1. We are looking for a volunteer to help out with entering the DC and Marvel comics solicitations. If you are interested, please contact Harley.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Just in time for Halloween, enter for a chance to win a $50 Gift Card from FUN.com! Details here.
    Dismiss Notice

The Real Problem with Damian Wayne

Discussion in 'DC Comics and Collectibles' started by Troy Troodon, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. Troy Troodon

    Troy Troodon Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2014
    Messages:
    1,718
    Likes Received:
    545
    As those of you may know, Damian Wayne is the estranged, biological of Bruce Wayne/Batman and the fourth Robin, and since his creation the character has endured mixed reception, mostly leaning to people hating him for basically being a jerk, yet other people seem to like him because he's a jerk; either account is subjective, after all opinions are opinions.

    Now here's where I stand in this trilemma, I don't hate Damian, I don't even dislike him, sure he's aggressive, and can be pretty rude, but I kind'a see him as a reflection of his father the Bat himself, in how he's brusk but not heartless, callous and pigheaded but not barbaric or unethical (for the most part) so in concept there should still be a genuine sense of humanity inside of him... if not for one unredeemable factor... after I deviate a bit and go into other people's fixation with the jerk archetype first.

    Now, it's no surprise, we do have this strange fascination with jerks; whether we enjoy them for how malicious they are in being an antagonist, laugh at them for their comedic slapstick misfortune, or even cheer them on as the protagonist, there's always something so interesting, and even endearing about the jerk archetype we can't help but be allured to, perhaps mainly because they're an escapist reflection of ourselves in how they do things we want to do but chose not to due to our conscience, yet some still have their own sense of humanity to make them likable, with the case of protagonists here are some examples--
    • Garfield
    • BoJack Horseman
    • Squidward
    • Mr. Krabbs
    • Daffy Duck
    • Bugs Bunny
    • Tom & Jerry
    • Donald Duck
    • Chip & Dale
    • Helga from Hey Arnold
    • Moe, Carl, and Lenny from the Simpsons
    • Professor Farnsworth and Bender from Futurama
    • Rick from Rick and Morty
    • Jessica Jones
    • John Constantine
    • Deadpool
    • Wolverine
    • Jason Todd
    • Arsene Lupin
    • Lobo
    • Rigby, Vincent, and Muscle Man from Regular Show
    • Dan from Dan Vs.
    • Peter Veckman from Ghostbusters
    • Vegeta
    • Grim and Mandy
    • Invader Zim
    • Rainbowdash
    • Discord (a reformed antagonist turned ally)
    • Raphael of TMNT fame
    • Norb and Dagg from the Angry Beavers
    • Nick Wylde from Zootopia
    • Eddy from Ed, Edd, & Eddy
    These examples as listed represent characters who we should hate, yet can't help but feel praise, empathy, or even sympathy for, or generally like because there is something about them we find interesting or even relate to, so by that extent Damian Wayne should fit right in, right?

    Well... here's a revelation I had, Damian Wayne is not a character-- let me repeat that-- Damian Wayne is NOT a character!

    Here's a theory I just recently had, in that Grant Morrison basically created Damian not as a character, but a plot device, a walking, talking, butt-kicking plot device sure but a plot device never the less. Damian does not truly develop as a character, he gains no maternal experience under the superhero wing, he acts basically the same through the entirety of his arc. I mean don't get me wrong, there have been plenty of good stories told with him like being the brood to Dick Grayson's preppy light hearted nature in their own Batman and Robin dynamic; and there are bits in the comics where he is... kind of a bad-ass, but for the most part this only works in Damian's favor not as a character but as a plot tool, that's why Damian never truly changes since he became Robin.

    And that's the major problem with Damian AS a character, Damian for a lack of a better term is essentially a NAAWB; what the heck is a NAAWB you ask?!

    Non-Interesting
    Average
    Adolescent
    White
    Boy

    There's nothing really interesting about Damian, there's nothing unique about him, we've practically seen this kind of character a million times before even in superhero comics, and it's not even a different take on Robin; (Jason Todd anyone?) we have seen this character type before, the snarky, sassy, butt-headed tough guy who acts all stern and crass and makes insensitive comments when they're rude or even inappropriate; and it's not even done properly!

