In Grayson #12, Agent 37 a.k.a. Dick Grayson returns to Gotham and reveals to the Bat-Family that he’s been alive this entire time. Specifically, he returns to see Bruce Wayne, Jason Todd and Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon and Damian Wayne. What happens with each reunion scene is a stream-of-conscious flow of out-of-context dialogue showcasing the relationships Dick has with everyone.
To the surprise of many eagle-eyed readers including myself, these quotes were specific lines of dialogue from scenes spanning throughout the former Boy Wonder’s long 75 year history. Every character has a moment recollected from issues that range from Pre-Crisis DC Continuity (Bruce, Barbara) to Post-Crisis (Tim, Damian) and everything in between.
Let’s start with Bruce Wayne.
Below is a quote shown on the above page followed by the panel it originally appeared in.
From Batman #237 “Night of the Reaper!” by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams
From Batman #442 “A Lonely Place of Dying Chapter Five: Rebirth”
From Batman: Shadow of the Bat #3 “The Last Arkham”
From New Titans #55, previously mentioned in my Top Ten(ish) Classic Batman issues to read list
From Batman #232
From Batman #156
From Batman #348
From Batman #437 “Year 3”
From Robin: Year One
From Robin #8 during Knightsend
From Batman #615 during Hush
Those are the main ones from the Bruce and Dick that I recognize from the old days. There are a few more from the post-Flashpoint era, as well as the famous Lemonade scene from All Star Batman and Robin #9, but these do it for going really back in the day.
Now we move to the scene with Jason and Tim.
From Red Hood and the Outlaws #6
From New Titans #61 “A Lonely Place of Dying”
From Batman #442
From Nightwing #6 (1997)
From Red Robin #4, back when Tim was the only person who believed Bruce was still alive after Final Crisis
From Robin #8 during Knightsend from a scene where Tim has to lie to his father about his whereabouts
From Batman and Robin #10
And that’s it for now with the Dick, Jason and Tim scenes. Most of the Tim scenes I could recall. Jason’s had a lot of varied appearances in the past decade, so if anyone’s caught the ones I couldn’t remember, be sure to comment below!
Here it gets tricky. Let’s go to Barbara Gordon.
From Detective Comics #359, Bab’s earliest appearance
From Detective Comics #526
From Detective Comics #369
From Nightwing #38
From Batman Family #1
From Batgirl: Year One
From Birds of Prey #8 (1999)
From Nightwing #55
From Nightwing Annual #2
From Nightwing #53
From Batman Family #3
Now I could go into the scene between Dick and Damian, but frankly that’s somewhat off track of my larger point. Dick and Damian’s relationship has been kept intact pre- and post-Flashpoint and relatively recent to where it’s not difficult to “track down” which scene came from where. The scenes with everyone else however show that Tim Seeley and Tom King went through a lot, and I mean A LOT of comics from the classic era in order to dig up scenes of development between Dick and the various members of the Bat-Family. And they did a terrific job. It doesn’t get more obscure than the opening scene from Batman #348. I don’t know how exactly they went about this, but I’m glad they did because it makes good on one of the best aspects about Dick Grayson’s character. He’s connected to so many people and has meaningful relationships with a lot of great characters.
It does beg the enviable question though, exactly what remains in continuity these days? As said before, many of these quoted scenes are from stories going back to Pre- and Post-Crisis. With the events of Convergence kept in mind, time may have been re-written and everything and nothing is intact. I don’t exactly mind it for the most part because many of the issues are harmless enough that they shouldn’t be taken out if they further everyone’s relationships with one another. There are two bizarre scenes however.
When Dick is recalling his relationship with both Tim and Jason, we see references to the Post-Crisis stories including A Lonely Place of Dying. This seems to contradict the events depicted that re-told Tim’s origin in Teen Titans #0 during the New 52 Zero Month. Tim hadn’t met Dick at all in that story, only encountering Batman. Things are further confused when Dick is describing swinging with Barbara after she was paralyzed at a Big Top, a direct reference to the aforementioned Birds of Prey #8.
The easy answer is that at this point the writers and DC are trying to have it both ways, implying that everything still happened from the old continuity, just not the way we remember it. Continuity never matters to DC anyway, so it’s unwise to get bent out of shape over it. Still, if the relationships that we’ve been denied seeing for the past four years are shown to have been in existence all along, specifically after the events of Convergence #6, it is interesting to speculate what the future holds for the history of the Bat-Family. After all, big draws to the Bat-Books are the characters that aren’t actually Batman. Stories like this gives old fans hope that their investment and time haven’t been completely wasted.