perletwo: damian, brat wonder (robin - brat wonder)
perletwo ([personal profile] perletwo) wrote in [community profile] scans_daily2011-01-12 08:04 pm

Batgirl #17 - fun fun fun 'til Daddy takes the Batpod away

2 and 2/3 pages from Batgirl #17, plus small preview image. My love for Steph/Damian team-ups continues to grow with this issue. Batgirl and Robin are investigating a series of kidnappings of upper-middle-class children (as opposed to Damian's 'child of the super-rich' class), and begin by trailing a group of schoolkids on a field trip to the museum. One of them has to go undercover and blend while the other serves as mission runner. Guess who's which, and how well it works out?





Observing Damian's attempts to mix with the schoolchildren, Steph discovers the chink in his armor.



The kidnappers acquire their target, but not for long with this ragtag team on their necks! After, Batgirl and Robin debrief and decompress.



What indeed? ;D







Nifty, no?
jarodrussell: (Li'l Matches)

[personal profile] jarodrussell 2011-01-13 09:05 pm (UTC)(link)
Damian doesn't have that choice because he's never been in a situation where he's been able to choose.

That's not entirely true. He was in a position where Talia told him to leave Dick so they could rule the world or she would just clone another version of him, and he chose to stick with Dick and the mission. The idea that all Damian has ever known is The Mission is patently untrue. All Damian ever knew until The Mission was that the world was his oyster should he choose it, and when given the choice, he chose to leave that behind.

...based on seeing how bad he was with the kids his own age...

Because he has so much in common with them? Can we similarly judge Stephanie's social skills, or lack there of, based on how well she participates in a discussion on technology with Barbara and Wendy1? Damian builds flying cars, and normal ten year old kids build LEGO cars. I'm not sure how he's supposed to properly interact with them without putting on a complete farce, even though based on his undercover work with Supergirl (see icon), I'm pretty sure he's capable of putting on a farce, which only adds to the WTF-ery of this scene in the first place.

Plus, we do know he can interact with kids his own age, because he gave that kid he was hanging out with a motorcycle. I don't remember issue, because it was before I started paying attention to Damian.

That, really, is the crux of my argument, though. Everything about this narrative sets Stephanie's idea of "fun" up as being the superior version, and I dislike seeing that applied to Damian. I don't mind seeing him be lighthearted...quite the opposite, the few times he and Dick goof around are fun, I LOL'd that time he teased Tim when the papers said he was engaged to Tam Fox, and I really enjoyed his cross-over with Supergirl...but the whole idea that Damian needs to be taught to unwind like average kids his age...eh.

It's the same road DC took Oracle down, and I just don't want to see the same done to Damian under the banner that he needs to lighten up. I like Damian as a snarky twerp.

---

1. Within the domain of this discussion, I'm pretending they're geniuses capable of discussing technology, as much of a stretch as that is.
icon_uk: (Default)

[personal profile] icon_uk 2011-01-13 09:41 pm (UTC)(link)
Umm, I was talking about "choose to have fun", both the options you mention are all consuming life missions, just different all consuming life missions. Neither involves Damian having much of a chance to relax.

Because he has so much in common with them? Can we similarly judge Stephanie's social skills, or lack there of, based on how well she participates in a discussion on technology with Barbara and Wendy?

Not even remotely comparable, as intellect and social skills are wildly different. Steph couldn't talk as a tech-equal with Wendy, but chances are they'd at least have heard of the same bands, or would be able to chat about their childhoods, to understand each other better. Damian not only couldn't, but wouldn't know why anyone would want to, and THAT'S where the lack is, he has little to no ability to empathise with other people, and having fun is part of that.

Damian builds flying cars, and normal ten year old kids build LEGO cars.

Yes, he did it to advance the mission, a ten year old would do it just because it was cool. DICK thought the flying car was cool, Damian saw it as a useful tool.

I'm not sure how he's supposed to properly interact with them without putting on a complete farce, even though based on his undercover work with Supergirl (see icon), I'm pretty sure he's capable of putting on a farce, which only adds to the WTF-ery of this scene in the first place.

What he did with Supergirl was an exercise in humiliation for her, he wanted her to feel stupid and inept to boost his own ego, that's hardly "play" or "fun".

Plus, we do know he can interact with kids his own age, because he gave that kid he was hanging out with a motorcycle. I don't remember issue, because it was before I started paying attention to Damian.

You mean Colin the metahuman metamorph brutalised child victim? Yeah, because he's your average peer. Colin is just as damaged in his own way as Damian is.
jarodrussell: (Default)

[personal profile] jarodrussell 2011-01-13 10:23 pm (UTC)(link)
...but wouldn't know why anyone would want to...

