- Happy Birthday, Damian. You lose.
Appearing in "Someday Never Comes"
- Otto Netz (Phone Call Only)
Synopsis for "Someday Never Comes"
Damian was born of an artificial womb. When his nine-month term cycle had completed, his mother Talia al Ghul took him from the womb and placed him into a pool of water, expecting him to learn to swim as a newborn. One of his nurses warned that this act was foolish, and Talia killed her, causing her body to slump into the pool beside the baby. Damian saw the water change from blue to red as the cold, dead eyes of the woman stared at him under the water. Finally, his mother picked him up, dripping water and blood, and welcomed him to their world.
On his fifth birthday, Talia began training him in swordsmanship, regaling him with a story of Alexander the Great, whom the boy admired. When she mentioned Alexander's father King Philip, Damian stopped fighting, and asked who his father was. She explained that she had chosen not to tell him until a certain time. He would earn the right to know his father's identity when, on his birthday, he could defeat her in a sword fight. On this day, though, she was interrupted by a call from Otto Netz.
While Talia took the call, Damian crept into her bedroom, and in a chest at the foot of her bed, he spotted a piece of dark fabric dangling out. When Talia returned from her phone call, she discovered that Damian had found the Batman's cowl, which she had kept, and had put it on. Smiling, she took it off of him, and explained that while he has some of the Bat in him, he is more. He is Damian; based on the Greek word Damianos for "to tame." He would tame the world, and when that taming was done, the al Ghul dynasty would take shape, and Damian would control it. With luck, she hoped, his father would join them in ruling.
To prepare him for his eventual rule, Talia had Damian train with the League of Assassins to master the art of fighting. She had him learn from musicians, from painters. Every facet of art in life would have to be mastered completely; every subject. Through this education, he would come to understand that he was incapable of nothing when his mind and body worked in tandem. For four years, he trained, and on each birthday, he fought his mother and lost again. Each loss, however, made him want to know the truth of his parentage all the more.
On his tenth birthday, Talia had Damian escape a team of assassins while in free-fall from thousands of feet above the ground. After picking off several with automatic weapons, he downed the rest by trapping them within one of their downed comrades' parachutes. While they fell to their deaths, Damian glided smoothly toward the ground. Talia's training was not yet done, though, and she sent a monstrous man-bat to face her son. Timing his moves just right, Damian leapt into the air and sliced off the creature's wings.
He had decided that it was time for the truth, and he ran up to the chateau where Talia waited. He challenged her again, this time determined to get the truth, finally. After a brutal fight, with the League of Assassins watching, Damian defeated his mother, and she conceded defeat. She promised that she would give him what he wanted while they journeyed to London.
On their submarine, Talia found Damian looking at his father's cowl again. He asked why she had kept it for so long, and she admitted that it was a reminder of the fact that his father had shown her both sides of himself, as she had shown him both sides of hers. Kneeling down in front of him, she presented him with his grandfather's sword, reminding that Damian was to be an al Ghul first, and a Wayne second, always.
In London, Talia had Batman subdued by the Man-Bats, and cryptically revealed that she intended to leave her son - and his son - with him. While she prepared for the coming of a whole new kind of terror, Damian would benefit from his father's guiding hand. And so it was that Batman was introduced to his ten year old son; an accomplished and unabashed killer.
- As Damian was born in an artificial womb, it is possible that his father's genetic material was gathered some time before Bruce Wayne became Batman, and that his sexual relationship with Talia, as Batman, began later.
- This issue was released between issues 12 and 13 of the main series.
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