Batman and Robin #0 chronicles Damian’s life, from his birth to his growth into the character that he was when he first met Bruce. The story uses the central theme of a duel between Damian and Talia on his birthday to show the passing of time. Ultimately he defeats her at the age of ten, after being trained in all disciplines imaginable, and he gets to learn the identity of his father.
If the New 52 did anything right, it’s change my opinion of Damian. Initially I couldn’t stand him, as I’m not the biggest fan of arrogant characters. But like so many movies where a character starts an arrogant jerk, but learns his lesson towards the end, I’ve grown fond of Damian.
This book did a great job of showing exactly how Damian became who he was, and that only serves to make his character growth all the more impressive. It also helps showcase him as every bit his father’s son. Bruce learned everything he did, trained all he did, because of his parents’ deaths. Damian on the other hand underwent that same training at a younger age, and became a master just like his father, but not for revenge, but because it was the only way he knew to live.
While I’m not certain what the deal with the pool was, I’m not sure if it’s just a pool of water, or if it’s mean to be a lazarus pit (I don’t think it is), that scene feels crucial towards who he is. Damian is meant to be more and less than human. His birth from an artificial womb, to his early encounter with death, everything about him is meant to be Batman, but with the humanity removed. It’s a chilling thought how easy it would be for him to become a villain.
The scene where baby Damian put on his father’s cowl was cute in a strange kind of way. It was a bit on the nose for what it was attempting to do, but I felt that the image worked well enough that I’m will to forgive how obvious the symbolism was.
Ultimately this book was what I wish the regular Batman and Robin book was. Damian is most definitely an interesting character that needs more focus, and giving him his own book would most certainly be warranted. Granted there is a great deal more focus on him in Batman and Robin, but I feel that we should go the whole way and just let him carry his own stories. Perhaps in the future, but for now I’m satisfied with what we’re given.
If you don’t like Damian, you probably won’t enjoy this book. I know I certainly would not had I read this a year ago. It fits well into the publication schedule, as anyone that has been following the main series should have grown attached enough, if they weren’t before, to Damian to enjoy this book. It isn’t the most amazing thing ever, but it was a well put together origin story for one of my new favorite characters.