Grant Morrison’s Batman: Batman and Son Part Two

2 04 2010

This is the second and final part of my series of posts on Batman and Son. The first part can be found by clicking here. This second half covers the last two issues, Batman #657 and Batman #658.

Picking up where we left off leads us into Batman #657, ‘Wonderboys’ where we finally get to know Damian Wayne. Honestly, he’s a bit of a brat – demanding and selfish at times – but honestly, who can blame him? He has the blood of an aristocrat from both of his parent’s lineages and most certainly the sense of entitlement that comes with it. He butts heads with Tim Drake, the current Robin, because he feels threatened by his presence. He sees him as competition for his inheritance – that inheritance being Bruce’s legacy.

This won't end well.

Actually, it’s also interesting to note that even Tim feels threatened by Damian’s presence. He feels that Damian might take what he worked for as Robin away from him just because he’s Bruce’s son. Irrational, yes, but he’s a teenager. He’s confused and a little insecure of his position in life – which is pretty normal for his age.

On a side note, while Damian was looking around the Batcave, he unveils the Batmobile that Bruce was working on in the first part of Batman and Son.

Compare with the image of the Batmobiles below.

While it isn’t completely assembled yet, notice how it looks more like the current ‘flying Batmobile’ now being used in Batman and Robin and not like the one Tony Daniel designed for Batman RIP. Bruce even comments that the Batmobile he uses in RIP didn’t turn out exactly the way he imagined it to be. Any guesses why? Did Morrison dislike Daniel’s design and decided to ask Frank Quitely to create another, newer Batmobile for Batman and Robin?

Daniels' on the left and Quitely's on the right.

Moving on with the story, Bruce gets fed up Damian’s behavior and reprimands him. What I liked about the scene was how Bruce knew what the problem was with Damian – he knew Damian wanted respect and he knew that Damian wanted to prove himself worthy.

Kubert's art makes this scene.

Of course, in what might have been a trait he got from his father, Damian decides to take matters into his own hands. When a police operation to catch a third-rate villain called the Spook goes awry, Batman intervenes as part of Gordon’s backup plan. Something’s not quite right with the Spook though, as Batman soon discovers.


Robin returns to the cave to find Damian, alone, practicing with his sword. In this next scene, we see a bit of Damian’s insecurities. He clearly wants to show that he is more than capable of doing what Bruce does every night. He also wants to show that he can do it better than his ‘rival’  Tim Drake.

Crime lost.

Again, more of Damian’s insecurities. Despite the fact that he’s a very capable warrior, trained from day one to become the heir apparent to the Al Ghul empire, at his core he’s still a child who wants to prove himself to his parents and take what he believes to be rightfully his.

Damian steals a costume from the display case Tim crashed into and meets his father on a rooftop in Gotham.  Bruce already knows that it was Damian who beheaded the Spook. Damian offers his help for ‘Only you and I can stand against my mother.’ Bruce tells Damian that he already has a partner, but Damian answers that ‘He quit, there’s a new Robin in town.’


Originally, I wasn’t going to include this picture of the final page of the story, but I suddenly noticed  the costume of ‘The First Batman’ from Detective Comics #235 in the background! Another Silver Age throwback that we will see used again later in this run.

It's the one on the left.

Compare with the costume above.

The next chapter of this story, Batman #658 ‘Absent Fathers,’ picks up where we left off with Tim bloodied on the cave floor. Batman rushes to his aid while Damian tries to defend his actions.

Meanwhile, Talia Al Ghul has kidnapped the Prime Minister’s wife from the Pop Art Gallery exhibit, which you might remember from Batman #656, and is demanding Gibraltar, ‘the perfect tactical outpost,’ in exchange for her life.

Bruce agrees to bring Damian with him to keep him out of trouble on the condition that he agrees not to kill. While I don’t think it was intentional, I got a Dark Knight Returns vibe from Bruce’s talk with Damian. What do you guys think?

The vibe the speech gave off really reminded me of DKR...

But I doubt that was what Morrison was going for.

Oh, and to answer Damian’s question…

BATROCKET!

As they descend towards their destination, Damian asks Bruce what his father was like. Bruce’s answer foreshadows a lot of things to come in Grant’s run and is probably the first hint we get about what to expect in Batman RIP.


Of course, Batman foils Talia’s plot, saves the Prime Minister’s wife and has Kirk Langstrom with the British Army discussing Anti-Man-Bat tactics. However, there’s more to this than meets the eye as Talia reveals the real reason why she brought Batman here.


Notice how she refers to Bruce as her ‘beloved‘ in the scene above and compare it to what she refers to him as when he declines her offer.

Very Ra’s like, wouldn’t you say? Another thing I’d like to point out is that later on in the sequence Batman tells Talia that ‘human lives are not a game.’ If you check out Batman #680, Dr. Hurt explains to everyone that every year he invites the richest people in the world to ‘play a game with human lives.’


The submarine they’re on gets blown to smithereens by torpedoes. Batman escapes while Talia and Damian’s bodies are nowhere to be found, a trope I’m sure many of you are familiar with by now. Of course, this isn’t the end of Damian Wayne, we’ll be seeing him and his mother again during the Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul, if I choose to feature it.


After this post, I’m taking a short break for the weekend so expect the next post in this series next week. Don’t fret though, I’ll be starting a new series of post previewing upcoming comic book releases this Saturday or Sunday so look out for that. Coming up next is Batman #663, ‘The Clown at Midnight’ the most unique issue of Grant’s run as it’s entirely in prose. Look out for that on Monday, maybe. Once again, thanks for reading and stay tuned for more.

Scans from:

Batman #657, 658, Wonderboys’ and ‘Absent Fathers’ written by Grant Morrison, art by Andy Kubert and Jesse Delperdang

Batman #676, 680 ‘Midnight in the House of Hurt’ and  ‘The Thin White Duke of Death’ written by Grant Morrison, art by Tony Daniels and Sandu Florea

The Dark Knight Returns written by Frank Miller, art by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson

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2 responses

4 04 2010
Darren

Very good analysis – you obviously know what you’re talking about. I didn’t know about the “first Batman” costume (I thought that Hurt was just trying on a particularly camp piece of kitsch from the trophy case later in RIP, but it’s obviously a lot more symbollic).

Personally, I can’t wait for you to get to RIP (though the League of Batman arc will also be fun).

4 04 2010
thewednesdayreader

If you’re checking out Batman: The Brave and the Bold, they recently had an episode by Paul Dini featuring Adam West, Kevin Conroy, and Mark Hamill that had the complete story on the costume of the ‘First Batman.’ It’s called Chill of the Night and it was one of the better episode of the series, might I add.

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