Heir of the Bat (BATMAN #655-691, 2006-2009)
Damian’s introduction to his biological father did not go smoothly. Sent to Gotham by his mother, Talia, in an effort to disrupt Batman’s efforts in the city, Damian decided to stake his claim on his father’s legacy. Bruce and the rest of the Batman Family were unsurprisingly wary of the sudden addition to their ranks, but they were unable to turn the egomaniacal eight-year-old away.
Having been raised since birth in the League of Assassins, and manipulated by his own mother, Damian believed the only way to be accepted by his father would be to prove himself useful to Batman. But he was unable to understand Batman’s moral code. On his first mission to prove himself worthy, Damian caught and beheaded a low-level Super-Villain called the Spook and brought his head to the Batcave as a trophy (BATMAN #657, 2006).
Needless to say, Bruce, like the rest of the Batman Family, was horrified. But Damian was undeterred. Believing it was his birthright to be Robin, he attacked then-current Robin Tim Drake, intent on killing him and taking his place. He was unsuccessful, albeit barely, and the violence sparked a grudge between him and Tim that would last for years.
Initially skeptical of the boy’s heritage, Bruce eventually learned that Damian was indeed his son. Moments later a catastrophic explosion nearly killed both Damian and Talia. They survived, but not without extensive care from the League of Assassins. Talia then taught Damian more of his own history, and Damian learned that he’d been intended as a new “vessel” for Ra’s al Ghul to inhabit upon his resurrection—a process that would literally tear Damian’s soul out of his body.
In a rare moment of compassion, Talia stopped the ritual and allowed her son to escape. Damian fled back to Gotham to rejoin Batman and warn him of the League’s scheme to resurrect Ra’s. The League tracked him to the Batcave, forcing Damian, Robin and Batman to fight alongside one another against the assassins. In this moment Damian began earning the trust of his new comrades.
With the League deterred, Damian decided to stay with his father.
Becoming Robin (BATMAN & ROBIN, BATMAN: STREETS OF GOTHAM, 2009-2011)
Unfortunately, Damian’s time fighting side by side with his father was limited. 2008’s FINAL CRISIS left Batman displaced in time and believed dead, and Gotham City without a protector. Dick Grayson eventually took on the mantle, much to Damian’s initial dismay.
Knowing the boy’s capacity for violence, Dick didn’t want to leave Damian unsupervised and alone. So he asked Tim Drake to step down from his role as Robin and allow Damian to take his place. Tim eventually acquiesced and took on a new role (that of Red Robin) while Damian officially became Robin.
Things did not go smoothly for the new Batman and Robin. Damian’s ego and penchant for violence made him unruly in the field. It took encounters with Super-Villains like Professor Pyg to make Dick and Damian a well-oiled crime-fighting machine. Though Damian was reluctant to admit it, he began viewing Dick as a big brother. After Bruce returned to Gotham, Dick and Damian continued to work closely with each other, until 2011’s FLASHPOINT rebooted the continuity of the DC Universe.
The Death of Robin (BATMAN & ROBIN 2011-2015, BATMAN, INCORPORATED 2012-2013)
Following FLASHPOINT, Damian was made Bruce’s partner. Together, they patrolled the streets of Gotham as the Dynamic Duo, though Damian’s pre-FLASHPOINT history with Dick Grayson was not entirely deleted. In this new continuity, Damian still occasionally struggled with his League of Assassins history and often came to blows with his mother, Talia, but largely functioned as an accepted member of the Batman Family.
Things went south when Talia and her new League of Assassins splinter group, Leviathan, struck. The ensuing fight left Batman badly beaten and Damian dead at the hands of a monstrous clone called the Heretic (BATMAN, INCORPORATED #8, 2013).
Damian was laid to rest in the Wayne family cemetery—but not for long. Ra’s al Ghul stole his body, intent on reviving and returning him to the League of Assassins. The plot resulted in Damian’s body being taken to the hellish alternate dimension of Apokolips, and Bruce mounted a full-scale assault to retrieve and revive his son.
Damian was returned to life with a few added abilities. His resurrection gave him temporary powers like flight and incredible strength, but they faded over time.
The Year of Blood (ROBIN: SON OF BATMAN)
Following the presumed death of Batman (in 2015’s “Endgame”), Damian left Gotham City. When he was a child, the League had forced him to participate in a ritual called the Year of Blood, in which he traveled the world and raided various relics and artifacts from arcane cults and cultures, doing whatever it took to complete his mission. Now Damian decided to go back and undo the harm he’d caused, returning what he’d stolen and fixing whatever he’d broken.
Along with Goliath, a monstrous bat hybrid, and Nobody, the orphaned daughter of a Super-Villain he'd fought alongside Batman back home in Gotham, Damian traveled the globe trying to absolve what he could of his tumultuous past. Eventually he was forced to return to Gotham when the Court of Owls sparked 2016’s ROBIN WAR.
Following 2016’s DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH #1, Damian appointed himself leader of the Teen Titans, into which he begrudgingly recruited Starfire, Beast Boy, Raven, Kid Flash and Aqualad. Despite his certainty that none of them were up to his standards as Super Heroes, he set about training the team.
When not with the Teen Titans, Damian fell into a tenuous friendship with Jon Kent, the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, who’d been training with his father to become Superboy. Though Jon’s bubbly personality was the opposite of Damian’s, the two worked together as an unofficial team (SUPER SONS, 2017-2018).