Casual fans of the Batman Mythos would be well aware of the titular character’s outing as both the Robin and Nightwing personas respectively: the former, Robin, being the ward of Bruce Wayne’s Batman over several years, before graduating into the latter, Nightwing, becoming the much-celebrated protector of Bludhaven.
With that out of the way, let us convene to the topic at hand: Batman being Dick Grayson, or more specifically, Dick Grayson being Batman.
This may not be a conspicuous topic of familiarity for casual fans of the Batman. Hence, there is a need for a “quick take” to get everyone up to speed on what is arguably one of the most noteworthy iterations of the Caped Crusader in the history of his run in the comics.
Cover Art of the critically acclaimed Absolute Batman & Robin by Grant Morrison
The story takes place almost immediately after the events of Final Crisis and Battle for the Cowl, featuring Dick Grayson as Batman and Damian Wayne as Robin. In Final Crisis, Batman (Bruce Wayne) is believed to be dead after being killed by Darkseid. The Caped Crusader’s absence is felt by all of Gotham, prompting the rest of the Bat Family to battle it out with one another in Battle for the Cowl to become the new Dark Knight. This results in Dick Grayson ultimately coming out on top by defeating Jason Todd and thus, taking up the mantle of Batman.
Cover Art of Final Crisis depicting Superman cradling a dead Batman
Cover Art of Battle for the Cowl
A New Batman Emerges
Batman (Dick Grayson) faces off against Two-Face
First and foremost, it must be addressed that many characters in the Batman Mythos have donned the iconic cape and cowl in lieu of Bruce Wayne in DC continuity. However, despite these characters’ best efforts to do the Batman mantle justice, it can be argued that they were nothing in comparison to Dick Grayson’s Batman.
Right off the bat (pun intended), Grayson’s tenure as the Batman was wholly his “own” and not to be seen as merely a protege groomed to mimic Bruce Wayne’s own portrayal of the alter-ego. Fans were treated to a Batman who was, by all means, emotive, catching glimpses of the Dark Knight smirking and cracking jokes during battle, a stark contrast to the more stoic and ultra-serious Bruce Wayne-Batman they have come to know.
Secondly, the interactions between Dick Grayson’s Batman and Damian Wayne’s Robin offered comic readers a “fresh” dynamic between the Dark Knight and Boy Wonder. In comparison to Bruce Wayne’s Batman, who always behaved in a manner befitting a reserved father figure-type personality, Grayson’s Batman exhibited a far-less detached role, more becoming of an older brother to Damian’s Robin rather than that of a mentor. Of course, one could ascribe the contrast in dynamics to age, seeing that Bruce’s Batman was always much older than any of his sidekicks.
Thirdly, and most importantly, where Grayson’s Batman differs remarkably from Bruce’s version is in a way that the more senior Caped Crusader has never come to attain: A Batman who is free from his trauma. The distinction to be made here is in acknowledging that Bruce’s Batman is the direct result of the trauma he sustained following the murder of his parents. In contrast, Grayson’s Batman is more of a continuation from the cathartic moment he achieved by overcoming his own family’s loss and becoming Nightwing. In that sense, Grayson’s Batman offers fans a sort of “liberated” and “unburdened” Dark Knight, one that does not rely on vengeance and guilt as motivators to fight crime; instead, he does so solely based on duty and justice.
Cover Art of Batman and Robin
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