    The most important key to writing any character who we're suppose to despise but still find entertaining and even relatable to a degree is that they must have something for the audience to connect with; whether they are the main protagonist with a troubled past who is misguided and falters on past mistakes, the main villain who we fear but still see a bit of ourselves in, or a more tragic antagonist who we want to sympathies with, or even a character who's just some jackass but we still enjoy for being entertaining, as well as having their own genuine moments of humanity. Either way something has to be recognized! Because they all come from real places, and it's those real places that serve as the foundation for developing and fleshing out your character and make them feel like an actual person, but if you don't incorporate those real-life elements then you loose that connection.
    This is why Damian Wayne (for the most part at least) doesn't work as a character, Damian is basically just a shell of all the other great jerks and without any concept of what made those other characters so interesting and enjoyable in the first place.

    There's hardly anything relatable about him, practically little to nothing about Damian makes him stand our as his own unique entity as apposed to being like a dime in a dozen other character we've already seen before; and there's barely anything redeeming that justifies his actions, there is no compromise.

    Another such flaw with Damian, at least from a meta perspective is that the people who made him or write him in their work, including Grant Morrison himself, just leave it to the audience whether we should like him or not, when really it should be in the direct responsibility of the creative team to manipulate their audience into liking the character or at least try and understand why the character acts the the way they do and see how they can bring resolution to close the circle in order for the character to evolve; but if you make no attempt to understand a character's negativity you'll never be able to give proper direction, and that's why Damian Wayne is not a character, he is a tool; a bland, violent, and pointless tool!

    Never the less though, I still see potential for Damian, I do see sometime in the future Damian can develop as a character and achieve something to make more people appreciate him as a character, and that's why I can't hate him, because he's not really a character, but he can still evolve as a character, a character more people can like.

    Or at least that's my input.
     
    #1 Troy Troodon, Feb 11, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
  2. AdrenalineRush1996

    AdrenalineRush1996 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2016
    Messages:
    864
    Likes Received:
    111
    Yeah, Damian is really a very polarising character because of what he said to Tim in pre-Flashpoint and what he did to the Titans at the start of the Rebirth run plus not helped by the fact that he's a jerkass depending on the writer.

    Sent from my LG-H850 using Tapatalk
     
  3. Mr.O

    Mr.O Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2016
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    37
    Great break down of likable jerk character type. I sort of feel the same way about Damien. I don't really like him, but I don't hate him at all. He never really brought much to the table character wise in what I have read him in. He is just that jerkish kid who helps move the plot along. At best he's harmless, not really positive or negative. Though it seems that the current Teen Titans run is the only series where he has the potential to grow even more as a character.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. PapaGreg

    PapaGreg Peppermint tea for me

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2013
    Messages:
    3,834
    Likes Received:
    224
    But damian isnt white, the dude is mixed

    Sent from my LG-D415 using Tapatalk
     
  5. Troy Troodon

    Troy Troodon Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2014
    Messages:
    1,718
    Likes Received:
    545
    I just found that out recently; apperantly he's only part Caucasian, part Arab/Chinese.
     
  6. Otaku-sempai

    Otaku-sempai Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Messages:
    1,323
    Likes Received:
    364
    Does it count if you're mixed race but no one can tell? That question applies to Talia as well as her son.
     
  7. Troy Troodon

    Troy Troodon Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2014
    Messages:
    1,718
    Likes Received:
    545
    I could kind'a tell Talia is of Arab lineage more so than Damian, since with Damian it's less obvious, though that may be the fault of some of the artists and how they depict him; but that's neither here nor there.
     
  8. PapaGreg

    PapaGreg Peppermint tea for me

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2013
    Messages:
    3,834
    Likes Received:
    224
    Yes it counts, its more about genes than physical apperance
     
  9. Otaku-sempai

    Otaku-sempai Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Messages:
    1,323
    Likes Received:
    364
    Fair enough. With Talia, I was especially thinking of how she was originally drawn by Neal Adams: a sexy femme fatale, but hardly more exotic than Catwoman really. She was very much in the mode of the bad girls in The Spirit.
     
  10. Troy Troodon

    Troy Troodon Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2014
    Messages:
    1,718
    Likes Received:
    545
    That kind'a happens with Damian himself sometimes, hence the confusion earlier.
     
  11. Yoshimickster

    Yoshimickster Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2016
    Messages:
    408
    Likes Received:
    42
    Nah, the problem with Damian Wayne is that he gets away with all sorts of crimes and receives no recompense because he's the friggin' son of Batman! He...can be a bit of a Gary Stu sometimes...a slightly more likable Gary Stu-BUT STILL!

