@vitaeleous: I admire the thoughtfulness of this forum topic. Lots of great reviews. The writer Grant Morrison was at the helm deciding the fate of Damian and saw it as his creation to do with what he would. I, like you and some here, think that the killing off of Damian was irresponsible in terms of the lost investment from the readers. I found Damian's character development quickly progressed and allowed more positive potential with every father-son interaction. The readers saw an immediate change with almost every book. We were 'growing up' with him, in a sense. We watched him learn from his mistakes and succeed at resolving them. It really was amazing how much patient resolve and maturity we watched Damian achieve by the end of his run. Ending it so abruptly was a shock that took all of that awesome father-son potential away. It hurt a lot of readers. Perhaps it was a shock that will never quite be remedied. As you say, we will have to watch Bruce battle the five stages of grief now and the long-term pain indefinitely. I think it's a real loss.
On the note of the father-son dynamic. I thought the writing was realistic for the circumstances surrounding Bruce and Damian and great since the beginning. As we all know, not all father-son relationships are perfectly normal. Often, families are the better part of dysfunctional. Oddly enough, I met my father when I was 11 years old. I worked for my dad for years after high school and into college as a laborer. As a young kid it was tough to work through the past's questions while keeping a professional work ethic intact. My Dad had a similar time of it. He had to maintain professionalism as the boss and not show any special treatment towards me. In the end, his standards were higher for me than anyone else. In short, themes like tough-love, pride, respect, angst, compliment- and affection-limited dialog in the workplace, and can-do-no-wrong attitudes run rampant in some real-world father son dynamics. I think the writing in Batman and Robin and Batman, Inc. and others appropriately fit the roles and perspectives of Bruce and Damian. They were a perfect combo with slow but real progress. I hope we get to see the dynamic again so we can pick up where we left off.