REVIEW: DAMIAN – SON OF BATMAN DELUXE EDITION / AUTHOR: ANDY KUBERT, GRANT MORRISON / ARTIST: ANDY KUBERT / PUBLISHER: DC / RELEASE DATE: JULY 29TH
Grant Morrison is one of the most remarkable comic book writers alive today and much like his closest peer, Alan Moore, when he writes a story featuring an iconic superhero he has a tendency to redefine them. This means that before we can properly review it, we need to explain why Damian: Son of Batman exists.
During his run on Batman, Morrison attempted to incorporate some of the more unusual elements of the Batman mythology into the core canon. Inspired by the 1987 alternate-reality graphic novel Batman: Son of Demon, Morrison developed a plot line known as Batman and Son. It introduced Damian, the son that Bruce Wayne never knew he had. Damian’s mother is Talia Al Ghul, the daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul, one of Batman’s greatest enemies. It gets even more involved, as Damian eventually became Robin, but instead of his father being The Batman, that role was filled by another former Robin, Dick Grayson, also known as Nightwing.
If all that exposition has put you off, then Damian: Son of Batman really isn’t for you. The book combines two separate (and unrelated) stories that feature Damian ceasing to be Robin and taking on the mantle of Batman. The standalone story is from Batman issue number 666 and Morrison’s usual charm is on full display. Damian considers himself a rather poor Batman, but relies on cunning and planning to carry the day. It’s a futuristic tale that contains more than a few nods to the Batman mythos as a whole and Batman Beyond in particular. It works well as a standalone, Elseworld tale and is quite good.
The bulk of the book is taken up with all four collected issues of the Damian: Son of Batman mini-series, written and drawn by Andy Kubert years after issue 666. It riffs on Morrison’s original premise but is a pale imitation at best. It’s too bloody, too violent and simply fails to deliver any of the charm that makes Batman great, stretching a good idea too thin and too poorly. Worth it only for the original story.