    Damian started OUT as a plot-device yes, but as the series went on with him working Dick Grayson and bonding with Alfred, he came more into his own as a character. We then have his much loved solo series "I am Robin" where he bonds with the daughter of the assassin Nobody, whom becomes like a sister to him...a sister that shows up once in a blue moon for some reason, but a sister none the less. ALSO-homeboy loves him some animals, he's got a dog, a cat named after his butler grampa, a cow, and a giant devil-bat....the last one also kind-of adds to him being a Gary Stu in all honesty.
     
  12. Otaku-sempai

    Otaku-sempai Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Messages:
    1,323
    Likes Received:
    364
    Why would you want to reward Damian for his bad behavior? Or did you mean something other than 'recompense'?
     
  13. Yoshimickster

    Yoshimickster Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2016
    Messages:
    408
    Likes Received:
    42
    YES-I did, I meant "makes no recompense". My bad. Seriously he has kidnapped SO many people, its kinda creepy.
     
  14. AdrenalineRush1996

    AdrenalineRush1996 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2016
    Messages:
    864
    Likes Received:
    111
    Same with Dick, who is confirmed to be part Romani (gypsy).

    Sent from my LG-H850 using Tapatalk
     
  15. Yoshimickster

    Yoshimickster Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2016
    Messages:
    408
    Likes Received:
    42
    Also there was that monologue how "I recently turned 13, the worst year in anyone's life" which made me go all:By the freaking source, how many pets do you NEED before you lighten up? NOBODY'S PARENTS ARE BOTH DEAD-you don't see her complaining....or around much, for some reason.
     
  16. Troy Troodon

    Troy Troodon Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2014
    Messages:
    1,718
    Likes Received:
    545
    Yeah, there' really not doing anything to turn Damian's character around. :/ Sure there was Patrick Gleason's work, but after that they seemed to revert him back to his unlikable self after he kidnapped the Titans to "Re-uinite" them; I don't doubt he did it for what he thought was a good cause, but still...
     
  17. Yoshimickster

    Yoshimickster Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2016
    Messages:
    408
    Likes Received:
    42
    It was, R'as was going all crazy and what-not. I'm glad Superboy is still around to tell him directly what a prick he's being, especially since he won't let him join the Teen Titans for some dumb reason.
     
  18. Troy Troodon

    Troy Troodon Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2014
    Messages:
    1,718
    Likes Received:
    545
    Actually here's another problem with Damian I forgot to address.. He's just a kid!!!

    Okay, look I can buy into a 12 year old boy who is capable of doing all these feats as he is trained by the League of Assassins since he was born, suspension of disbelief and all that, but come on, he's still just a kid, and somehow he is entitled as this pretentious, mini-adult who can get away with practically any despicable thing he does?!

    Now, I have no problem with the concept of a child who is intelligent and competent in their prowess, particularly if it's not suppose to be realistic, but there still must be some grounding to that character to make them feel real.

    Children are more sensitive, they are more flawed and vulnerable, and they are emotional as well; again it all comes down to obtaining a redeeming quality so that the character can connect with the audience.

    So in regards to Damian in how he's supposed to be written (supposed used lightly) as well as his age sake, here's two questions I gotta ask--

    1. How would you have written Damian as a character?

    2. How does one write a child character, who DOES act like an actual child, but can still be interesting enough to be strong, complex, and even entertaining?
     
  19. MDawg

    MDawg Nerfariously planning

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2001
    Messages:
    16,505
    Likes Received:
    312
    To answer your questions, check out the current run of Teen Titans, which has Damian as the leader of the new team (mainly due to him kidnapping everyone), but more importantly, it shows him with flaws. Also worth looking at is the new title, Super Sons, which is a teamup book between him and Jon Kent (Lois and Clark's son and he is kinda/sorta Superboy even if he doesn't have all his powers just yet). It shows him again being a kid who has to deal with his peer who he has a level of disdain for, but finds himself stuck with due to their parents.

    Both titles show Damian as a little snot-nosed punk, but allow him to still get tossed about and not get a pass from those who are supposed to be his friends. They've made me turn around on my original opinion of him greatly.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  20. Yoshimickster

    Yoshimickster Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2016
    Messages:
    408
    Likes Received:
    42
    Yeah Jon bounces off Damian great, not afraid to give him the business when he starts acting nutty. Need to get me a trade of the new Teen Titans comic, missed out on that one when it came out.
     

Share This Page

  • Find Toonzone on Facebook

  • Toonzone News

  • Site Updates

    Upcoming Premieres

  • Toonzone Fan Sites


Tac Anti Spam from Surrey Forum