***This article contains spoilers for Teen Titans #20 and Red Hood & The Outlaws #24 and #25. You have been warned.***
Damian Wayne is the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, and is the latest in a long line to wear the mantle of Robin and be trained and mentored by Batman. That may not be the case for long.
Damian was trained as a youth by the League of Assassins as the grandson of Ra’s al Ghul. When Talia dropped him at Bruce’s doorstep, father and son immediately had philosophical differences when it came to fighting crime. Batman has a code against killing and believes the system can help criminals; Damian was a trained killer who believes that sending criminals to Arkham Asylum or Blackgate Penitentiary just for them to eventually escape makes no sense.
That being said, when Batman officially accepted Damian as his new Robin, the teenager agreed to abide by his father’s rules.
That is until the recent No Justice mini-series. Damian got to work directly with the Justice League on a universe-spanning adventure and came to realize that the way they handle things doesn’t work. It is always a temporary solution that they will have to deal with again later. He thinks they are complacent.
Against Batman and the JLA’s wishes, Damian assembled a new team in Teen Titans #20 (September 2018). It includes former teammates Kid Flash and Red Arrow, along with newcomers D’Jinn, Roundhouse and Lobo’s estranged daughter Crush. They are not going to wait for a villain to do something and then react, they are going to let Robin use his detective skills to find the bad guy first, then take them off the board. They do just that with Brother Blood in their first mission together.
However, Batman isn’t the only one Robin is keeping secrets from. He also has not told his team what he is doing with the criminals they capture. They believe he is turning them over to the authorities, but Damian is actually chaining them in the basement of the Brooklyn warehouse they are using as their secret base. In this great full-page spread that ends the issue, we see Blood thrown in with villains Atomic Skull, Onomatopoeia, and Black Mask, who Damian previously defeated.
Robin is leaving them to die in inhumane conditions without due process. Welcome to hell, indeed. Things will be bad enough when his teammates discover his deception, but when Batman finds out – and he will – how will he react? If recent history is any indication, it will likely end with Damian Wayne stripped of any connection to the “Bat Family.” That is because it is exactly what Batman did with Red Hood earlier this month.
Red Hood is Jason Todd, a former Robin who returned from the dead years ago. He also disagrees with Batman about how “soft” he is on criminals, but he still abided by his no killing rules. Until Red Hood & The Outlaws #24 (September 2018) when he shoots Penguin point blank in the face.
It leads to a fight between Batman in Red Hood & The Outlaws #25 (September 2018) where Batman takes the red bat emblem away from Jason, removing their connection and essentially banning Red Hood from Gotham. So, if shooting Penguin forces Batman to give Red Hood the boot, won’t finding out that Robin is mistreating and leaving criminals to die to force him to do the same thing to his son? Time will tell, but it will be extremely interesting to see how this story builds in the coming months of Teen Titans. and how long Damian Wayne can keep his father in the dark.
by Rob Otto