For years, Batman has waged war on crime, enlisting many partners into his crusade. Each person has needed to work hard to gain his trust, including his biological son Damian Wayne. As the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul, Damian has had a complicated childhood to say the least. Raised by his mother and taken into the care of his father as the latest Robin, Damian has needed to fight against his killer instincts. It raises the question as to whether he could be worthy of Batman’s legacy.
Raised to be an assassin
Damian was conceived without Bruce’s knowledge and raised by Talia to be a killer. Every year on his birthday, Talia would challenge Damian to defeat her in combat, promising to reveal the identity of his father if he won. Eventually, Damian succeeded and Talia sent him to Bruce as a way of disrupting his work.
Damian’s upbringing in the League of Assassins made him violent and spoiled. In his first appearance, he believed himself entitled to the Robin mantle, battling Tim Drake. In order to feel worthy in his father’s eyes, Damian felt he needed to kill all his rivals and prove himself. This clashed with Batman’s ideals and the two of them got off to a rocky start.
Over time, Damian pulled away from Talia’s influence, seeing Bruce’s way as a better method. His change of heart had a lot to do with his brotherly relationship with Dick Grayson. When Bruce died, Dick took on the identity of Batman and Damian joined him as Robin. Grayson proved to be a different kind of Batman, being optimistic about Damian’s rehabilitation. In contrast, Damian found his older brother to be annoying, but came to respect his fighting ability.
An uphill battle
When Bruce returned, his relationship with Damian was marked by a constant struggle to contain his son’s violent impulses. In the NoBody arc, Damian gave into his instincts and murdered the villain NoBody. Although a rift developed between them, Bruce never stopped believing in Damian. This inner conflict has defined much of Damian’s journey, pointing towards the argument of nature vs nurture. Talia raised Damian to be merciless as soon as he was born. That kind of conditioning is going to be with him for the rest of his life. Under Batman’s tutelage, Damian learned the value of human life. He wanted to live up to his father’s example by fighting crime his way, which showed a tremendous amount of character development.
The possibility of Damian slipping into his old ways makes for an interesting story. In a possible future where Damian was unable to stop Bruce from being killed, he became a darker Batman. He wasn’t afraid to kill criminals and even went so far as to sell his soul to a demon so he could fight a continual war in Gotham.
As Robin, Damian has matured enough to become the leader of the latest version of the Teen Titans. His self-entitlement has lessened, but his arrogance is still intact. Damian’s pride has become a defining character trait. It makes him compelling, and as he grows, his mettle will be tested again and again. His determination is what makes him worthy of Batman’s legacy.