So "empathize" means to listen to people drone on about stuff you don't care about? I had no idea it was such an offensive concept.
icon_uk: (Default)

[personal profile] icon_uk 2011-01-13 10:34 pm (UTC)(link)
No, to empathise is to be aware of a common emotional state that underlies most of humanity and appreciate that the other persons emotional state has value too. Damian pretty much completely lacks that ability,

It can be listening to someone drone on, but because you can appreciate that whilst it may not be the most important thing in the world to YOU, it IS to the person doing the talking, and allowing that that had validity.

[personal profile] psychopathicus_rex 2011-01-13 10:54 pm (UTC)(link)
Replace 'empathize' with 'understand', if you prefer. He can't UNDERSTAND other people. This means he's cut off from a whole world of normal human stuff that most of us take for granted, one which goes far beyond 'listening to people drone on about stuff you don't care about'. That's one of the downsides of human interaction, sure, but he's cut off from the upsides, as well. If someone tells a really good joke, he'll be the only one who doesn't laugh. If someone tries to initiate a normal conversation with him, he'll cut them off before it gets started. 'No man is an island', they say, but he has only the most tenuous of connections to regular human interaction.
Furthermore, there's the issue of play. Play is one of the most basic parts of life in general; it's found in just about every sort of animal that is even remotely sociable. Even Bruce Wayne, tortured soul that he is, can at least understand the concept of 'play' - he had a period in his life when he was just a normal kid who liked to fart around and do kid stuff. Damian has NEVER had that - from day one, he's had every ounce of skill and imagination in him forced into the mold of the perfect little assassin. Sure, he can get snarky enjoyment out of messing around with others, but that's not the same thing. Play is about relaxation and exploration, messing around purely for the sake of messing around. It's not only an enjoyable thing, it's a basic part of human development - if you don't have it in your life at some point, you tend to wind up pretty messed up.
jarodrussell: (Default)

[personal profile] jarodrussell 2011-01-13 11:16 pm (UTC)(link)
...tenuous of connections to regular human interaction.

You all talk as if that was a bad thing.

Play is about relaxation and exploration, messing around purely for the sake of messing around.

So am I the only one here who thinks he enjoyed building the flying Batmobile? Am I the only one who thinks he saw an unfinished Batmobile, was curious about it, and started absently tinkering with it the same way a regular ten year old might build a LEGO car? Tony Stark used to do this all the time, getting lost working on some new project that has a practical use in the field, and no one says he should take some time off and...

Oh, right. "Used to." Nevermind. I'm going to go find some Phineas & Ferb to watch. Not as much snark as Damian Wayne, but it's at least a narrative that understand the dichotomy between Average Teenager and Genius Kids.

[personal profile] psychopathicus_rex 2011-01-13 11:58 pm (UTC)(link)
Why yes, I do. Any creature, period, who can't interact with others of his or her species in a more-or-less civil manner is going to have a tough time in life. (This is, of course, leaving out such extremely territorial creatures as tigers, etc., for whom interaction with others is purely a matter of driving out competitors.)
Perhaps he did enjoy it, but I don't think it counts as play. Enjoying your work is not the same as playing; Damian was tinkering with the car because he thought he could improve it, which would lead to advantages in the field. It's not at all the same as putting together a LEGO car - that IS genuine play, because it has no actual purpose beyond ones own enjoyment. Play is for the sake of play alone.
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)

[personal profile] sistermagpie 2011-01-20 06:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Late on this, but I have to agree with Jarod here, because it's a pet peeve of mine. I can remember arguing about that in children's books where things that middle class suburban people associate with their childhoods are taken as automatically good and healthy and anything that interferes with that is somehow unhealthy and taking something away from a kid's development.

This is a slightly different thing but it's the similar. Damian does know how to have fun. He's been working with Dick Grayson, not exactly known for not injecting fun into his work. He said the TT were fun. That rebuilding a Batmobile looks like work to *us* doesn't mean that it wasn't fun for Damian. Plenty of people tinker with cars etc. for fun. Damian had the added plus of the satisfaction of being to actually fly in the flying car that he fixed (also fun).

Playing actually is pretty much the same thing as enjoying your work. Play is about learning and getting better at things, it's just that what kids play at are often things that adults take for granted. Jumping in a moon bounce is fun because it feels fun, but it's also teaching physical coordination and trying out new sentations. Stephanie's far past the age for the moon bounce, but it's fun for her because it's associated with those memories. Since Damian bounces around all the time, flies and swings from buildings, taking him to a moon bounce is more like the equivalent of saying Dick Grayson doesn't know how to have fun because he finds swingsets boring.

