A mysterious tournament invitation sent to the League of Shadows is dismissed by Talia Al Ghul, but gets the attention of her son, Damian Wayne.
Warning: contains spoilers for Detective Comics #1034
After rejecting Batman and returning to the League of Assassins, Damian Wayne is intrigued by an invitation to a tournament. The former Robin seeks to assume the throne of Ra’s Al Ghul, and the mysterious competition could provide a pathway to achieve that goal.
As the Dark Knight rebuilds his war on crime in Gotham from the ground up, he now does so without a Boy Wonder at his side. Damian Wayne has stepped down as Robin and disbanded the Teen Titans. The death of Alfred Pennyworth has weighed heavily on the boy and played a big part in his decisions. In the Robin story that accompanied Batman #106, it is revealed that Damian has returned to his mother Talia Al Ghul and the League of Assassins with the intention to take his place as the heir to his grandfather’s throne. However, Talia suggests training under Batman has weakened her son. Before they can discuss the matter further, Damian and Talia are attacked by assassins claiming to be from the League of Lazarus.
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Damian’s mother Talia knows the attack they faced is a message regarding a tournament held by the League of Lazarus. In the preview for the continuation of Damian’s story in Detective Comics #1034 by Joshua Williamson and Gleb Melnikov, Talia tells Damian that the Demon’s Head Empire formerly had three classes and that the League of Lazarus rebelled against Ra’s Al Ghul. She has absolutely no interest in the tournament, but these new revelations are clearly intriguing to Damian given his reaction. The boy had arrived in Markovia aiming to return to his rightful place and finding out about a tournament and factions of his father’s empire that had been kept from him have made it clear there are still mysteries left to uncover. It is also convenient that the attack happened just as mother and son are reunited. Talia is as calculating and capable as her father, perhaps the attack was orchestrated with the exact intentions of catching Damian’s eye.
Although details about the nature of the tournament aren’t known to Damian Wayne, it’s not surprising he’s interested. If he does intend to rule the empire of Ra’s, this tournament could present a unique opportunity to send a message to any other who covet the throne. Anything involving the legacy of Ra’s Al Ghul or the League of Assassins is likely to have bloodshed or combat involved, so it wouldn’t be ridiculous to assume the League of Lazarus’ tournament will incorporate brutality and fights to the death, reminiscent of an event like Mortal Kombat. Damian also has a history of disregarding the wishes of his parents and trying to find his own path, so the fact Talia wants nothing to do with the invitation is another thing likely to attract Damian’s participation.
While Damian is clearly interested in traveling further into the assassin-filled world of his mother and grandfather, Bruce’s influence still lingers. To him, curiosity about a case to solve is almost as intriguing as learning of the tournament, so clearly the detective in him is not gone. The former Robin is approaching a crossroads, and whatever the League of Lazarus tournament has in store might help to break away from whatever hold Batman still has on Damian Wayne.
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