So, Can Damian Act Right Again Yet?
Remember all that awesome character development that Damian Wayne has had over the last few years? When he learned to trust the other boys of the Bat family and began to see them as his brothers? Or how about earlier in Tom King’s Batman run when we saw that really cool moment of the family just sitting down to eat burgers together? Did you like all of that? Well if you did, too bad. Because Damian is back to being an annoying little brat. Character development? Gone. Sense of family with the former Robins? Forget about it. Thank God Jason Todd knows how to handle an annoying little kid. Oh yeah, and the other Titans fought a gamer with superpowers. So there’s that.
Based on dialogue, this story more than likely takes place before Jason reaches Mexico. Damian tracked his former partner down to Texas in a bar drinking his problems away. When Damian tells Jason that the two of them need to talk, Jason believes that he is there to tell him about Roy Harper’s death in Sanctuary. He informs Damian that Bruce already told him and gets up to play a game of darts. Damian stands up to play with him and informs him that this is about the Titans almost dying as a result of bad intel. Jason asks if everyone made it out alive, and Damian tells him that none of the young heroes died. “Were you expecting otherwise? Maybe you hoped we’d all die down there? Someone knew we were coming. And I know who. It was you!” He then drives a dart directly into Jason’s leg and attacks. The next panel shows Damian flying through a window and smacking the concrete. He pulls his civilian clothes off and dawns his mask just in time for Red Hood to come outside. While he initially holds back to try to get an explanation from Robin, Damian decides to play dirty. He pulls out the mysterious box that he stole from Alfred and shows it to Red Hood. Whatever is in this box must be of the highest significance to Jason, because according to him, “Batman wouldn’t stoop this low.” When Robin demands to know the truth from Red Hood, Jason replies, “The truth is…Now I’m pissed.” He swats the box away and begins what may be the worst beating Damian has ever received. After being thrown around and beaten to a literal pulp, Damian reveals a suicide vest under his uniform. Unfortunately for him, Jason immediately recognizes it as a fake. “Nice bluff, kid…I’m not working for the Other, Robin. In time, you’ll understand that. But from here on out, if you or your team come looking for me…I’ll put you all in the ground for him.”
Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, the rest of the team is alerted to a Metahuman named Joystick causing riots in a mall. They quickly arrive and attempt to dispatch him but are met with resistance. He quickly assumes control of Djinn and begins taking out each member of the team. When Crush attempts to shake Djinn out of it, Joystick tells her before throwing her out a window, “Oh she’s in here, all right. And she really likes you, Crush. But, man, she cannot stop thinking about this Robin kid. In fact, he’s all she thinks about.” However, seeing Crush get hurt gives Djinn enough control to allow Red Arrow to get Joystick out of her head. Before he can respond, Crush knocks him out and hands him over to police. Djinn then visits him on Riker’s Island, where she tells him that she can’t afford him telling everyone her secrets. She proceeds to use her magic to seal his mouth completely shut. Back at their base, Robin’s motorcycle slowly pulls into the garage before he falls off of it in a broken heap. Ironically, Djinn is right there to pick him up and carry him off. As she floats away with Robin in her arms, Crush comes out of one of the cars, remembers what Joystick said and smashes in the hood of one of the vehicles.
Well. That happened. First, I’ll get part of this out of the way by saying I didn’t really care about the Joystick story. I can appreciate that we saw the team finally trying to work together, and now we know that Djinn is apparently obsessed with Robin, but really? Joystick? It would have meant more for the team to fight someone who wasn’t a throw-away villain. It seems like the writers are going to start building to a love triangle between Robin, Djinn and Crush. I’m sure that will be used to cause tension within the team that they’ll have to get over in order to defeat the Other.
Speaking of Robin and the Other, I enjoyed seeing Red Hood teach Damian a lesson. Since this new Teen Titan team formed, Damian’s writing has been almost unbearable at times. As someone who considered Damian one of my favorite Bat family members, his character has been almost ruined for me. He made so much progress in the last few years only to have that progress undone. Hopefully, after taking that brutal beating from Jason, Damian will get his head on straight. For me, that was the best part of this whole annual.