And this is why Damian’s in a no-win situation. Being Robin puts him at odds with his mother, and with Bruce returning he potentially has no future on that side either. So his choice’s are a. return to his mother and basically be her puppet b. stay with his father’s side and potentially prove his mother right AND be forced to give up the best thing he’s ever done.
This is also why Zombie Batman’s words had to have stung, even if Damian knew it wasn’t really his father—he doesn’t want his mother to be right. Talia’s basically telling him that they only want to keep him in line as to not taint the bloodline, and what does Zombie Batman go and tell him not only a few hours later? That he’s tainting the bloodline. He doesn’t want his mother to be right.
But getting back to the panels at hand… This is a big difference from the Damian we met back in Batman and Son and the Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul who would defy “mama” for daddy, but only because he was this cool, new, exciting thing. At the end of the day, mother would step in and Damian would listen. Not anymore. Damian’s finally gotten a good idea how a real family is supposed to work, and doesn’t want any part of this one anymore. Can you blame him? His grandfather tried to steal his body and his mother made him jump in front of a goddamn missile because she was too selfish to share her son with Bruce.
And now we learn the family is even more messed up than originally thought, as if that could be possible—Damian barely saw his mother before his eighth birthday. As a child, she was probably just like Bruce, a fairy-tale someone told him at night filled with misinformation and outright lies. Considering Damian’s first words to Bruce were “I’d imagined you taller,” he thought of Bruce like meeting a movie star too. This could also tie into why Damian doesn’t actually want to meet Bruce: look at how well getting to know Talia turned out.
This also partially explains why Damian is so cold to everyone. If you were being tossed around from mentor to mentor, tutor to tutor with no one really giving a damn about you as a human being? Yeah you probably wouldn’t try to get too attached to anyone, either. He’s not used to anyone staying in his life for any extended period of time, so he doesn’t try to get to know or care about anyone so that when they do eventually leave, it won’t hurt as bad. He’s a little boy who has been burned too many times before and doesn’t want to get burned again. With a personality like his it naturally repels people and is sort of a defense mechanism to keep him safe from rejection (again, this is just one of the many reasons Damian is who he is. He’s also an ass because he’s been raised and trained to think he’s the next Alexander). This is another reason Damian is taking Dick ignoring him so hard; he let Dick in thinking he was finally different, and here he is dumping him for Bruce in a New York minute.
And let’s look at Talia, shall we? She keeps talking about how she’s the only one with Damian’s best interests at heart, but Damian has her pegged. She’s Mother Gothel from Tangled: she only wants his hair, or in this case his legacy. Damian is leverage against the Batfamily. Look at all the delightful chaos he caused the first time in Batman and Son. He’s also her legacy as an Al Ghul. She seems him as something people can point to and go “look at this. Talia made this.”
I almost find it amusing that nearly everything she’s accusing “the circus oaf and his butler” of doing are things she herself wants to do to Damian. She’s been feeding him lies and distortions since day one. She doesn’t trust or accept him. She wants to tame and brainwash him into falling in step with her and turn him into a puppet (apparently literally).
And look at Damian. He calmly listens to his mother rambling, not saying a word—until she calls Dick incapable. That’s when Damian finally puts his foot down and tries to actually defend him, only to be cut off. This is the first time Damian’s used Dick’s first name this entire comic series. Damian really cares for Dick now, and it bothers him that his mother is badmouthing him. But not because she dislikes him, but because she called him “barely fit to wear his mentor’s mantle.” Remember what I said about Damian changing his mind on what it means to be Batman? As far as Damian’s concerned, Dick is absolutely worthy to be Batman, he is Damian’s idea of Batman, and he’s not going to let anyone insinuate otherwise.
(Source: Batman and Robin 10)