What words come to mind when you hear the name “Damian Wayne”?

Violent? Driven? Searching? Testing the boundaries of what’s considered heroic behavior over and over again?

Here’s one that likely isn’t first to mind for most Bat-fans: childlike. And yet, look at Damian. He’s still a child. His experiences may go far beyond what’s typical for your average pre-teen (okay, far, FAR beyond), but the guy isn’t even old enough to drive.

In that spirit, acclaimed comic writer and artist Juni Ba is returning a touch of innocent fun to Batman’s most recent Robin. Make no mistake, Damian’s still Talia al Ghul’s son and the former heir to the League of Assassins, and he’s still as stubborn and ego-driven as ever. But in this week’s The Boy Wonder #1, Robin feels like a child again. He’s not yet allowed to go on solo missions and is largely driven by a determination to prove himself worthy of the Robin mantle. And as if all that’s not quite childlike enough for you, the entire story is conveyed by Robin himself, who tells his tale as if it were a fairy tale, with him in the role of the handsome prince.

It's not a typical Damian Wayne story by any stretch, so we checked in with Ba to see if we could find out how it all came together.

The DCU has such a rich universe of heroes and villains. How did you settle on Robin as the focus for your first story at DC?

I think it’s because he’s the embodiment of the childlike fun at the heart of superheroes. It’s a kid who gets to go on crazy adventures with a cool hero, and together they do what’s right. This story, though, is about going on adventures with the other child heroes, learning from them, finding solidarity, family and a way to even surpass the original role your mantle entails.

Why did you specifically choose Damian as the main Robin in The Boy Wonder, teaming up with a different former Robin each issue?

Probably because I love him the most. He’s such an annoying brat, but also a kid who has to overcome a lot of issues and I sympathized a lot with that. He’s at the tail end of the Robin list, so he’s a great surrogate for the audience to discover this world and his predecessors. And most of all, he’s not at all a beacon of perfection like most DC heroes are expected to be, and that makes him great to explore this idea of feeling inadequate. Not realizing your own potential as something simply different.

As both a writer and artist, how does your process work? Do you script then draw? Or does the art dictate the script?

My process is entirely visual. Sketches, then a storyboard, then final pages. So much of the storytelling is done with visuals driving it or supporting the words with (I think) striking imagery to go along with it. It allows me to really give a sense of the bigger than life aspect of all that takes place.

Why is the Robin mantle such an important piece of the Bat-Mythos?

He’s a pivotal part, even! To quote Darwyn Cooke, there’s a childlike heart to the concept of the superhero. It’s this beacon of truth and goodness showing the reader characters who can represent the best in all of us. And the concept of Robin puts that child front and center in fun adventures where she/he gets to actively participate. And let’s be honest, it’s the least realistic concept as well, but why expect realism from such worlds? Embrace the fun! 

Outside of Robin, was there a character from the Bat-Mythos you were really looking forward to writing and drawing?

I try not to have such lists, but Superman and Etrigan are two that I keep thinking about.

How is your unique style bringing something to Robin that fans have never seen before?

I think I’m really tapping into a storytelling style that mixes cartoony and character-focused form. It may look cartoony, but I think I managed to find an angle for every team-up story that delves into the complexities of the characters—Damian especially, of course—that makes for a great synthesis of these characters for people to discover. It’s designed to be accessible to anyone and especially people with no prior knowledge. So, for those who know this world, it’s a great summary and a new adventure with some fun twists on familiar things. And for those who don’t know what the Batman world is like, this is for you. You’re welcome and encouraged to get in!

The Boy Wonder #1 by Juni Ba with Chris O’Halloran is available this week in print and as a digital comic book.