magic crystal called the Chaos Shard apparently has the ability to bring the dead back to life (but at what cost has yet to be revealed) and now the forces from Apokolips have taken Damian's sarcophagus. Batman's determined to get his son back, and if he can indeed bring him back to life, will he be the Damian Wayne we once knew? A teaser released by DC showed a resurrected and still decayed version of the former Robin and included the line "He's back... mostly." So, do we think Damian Wayne will or even should return? Let's talk about it, shall we?
First and foremost, many of us want to see Damian return for one very simple reason: we adore the character. While some find his personalty off-putting -- and understandably so -- many of us have fallen in love with the little brat and seeing him viciously murdered was a heart-wrenching experience. To watch him return would be absolutely thrilling. Tomasi has done a tremendous job handling the character (Born to Kill is a superb story) and it would be great to see the writer continue his work with Damian. If he's brought back, this would be a huge and joyous victory for the Dark Knight, too. There's so much darkness in his world and the stories are often foreboding, so to see him earn such a massive win would be a captivating thing to witness. This could, of course, also strengthen the bond between the two and, after seeing Batman go through such a rough and emotional time, it would be a very welcome change of pace to observe a more uplifting tone return to the pages of BATMAN AND ROBIN.
In addition to the young hero having many fans, DC seemingly wants us to believe that Damian will indeed be the one to return when the dust has settled. They've blatantly said multiple times "a" Robin will be brought back, the magic crystal is stated to have the ability to resurrect Damian, and the previously mentioned teaser strongly hints that Damian will be brought back to the land of the living... at least in some capacity. DC is aware this character has become a fan favorite and Bruce's son is even getting a bigger push in the animated movies. Son of Batman was recently released and we'll see the release of Batman vs. Robin next year. Now, that obviously doesn't guarantee anything, but it's worth noting that DC is giving the character more of the spotlight over in its new animated movieverse.
All signs are pointing to Damian's return, but are they trying to mislead us? Yes, Damian being brought back to life would an obvious yet still hugely celebrated moment, but could this entire story exist just to give Batman proper closure and allow someone else to put on the Robin costume? If Damian is resurrected in a terrible fashion, this could make Batman realize that, even though he lives in a universe with absolutely absurd events, his son has been killed and there's simply no going back. Perhaps this brief return of a decayed Damian could give the two a chance to say a proper goodbye and finally make Batman realize it's okay for someone else to become Robin. And who could that someone else be, you ask? Well, Stephanie Brown is currently in BATMAN: ETERNAL and she seems like the top choice. It was stated at this year's San Diego Comic-Con that the publisher has "big plans" for her that will spill out of that title and she'll get a mentor. She was a Robin before The New 52, so that's what they could mean about "bringing back" a Robin.
Other candidates could include Tim Drake and Carrie Kelley. Yes, Tim is doing his own thing as Red Robin, but to see him fight alongside Batman once again and slip into an updated version of the classic costume is something quite a few of us would embrace. Seeing as Carrie Kelley had such a close bond with Damian and she became Robin in the absurdly popular THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, it could be possible that Batman will eventually open up to her and train her. It's pure speculation, of course, but it seems a little odd to have her appear for such a brief period of time and then essentially fade away. We could add Harper Row's name to the list, but seeing as she becomes Bluebird, that doesn't seem too likely. Still, there's obviously ways they could work around that. Based on these options and statements from DC's Batman panel at SDCC, Brown definitely seems like the most probable candidate if Damian isn't the one to return. Fans have certainly been demanding to see the character appear in The New 52 and have been more than vocal about wanting her to have a big role, after all. Seeing as this question is often asked during panels, it's tough to believe the common request to see much more of the character has gone unnoticed.
As of right now, a strong case can be made for either outcome. The publisher knows fans love Damian and we'd more than embrace his return. However, they seem to be making it a little too obvious, so it's totally logical they could be preparing a final goodbye to Damian as they turn another character -- possibly Stephanie Brown -- into the new Robin. Only time shall tell and no matter what the outcome may be, we're lucky enough to have so many great Damian Wayne stories available to reread and this latest one is off to a gripping start. So, what do you make of all this? Do you think we'll see the return of Damian or do you believe DC has something else in store for us? Speak your mind below!