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Week of Cool Comic Book Moments – The Sacrifice of Robin

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Every day this week will see me feature a brand-new Cool Comic Book Moment. For this week only, I’ll be specifically featuring cool moments that happened just this year. Here is an archive of all the past cool comic moments that I’ve featured so far.

Today we conclude the week with the death of Damian “Robin” Wayne in Batman Incorporated #8 by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham.

Damian Wayne, as you might know, was the son of Batman and Talia Al Ghul. Talia has revealed herself to be the big bad guy behind the international nihilistic organization known as Leviathan. Batman has discovered that her plan involves creating a new Batman who will destroy Gotham City. Batman figures that she means their son, Damian, so he insists that Damian stand down as Robin to avoid her plans. As it turns out, Talia was referring to a clone of Damian that she had genetically altered and trained into basically being a mixture of Batman and Bane.

At the end of #7, Damian disobeys Batman to go save his comrades who are battling Talia and her forces (Batman has been captured and placed in a safe underwater, with his skills being timed to the second so Talia knows he will escape JUST too late). Damian’s departure from the Bat-Cave and Alfred is, in and of itself, a cool comic book moment. Maybe I’ll feature it some day.

So Damian shows up at the center of the battle and re-teams up with Nightwing, who was Batman when Damian first became Robin. They have an awesome reunion…

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Then the third Batman shows up and takes Nightwing out of the fight. And seemingly takes Damian out, too. A young woman who works at the office has discovered Talia’s bomb. The third Batman wants it. Damian, who has promised his father not to kill, can’t think of any other way out of this…

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As Talia planned it, Batman is just too late.

Powerful, heartbreaking stuff. Burnham’s art is magnificent in this issue (and this whole series, of course, but this issue is particularly good).

28 Comments

I own this issue, but I don’t want to read it. It’s just…just too much.

So many praiseworthy elements, that great final conversation between Dick and Damian, the Quitely throwback with the ssssss BOOM and BIFF BAM POW sound effects, Burnham’s excellent and brutal fight choreography, the broken glass panels as Batman’s world shatters, that “-tt-” Damian sound effect Evil Damian uses…I hate to see Damian go, but it’s a very well-crafted goodbye.

Somehow the first time through I hadn’t noticed the Bane backbreaking move, to which Damian simply replies “no.”

‘scuse me. Something in my eye.

the Quitely throwback

There was also a great Quitely throwback on the next page where Dick and Damian both punch the third Batman at the same time just like they did in the first issue of Batman and Robin (only viewed from a different angle).

InformationGeek

May 19, 2013 at 8:22 am

Wait… that was considered cool?

… Guess I’ll take your word for it.

Yeah, there’s quite a few “Two people hit at the same time” images in the B&R run, that first time in B&R #1, when they beat Pyg in #3, Batman and Batwoman against Zombie Batman in #9, Batman and Robin against Dr. Hurt in #15. It’s a great running gag, and I love that it never has a sound effect either. It’s obviously a homage to Adam West, but without the big POW sound effect on top of it, it has a different effect when you read it, plays it more straight.

Why doesn’t someone just throw him in a Lazarus pit? Do they not exist for this reboot? I’m assuming since Talia’s around her dad’s there too (unless she isn’t Ra’s daughter anymore).

The Dick and Damian reunion was cool, but I agree with Greg Hatcher on the reasons why Damian dying does more to hurt than help the franchise. How many critically injured or killed junior sidekicks now?

InformationGeek

May 19, 2013 at 10:14 am

Actually Jeremy, I was referring to the whole thing about Damien dying and why it is here being considered cool. I thought it was pretty awful all things considered (awful in a bad direction and writing move), especially that Dick and Damien reunion bit. We all never he was going to die coming into it, so that moment felt kind of emotionally manipulative and also a bit cheesy. All that scene was missing was “I’m just one day away from retirement.”

I never actually addressed you, Geek, but I know you’ll take whatever form you can to express your unpopular opinion about Morrison’s Batman, so I understand. You got it out your system for today, and I’m happy to help you out.

Based on how much back and forth I see online whenever Morrison’s Batman is discussed, I wouldn’t say the naysayers have an unpopular opinion about it. It seems like a pretty polarizing run. So does Snyder’s currently.

Although I liked the reunion scene, I admit the “one day from retirement” comparison was funny.

Les Fontenelle

May 19, 2013 at 12:59 pm

It was indeed a very well-done scene, though I have to agree with T that each successive sidekick that gets maimed and killed makes Batman look that much worse. Batman’s child-endangerment hobby has reached a point where when he recruits a new Robin (let’s not kid ourselves, it’s just a matter of time before DC returns to that well) the other JLAers should stage an intervention.

