No matter how hard we try, we’re always somehow bound to our pasts, to our origins.
It seems that no matter what we do, there will always be that shadow―that lingering bit of who we were, or where we came from, that will follow us no matter where we go. Our bloodlines, our pasts, our family ties, they’re things that can’t easily be erased.
But they’re things that help make our particular character today who he is.
Born from a partially unwanted relationship between Taila and Bruce, Damian wasn’t exactly brought into this world because of love―his entire being was originally based off the idea of perfection, of surpassing the greatness set out for him and becoming something far beyond himself. (His mom’s side of the family had crazy plans for this one.) Raised and trained by the League of Assassins, at the young age of ten, he’s not worrying about the latest video game―his life is a video game.
Damian’s been trained to kill, to fight, to one day take over the League and become something as great (or just as nuts) as his grandfather. He doesn’t shy away from blood, he thirsts for it. He’s merciless, powerful, raw, wild. Damian’s a living weapon skilled to take down armies single handed with nothing but his hands.
And he’s ten.
But after an attack on his family, his mother decides to bring him to the one person to really give him the life he deserves, and make him something truly great. His father.
Damian is selfish. He’s this devilish, intelligent, stubborn, spoiled sort of brat that wounds up in Batman’s care with the ‘it’s my way or the highway’ attitude. And while at first Damian is a spoiled, devil brat, and maybe he still sorta is, its part of what makes his character so complex.
At first, all he believes is what he’s been taught. That he is this great, prodigal being far above anyone else, that he always knows what’s right, and he is merciless. He isn’t above bloodshed and killing, he welcomes it, and it’s these fearsome factors that Batman realizes he needs to drill out of his son before it’s something beyond him.
But it’s these raw materials that as the story progresses, Damian becomes his own sort of person. He isn’t everything Bruce could have asked for like Dick, willing and loyal like Tim, or even angry and self-righteous like Jason–he’s his own whirling, spitting ball of fiery passion and pride. And one of the biggest conflicts with Damian’s character is the constant struggle between nature over nurture, what he’s been taught over what he must learn.
Damian becomes less of his mother’s son and more of himself. He chooses to be Robin, he chooses to these great, amazing things, because Damian is like fire, burning and amazingly bright that you could never look away. He attains this sort of fearless, wild strength that combats with Batman’s strong silence, and makes them this powerhouse dynamic father duo. And it’s a great change, because it forces Batman to try and be the father he never really saw himself becoming, an actual dad.
And a bonus is the relationships and dynamics he forms with Bruce’s previous Robins/wards. With Dick, we see this really warm, contrasting friendship between the two that leaves Damian coldly admitting the Grayson’s the only friend he really needs. While he considers Jason a problem, he absolutely loathes poor Tim, who feels the same, but is not above changing the relationship to become friends. But it’s this conflicting, competitive relationship between those two that helps Damian grow for the better.
But what’s so heart-tuggingly wonderful about Damian’s character is the constant darkness he’s always battling with. The desire to lash out and fight, and the desire to be the son his father would be proud of. The feeling of wanting to be able to make his own choices, to step out from his past, his blood, and embrace himself. To be Damian. Not Damian Wayne, or the successor to the League of Assassins, just Damian, the fourth Robin.