Batman: Birth of the Demon

Batman Birth of the demonDC recently (relatively) released Batman:  Birth of the Demon trade paperback, collecting what they call “The Demon Trilogy.”  That trilogy includes Son of the Demon, Bride of the Demon, and Birth of the Demon.  Son of the Demon, as you may know, is the story of the birth of Damian Wayne, although some retconning is required, which we’ll discuss later.  So, what are these stories about?  Well, they’re about Ra’s Al Ghul, of course.  Oh, you want some more details?  Fine.

Son of the Demon is mainly about Talia and Batman hooking up and getting all preggers.  But there’s also the plot of someone named Qayin taking control of a military device that will control the weather, and trying to start a war between the USA and USSR by hitting Moscow with a hurricane.  It was a simpler time back then.  Qayin is a former pupil of Ra’s, and is also responsible for the death of Talia’s mother Melisande.  Remember this, because it will come up later.  Batman teams up with Ra’s to stop Qayin, but Batman also keeps Ra’s from getting control of the weather controlling satellite.

Bride of the Demon is about Ra’s Al Ghul breaking into an aging actress Evelyn Grace’s home, convince her to leave, restore her youth to her with a Lazarus Pit, and then taking her to bed because they are now married.  All it took was a confession of feelings, essentially.  Simpler times.  The catastrophe this time is Ra’s wanting to plug the hole in the ozone layer.  Remember when that was a big concern?  His plan is to release a ton (not sure how much exactly) of ozone gasses into the atmosphere.  Of course, before the ozone reaches the…ozone layer of the atmosphere, it will create a greenhouse effect and kill damn near everything.  But Ra’s has a plan to survive and rebuild the Earth.  Of course Batman has to stop him,  because he’s against destroying all life, or something. 

Birth of the Demon is about how Ra’s Al Ghul went from a happy physician to this homicidal maniac that we all know and love.  Well, kind of.  We find out how he comes up with the idea of the Lazarus Pit, and his first attempt at it.

These were all fine stories.  The first two were written by Mike Barr, with Birth being written by Dennis O’Neil, but there is one thing that I noticed when going back to see how to spell Melisande that I didn’t notice when I read through these stories.  The death of Talia’s mother is told two different ways in Son and Birth.  In Son, Qayin is responsible when he bumps her into a Lazarus Pit that isn’t ready to be restorative.  Or something like that.  However in Birth, Talia tells Batman that her mother died of a drug overdose.

This little tidbit makes me question if these three stories were actually intended to be a trilogy.  First, they were written over the span of about 5 years.  Second, you’d think they’d be able to remember a detail from part one by the time they got around to writing part 3.  And it’s not even that big of a deal in Birth.  The line about Ra’s meeting her mother at Woodstock, and then her mother died of a drug overdose.  It only comes up because Batman asks her if she has used the Lazarus Pit, to which she replies that she’s not ever 30 yet.  However, without digging too much into it, I imagine the story in Son is the one that is considered continuity.  It’s what I’m going to believe anyways.

There’s one more thing that makes me wonder if this really is a trilogy.  Bride ends with Ra’s being presumed dead by Batman, Talia, and Evelyn.  Also, Evelyn is pregnant with his child.  Birth begins with Talia trying to prepare a Lazarus Pit for Ra’s, and Batman continuing to research possible locations for Lazarus Pits, and thwarting Talia’s attempts.  So, something is missing somewhere in there.

On the back of the trade, these stories are advertised as serving as a prequel to Grant Morrison’s Batman & Son story, which introduces Damian Wayne to DC continuity.  However, there is a little bit of retconning that needs to be done.  The story ends with Batman not knowing that his son was born.  He believes Talia miscarried, caused by a fight with Qayin.  He believes this because this is what Talia told him.  However, it is not true.  She does give birth to the child, but gives the child up for adoption.  So, it’s not too complicated to just say she didn’t give up the child.

Overall, these stories are good reads, despite their inconsistencies.

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