Okay, so can you deconstruct Damian and Tim’s fight/conversation in (new 52) Batman and Robin #10? It seemed like Damian wasn’t being that mean to Tim. I mean, he was basically pointing out that they may have one thing in common and that it’s the one thing Tim hates most about him. Whenever Tim denies they have thatsomething in common Damian seemed like “hey I’m being nice here so shaddup Drake”. Ok, so not nice… I know he’s proving himself the best Robin right now, but still. Thoughts?
BATMAN AND ROBIN 10 AND BATMAN INC: LEVIATHAN STRIKES! SPOILERS AHEAD!
Okay in order to better understand what the fight was about, you have to go back to the beginning of the issue. The Waynes (sans Jason and Cassandra) are standing in for a portrait sitting, and while they’re waiting on the artist to change canvases, this exchange occurs:
Dick was trying to lighten the mood with a joke, Damian rolled with that joke, and Tim made a joke of his own. However, Damian took it literally and assumed that Tim was showing how unrefined he was, and the two go at it. This little spat continues throughout the sitting, this time Tim starts up completely unprovoked by Damian this time.
And it immediately goes from poking fun at him to going for the jugular. As I’ve continually said, Damian holds his promise to Bruce to a very high standard. By this point he’s broken it twice: once with Getz in the Batman Inc: Leviathan Strikes! oneshot and once with Nobody a few issues back. Both times the only reason he did it was because he felt his father’s life was in danger and there was no other option. Here Tim is (pretty much yet again) belittling him as Robin, and the choices he makes because Tim doesn’t understand why Damian dose the things he does.
In fact, pretty much all of their problems stem from miscommunication. It’s been a while since I’ve re-read everything Tim and Damian have been in together, but if I remember correctly, Damian’s only attacked Tim once (during Batman and Son when he was still fairly psycho), and Tim has attacked him unprovoked twice, technically three times (twice in the Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul: the first time when Damian sneaks into the cave to warn Bruce about Talia and Tim doesn’t believe him, and the second time when Damian tries to prevent Alfred from tripping and Tim thinks Damian is attacking him, and the third is by putting him on that potential supervillain watch list, though that isn’t a physical attack). (EDIT: I just wanted to clarify here: Tim putting Damian on his list was the techncial third. There were other heroes and Tim had a valid reason. This was the reason I didn’t include the second time Damian attacked Tim by cutting his line in Red Robin I believe 13. Whereas the first attack during “Batman and Son” it was a completely unprovoked attack, in Damian’s mind he was getting even at a fight Tim started. However, this is not what normal people do and I should add that Damian did, in fact, technically attack him twice.) He’s also saved Tim on at least one occasion that I can remember—during Battle for the Cowl when Tim, injured by Jason, gets caught up in an explosion. Again, I still have to do the rereads on these, but it always seemed to me that Tim was so hung up on their initial encounter that he never bothered to either notice or acknowledge that Damian had changed so much since then, and this is what continues to annoy Damian. Damian doesn’t seem to have a beef with Tim if he can help it, but Tim keeps trying to start a fight with him.
But anyway, back to the actual comic… Bruce tries to step in, but neither of them will have it and they storm off. That would normally be the end of it, but it seems Bruce’s words leave an impression on Damian… Just not the one he was hoping.
It inspires Damian to prove his worth to all of them, each in a way they would understand and take something as a memento of his victory. (Tim, Jason, and Dick’s expressions in that last panel on the first page never fail to make me laugh)
He figures Tim would immediately come back to tattle on Damian to Bruce, so Damian decided he would be first. Like I said before, he was planning on proving his superiority to each of the former Robins differently. Tim is the brains, he always has been and he always probably will be. Damian knows he can defeat him in a fight, but that isn’t what this is all about. It’s why he retorts to Tim’s “bring on the fight” with “I was thinking more of a chess match or q-box game to beat you at.” For Tim specifically he wants to take him off his high horse. Tim’s constantly lording over him this idea that his morality is “superior” to Damian’s, and that’s what Damian targets. He basically recaps what happens in the TT Annual and just plants a single seed “you aren’t any better than me.”
Tim, understandably, doesn’t take this very well and immediately (yet again) attacks Damian, but Damian doesn’t let up. He gets to the real reason he was going after Tim: Tim keeps coming after him, and he’s sick of it. However he does this in a way that forces Tim to figure out for himself exactly what he has a problem with—notice Damian only drags him along with vague sentences, and the rest Tim comes up with himself. He also really isn’t fighting Tim that much, which is a big sign of restraint, he’s only for the most part defending himself (I count Damain throwing exactly one punch and one kick that entire fight, the rest is all Tim).
Which leads us to the end, where Damian just drives the point home: “you aren’t better than me and it’s time you accept me for me.”
So basically the short answer is: Damian is trying to prove to the three former Robins (now that Steph no longer counts in the DCnU) that he has every right to wear the costume and, like Bruce says, they all have their strengths and weaknesses. Damian is just trying to highlight this to each of the Robins, in a way they can understand, so he can prove to himself, his father, and the other three (and to some degree his mother) that he’s worthy enough to wear the mantle of Robin. He still feels like after a year of service and giving up damn near everything, it’s not good enough for them. He’s tired of waiting for their respect so he’s going to force their hands. This was the way he figured he would best drive it home to Tim Drake, and at least for now it seems like it might have worked.
tagged as: Bruce Wayne. DCnU. Damian Wayne. Deconstructing Damian. Dick Grayson. Jason Todd. Tim Drake. batman and robin v2.
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