SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Teen Titans #23, from Adam Glass, Bernard Change, Scott Hanna, Hi-Fi and Rob Leigh, on sale now.
In the current Teen Titans run, we're witnessing the evolution of Damian Wayne into a more cold, calculating hero. Or anti-hero, if you take into account how he's built a secret prison and is keeping his enemies there, torturing them and learning their secrets.
It's no surprise, given Robin secretly been liaisingwith a disgraced Jason Todd (aka Red Hood) and figuring out how to deal with his own cravings for violent vigilantism. Come Issue #23, Damian -- as the team leader, Robin -- reveals another dark gem from his playbook, only this time he actually takes a page from Warner Bros.' popular Young Justice cartoon.
In this issue, we see Commissioner Jim Gordon being publicly assassinated, shot through the head. Kid Flash and Roundhouse (who's surprisingly alive after an explosion two issues ago) rush over to the scene but as the speedster tries to take Gordon to a hospital, he hears a whisper from the body. It turns out to be their magical teammate, Djinn, who used her mystical abilities and is masquerading as the Commissioner.
Damian engineered all this, as he got wind of the assassination from his prisoners, and lured the killer out. He rounds up the team to go after the shooter, Lady Vic, to find out who hired her, all while the real Gordon's still asleep at home thanks to another of Djinn's spells. It's a dangerous game because the public is in a deep state of shock -- not to mention Damian hasn't informed Gordon's family and the Justice League, as he knows no one would have agreed to his plan. It's a very sinister move, but one Robin thinks is a necessity, even if his superiors wouldn't approve.
If this ruse sounds familiar, that's likely because a similar game played out in the second season of Young Justice. The season opened, having jumped ahead in time a couple years, with Aqualad taking on a villainous role working with his father, Black Manta, and the Light (the evil society which boasted the likes of Lex Luthor, Vandal Savage and Ra's al Ghul). In Episode 7, "Depths," we saw Aqualad kill Artemis at Mount Justice to prove to the Light he was ready to join the senior table. As the episode ended, it was revealed Nightwing actually concocted this scheme, and Aqualad faked the murder. In fact, he was deep undercover on Nightwing's request, trying to discern full details of the Light and how the group was helping to facilitate an alien invasion of the planet.
The comparison to Damian's plot doesn't just come with the faked murder, though. There's also a magical switch and bait in Young Justice, as Nightwing met up with the blonde Artemis later on and gave her a charmed necklace from Zatanna, which transformed her outward appearance into that of the brunette assassin known as Tigress. Only Nightwing, Aqualad and Artemis' husband, Wally West, could see her true form, as they gambled without letting the League or the rest of their team know anything.
Clearly, Damian's rationale is similar to what Nightwing had in mind. In fact, his plan in Issue #23 seems to pay homage to Dick Grayson's own in the cartoon, proving that no matter what, all Robins are methodical and do end up thinking alike. At the end of the day, even if everyone else disapproves, they'll do what it takes for the greater good, which, in essence, is what their mentor, the Batman, always does as well.