Before we start chatting about this comic, I have to admit something. I’ve never liked Damian Wayne as a character. He’s as moody and insufferable as Jason Todd without any of the qualities that make the Red Hood interesting. So when I picked up the inaugural issue of The Boy Wonder, I was skeptical. 

It is with utter surprise that I can say this is a delightful read that makes me happy writer and penciler Juni Ba is tackling a Damian story.

A quick plot summary: This comic takes readers back through Damian’s origin and introduction to the Bat-family. Those already acquainted with that story won’t find any surprises here, but Ba knows that. Boy Wonder aims to retell a familiar arc well rather than reinventing the wheel. 

Whereas some narratives featuring the youngest Robin take his brooding far too seriously, Ba makes the brilliant choice of laughing along with the reader at how annoying he can be.

This is showcased clearly in the dialogue, where Damian speaks like a Scooby-Doo villain half the time, only to be interrupted by Nightwing talking like a normal person. 

Speaking of Nightwing, he and Batgirl are a couple with a child in this series–an interesting writing choice that hasn’t been explored much yet. They treat Damian as a pseudo-son in their interactions with him, so it seems like making them parents gives Ba more material to explore in terms of Dick and Barbara tutoring Robin.

It’s admittedly not a particularly novel idea to center a Bat-family comic on a hero having to learn to be in a family, but Boy Wonder has done a good job with that core idea so far. 

Ba’s pencils bring a cute style to the issue that suits Ba’s writing well. As Damian blabs incessantly about how he will prove himself to be the best Robin, he’s rendered in a playful visual palette by colorist Chris O’Halloran that’s closer to Teen Titans than Dark Knight Returns. It’s a nice contrast that he accentuates at perfect moments, like when Robin yells “Unhand me, you dolt! I can handle myself!” at Grayson only to be thrown across the room by his opponent. I’m glad to see this artist’s work featured on Black Label, where the grungy-looking Gotham seems to be the standard way of proceeding.

The weakest point is the villain. While the protagonists are well-defined, I came sway from this issue without much of an understanding of the threat Damian is facing. However, if Ba just wants to make this story about Robin developing as a person and the villain takes a back seat narratively that won’t bother me much. The characterization of the main character is so strong that this story holds its own without needing much of a focus on the antagonist.

This first issue is setting up a plot that could be summarized as ‘Damian learns to be less of an ass,’ and that’s a great conceit for a miniseries. It makes the protagonist more sympathetic. I think we can all remember that painfully awkward point in our adolescence in which we were desperately trying to seem competent while having no idea what we were doing. Boy Wonder leans into that struggle, and if the first issue is any indication, it should be an enjoyable ride. 

Recommended if… 

You are a Damian fan. 
You can’t stand Damian as a character and are ready to be surprised by this comic. 


Ba and O’Halloran are a great pairing and kick-off this miniseries on a strong note. In a DC publishing lineup absolutely saturated with Bat-family stories, this one justifies its existence with an enjoyable juxtaposition of angst and coziness. 

Score: 8/10 

DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.

“}]] Before we start chatting about this comic, I have to admit something. I’ve never liked Damian Wayne as a character. He’s as moody and…  Read More