Had to wait for the moment of sadness to pass before writing this. Over the course of all of the Batman books in the New 52, Damian Wayne had become an extremely likeable character despite being a petulant, disobedient child. Even before the big revamp, really, as Grant Morrison teamed him as Robin with Dick Grayson's Batman to enormous success. The prodigal son has provided us with some heartbreaking moments where we have seen him take ungodly beatings and display incomparable courage and resilience for a ten year old. None of them are as devastating as this.
By now, nothing I am writing here should be spoilers as everywhere you look that even mentions comics is talking about this book. The cover offers more than a hint, after all. If you have avoided all allusions to this book until now, read no further or get spoiled. The book kind of sums up Damian's stint as Robin with plenty of callbacks in a small space. Whether all the symmetry is intentional is unknown but it comes in bunches.
Batman himself is background here as he is still trapped and tied up. This allows Talia to taunt the Dark Knight as Damian's genetic experiment “brother” leads an attack at what looks like a military museum where Red Robin is investigating. Damian flies in and distracts the big monster and his soldiers. Soon after, he is joined by Nightwing, reuniting the former Dynamic Duo. Damian tells Dick that he considers him his greatest partner. High praise considering his own father is his current partner.
When Nightwing gets into certain mortal peril against the giant Leviathan agent, Robin asserts himself and defends him. The resulting fight is painful for both Robin and the audience. In a callback to the Batman and Robin “Born To Kill” storyline, Damian tries to break his promise to his father to not kill anyone. Unfortunately, this is a promise he manages to keep. The foot soldiers pierce him with arrows and the behemoth impales his “twin”.
In my previous review of the latest Red Hood and the Outlaws, I mentioned how Jason Todd sees himself and Damian as being very similar. Exactly as Batman was too late to save his second Robin (Todd) from dying in an explosion, he doesn't arrive in time to keep his current Robin (and son) from being on the business end of a sword.
Even with the cataclysmic event that happens here, the book receives 4 stars and not 5 because I truly don't believe that Robin is dead or, at least, not permanently. Talia's moment of “weakness” will probably result in a Lazarus Pit dunking for Damian or something to that effect. It would make for a better story, but not a better feeling, if his death turns out to be permanent. There would be much more riveting narrative and a genuine feeling of loss for Bat fans everywhere.