True, Damian's been encouraged in a certain way as a kid so there's a lot of things he hasn't been exposed to until now. I would think that since he's been living in Gotham he'd have been exposed to a lot more, though, and probably picked up interests on his own. Just as I'm sure he didn't go to pizza parlors at home and now he's shown enjoying them with Dick. Dick's shared things that he thought were fun with him, like when he was all excited about finding clues in the Manor. But most of the things Damian himself seems interested in are more cerebral, and that doesn't make him different than a lot of people. He finds going over financial records easy and fun, likes to imitate other peoples' voices, likes trying out different weaspons. All good for his job, but that's why he likes his job.

[personal profile] psychopathicus_rex 2011-01-20 09:57 pm (UTC)(link)
I see your point, but I still say there is a good deal of virtue in simple play for its own sake. You're right, there is certainly nothing wrong in enjoying your work and more cerebral types of enjoyment - hell, as a kid, I spent all my time reading; I can hardly argue against that sort of thing - but simple play for its own sake is good for you, because it allows you to lighten up and relax. It doesn't have to be the moon bounce example given here - it can be as simple as toying around with a top, or running a stick along a fence, or any one of a thousand other tiny little things. It's getting your mind off things and just letting it wander, finding enjoyment in things purely for the sake of enjoyment. Sure, there's nothing wrong with Damian enjoying his work, but he's far too tense - a little relaxation would not hurt him one bit.
icon_uk: (Default)

[personal profile] icon_uk 2011-01-14 08:28 am (UTC)(link)
You all talk as if that was a bad thing.

And the fact as diverse a crowd as we are do doesn't... hint at anything to you perhaps?

And Tony Stark is your template for healthy childhood and mature emotional state?

Phineas and Ferb is also a bad example, as it's been shown many times that their intellects are well balanced by emotionally well rounded personalities and a perfectly natural approach to play. They DO do what they do because they find it fun, and share their projects with each other and their friends.

Look at the Thaddeus and Thor episode where after unveiling their multi-level treehouse (with imported Italian marble floors) they compliment the others on the liquorice dispenser, and are quite genuine about it.
jarodrussell: (Default)

[personal profile] jarodrussell 2011-01-14 04:45 pm (UTC)(link)
Phineas and Ferb is also a bad example...

P&F isn't an example, it's an alternative, hence my acknowledging there wouldn't be as much snark as a Damian story.

That said, I would much prefer a story where Damian learns to be a bit less of a jerk with P&F, rather than Stephanie Brown. (Maybe a race around the world or something.) Given what we know from Batman #666, that some time in the future Damian rebels against being a hero by turning to science1, that doesn't undermine my previously stated theory that working on the flying Batmobile might have been his way of playing around, or learning more about his father. The fact it turned into something useful doesn't negate it could have started as...not business.

There's a scene in B&R #1 or #2 where Damian is working on the flying Batmobile, which we know works because they just used it to catch that Toad guy. If you ask me, that's not Damian training to be Robin, it's Damian puttering around with his toys. The car worked, what's to fix? Why was taking the engine apart? Why was he strangely aloof-but-polite when Alfred brought him dinner? He was enjoying himself, he was relaxed. That's a scene right out of Fantastic Four with Reed messing with the Fantasticar.

You can make wisecracks about Tony Stark's dysfunctional childhood all you like, but his childhood isn't that much different than Damian's: grew up super-rich and super-smart with overbearing parents and escaped from it all by working on machines.

*shrugs*

If I haven't explained myself by now, I don't think I'll be able to. What I do know is, I've seen this same kind of thing happen to my other favorite characters...Stargirl, Impulse, Oracle, and Iron Man...and whenever writers start having them do silly "humanizing" stuff like the bouncy castle, it always ends with their hyper-competence being dulled down so readers can relate to them better. I don't want to see Damian transformed from a quirky curmudgeon who's fun to read into a well-rounded character people like.

---

1. At least that's what I inferred from a panel that said, "He rebelled," while showing Damian with a chemistry set.
icon_uk: (Default)

[personal profile] icon_uk 2011-01-14 04:57 pm (UTC)(link)
Damian was working with the engine because the design HADN'T worked until he, sic, improved on his father's designs. He was most likely checking his own handiwork for flaws

And even then, even if it was "fun" for him, it wasn't "play" and it certainly wasn't a socialising experience.

Comparing Damian and Tony only proves my point, Tony is in many ways a damaged individual, a recovering alcoholic, with more than one nervous breakdown to his name, unsuccesful businesses, and a string of massively unsuccessful relationships behind him and many, many friendships soured or destroyed by his actions. That's not a template to follow to be anything like a well rounded human being.