Plus exclusive new pages from the next issue of Batman Inc. Buzzfeed talked with the Batman author over the phone about divorce, death, and irrevocable decisions.
Who was Damian Wayne?
Grant Morrison: Damian Wayne is the son of Batman. Back in the '70s, when he split up with Robin, he kind of went solo for a while and he lived in a penthouse in Gotham City and was kind of James Bond Batman: hairy-chested, very sexy, getting off with girls. And one of the women he became attached to was Talia al Ghul, who is the daughter of the world's ultimate criminal mastermind, Ra's al Ghul. And most people will be familiar with these characters from the movies. Talia appears in The Dark Knight Rises and Ra's appeared in Batman Begins.
So what you have here is Batman basically has a relationship with the world's greatest criminal mastermind, and their son becomes this super-assassin kid who's been trained by the greatest fighters in the world, who'd been brought up to be the tyrant who will take over the world in the future, and instead of this, the kid rebels against his mother and goes to Batman, his father, and basically announces himself. And Batman had no idea he had a kid, and suddenly he has a 10-year-old son who is a trained killer. So the whole story is about how Batman and his allies, particularly Dick Grayson, have been turning this vicious little villainous kid into a superhero over the last six years. So that's who Damian is: the child of the world's greatest crime fighter and the world's most evil girl.
You said Damian's been training with his dad for six years. Is that six years in Batman time or six real-world years?
GM: Six years in human time. In Batman time it's only been about a year.
In "Batman, Inc.," Talia looks like she's completely turned on her son, other than a moment of remorse at the end of the issue. Is she really that angry at Damian for choosing Batman over her?
GM: She's very angry, but she mostly hates Batman. And the thing for me was to tell a story about divorce. Because when I was a kid, my parents divorced. So I always kind of wanted to tell the story of what if you were a child of Batman and this incredible, exotic, brilliant woman who runs a criminal empire? There was once a time when Batman was in love with her and she was in love with him, but now she hates him, she hates him so bad. Because that's what happens to people, and it's really sad — people who used to really love each other end up in divorce courts, shouting at each other and bringing out the worst qualities of one another, and they hate each other. So I thought, let's expose this little kid to this. This new Robin, who is right in the middle of these two people, and because it's Batman and Talia, it's not just Damian's parents falling out, but when they fall out, the whole world ends. A superhero against a super-criminal. So it's really a way to explore what happens to kids when their parents really grow to hate one another.
Damian seemed very mature, and very dangerous, for a 10-year-old.
GM: Talia brought him up to be a world conqueror, an Alexander the Great of the 21st century, and take over the world — trained him with world-class assassins and groomed him to rule. But instead he wants to be a superhero and wants to be more like his father. So Talia basically says, OK, if you want to be like your father, I'll destroy everything that your father represents. And some people have said she seems really petty to use all of her resources just to mess with one man, and honestly, I just thought of my mother. If she had had those resources in 1972, she'd have messed up my dad just the same way. So it's about the hate that grows between lovers and the horror of being a little kid trapped in between that — and wondering why your parents don't just get on, and why everything isn't OK.