And how many years do you guys think it will take for DC to resurrect Damian? Because you KNOW it will happen at some point – maybe in five years, maybe in a decade, but it’s as certain as sunrise. I think it will happen in less than a decade. Maybe sooner if the next time DC wants a Batman to have a Robin, they simply lazarus-pit Damian.

It certainly wasn’t Morrison’s fault we knew he was dying in this issue, I doubt he wrote the Dick/Damian scene thinking “this will be great once the DC hype machine spoils this for the whole world 2 weeks before it hits shelves!”.

Actively seeking out spoilers, then having them diminish the author’s work is certainly an end user problem, imo. And even having the death spoiled, that scene still worked for me because I felt like that was Morrison saying that about their teaming up/run as B&R, because I certainly agree that book was more fun than most Batman stuff has been before and after for a bit.

IMO! (he caps typing with all thumbs)

My assumption is that the next Robin will simply be a return of Tim Drake to the role.

Erech – It’s not so much that the spoilers themselves ruined the fact Damian was going to die. It’s more that the scene itself really, really telegraphed it in an emotionally manipulative way, regardless of whether you read outside spoilers or not. It’s like InformationGeek said, it was similar to when you watch a movie and there’s a cop who keeps annoucing he’s one day from retirement. You know at that point he’s going to die to provide motivation to the hero. Or when a cop in a movie has a loving wife and family that he keeps promising he’ll retire from the dangerous stuff and take a safer job in the force or leave the force altogether, so that he can dedicate more time to his family. You can usually tell right away that family is there just to die as give the hero a reason for one last revenge mission.

Personally it didnt bother me, especially since my standards for modern DC comics are so, so low now that anything decently done, even if a bit cliched, is good in my eyes. By the standards of moden DC comics, this is top notch.

The scene reteaming Damian with Dick is probably my favorite scene in any comic so far this year. Burnham is just killing it on his end month after month, just amazing work. I am gonna miss this book so damn much. You could easily do a week of cool moments just from this series; hell, you could draw a week’s worth from any single issue of this series.

And just when Tomasi and Snyder had made Damian a decent character…

was figuring and wondering if sooner or later this moment would show up on this list. given how not only does damian wind up sacrificing himself but batman holding the lifeless body of the only bio family he has is sad and heart renching . for no parent should lose a kid

“Somehow the first time through I hadn’t noticed the Bane backbreaking move, to which Damian simply replies ‘no.’”

The cool thing is that Morrison probably had that little moment planned since way back in B&R, when Damian goes back to Talia to have his spine cut out and replaced with a better one.

Morrison established a while ago that Damian wasn’t going to live to adulthood. The death was maybe premature, but I don’t blame Morrison for accelerating the schedule to do it his way instead of leaving up to DC editorial. It was a well done death scene. I hated Damian’s introduction, but thanks to Morrison and the few other writers who had a chance to flesh him out, this easily qualified as a cool moment from the tv series callouts and Damian calling Talia and her henchmen a bunch of punks for picking on a kid.

Oh boo hoo. Anyone who doesn’t think that Damian will return someday is too stupid to live.

I didn’t understand, “Damian’s departure from the Bat-Cave and Alfred is, in and of itself, a cool comic book moment.”

Anyway, I don’t agree with the person who claimed that the spoiling is an end-user created problem. These things end up EVERYWHERE so it’s hard to avoid them without giving up the ability to discuss comics in forums and social media outlets.

And I agree with those who found the selections manipulative and or cheesy. If nothing else, I still think this death makes Batman a worse character internally and externally.

I would agree with both points.

It’s a little manipulative and I think Damian’s death in the long run is not good (either you’ve taken a great character off the board or you bring him back and “cheapen” his death.).

But the moment itself? It’s one of those “Hey, I wish he didn’t die but what a way to go out”

Makes me wonder how much a chance Damian had if those cowards had let the battle go on without them.

I’d be right there with you, Rob, except this was a ten-year-old child.

A Horde of Evil Hipsters

May 21, 2013 at 12:47 am

As usual, oh so many commentators jumping on the “it’s Grant Morrison, so it must suck” bandwagon. Can’t help but wonder how many of those people would be singing the praises of this scene if it was written by Geoff Johns, for example.

Haven’t read it, but from this, from the nostalgia filled call back reunion, to the obvious foreshadowing and about twenty other things, if there is anything there that hasn’t been done before, somebody please point it out to me. Not saying that snarky, just saying I would need more reason to go and read this story. So far as Morrison criticism goes, actually, for Morrison, it seems to have a bit of heart.

I would not get too upset. When DC reboots again, I am sure he will get better.

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