Character Profiles Part One
The State of the Dick Grayson Batman
In this year of the Batmen, we are being treated to many different types of Batman characters portrayed by different personalities assuming different secret identities.
My attempt here is to study the dynamic behind all these portrayals and what its like to have so many Batmen being represented. In additional to our traditional characters let’s not forget that coming soon we also have a “First Wave” Batman, a Batman “Odyssey”, the Terry McGinnis Batman and the “Earth One” Batman.
But first and foremost amongst these is Dick Grayson, the reigning Batman, and secondly and certainly no less important is the once and future Batman, Bruce Wayne.
Let’s start with Dick Grayson. Has anyone else noticed that his star is on the rise? The Dick Grayson Batman seems to be on top of world and his success at being Batman is seemingly at its apex. For example let’s look at the events culminating in Batman issue #697. After suffering through the effects of Black Mask’s toxin and enduring the machinations of the Penguin and the Mad Hatter, Dick assumes the mantle of the world’s foremost detective. He even goes as far as to take a bullet to provide himself with the most essential clue to his case. Impressive.
In doing this, he then manages to assemble a team to rival no other in the DC universe and lead them to victory over the Black Mask. This team? None other than Red Robin, Robin, Man Bat, Huntress, Catwoman, Manhunter, and Batgirl amongst others. Quite a group of Gotham’s greatest luminaries and testimony to Dick’s leadership skills. And like a true leader Dick goes the final mile alone. Despite the after affects of the toxin Grayson penetrates Black Mask’s lair defeating him in an epic struggle and revealing to the world the identity of Dr. Jeremiah Arkham. It is Dick’s finest hour as Batman and is summed up by the closing soliloquy as provided by Grayson himself.
“I am not Bruce Wayne. But when lives are lost and the entire city was at stake, I did what I had to do. I did what Batman had to do. I acted as the Dark Knight. To the best of my abilities—I became him. And I succeeded not as Dick Grayson. And not as Bruce Wayne. But as Batman.”
If that doesn’t mark the moment as Dick Grayson, “Batman triumphant” I don’t know what does.
If you want more testimonials as how this new Batman is regarded how about this from Tim Drake in Red Robin issue #13. As Dick leads Damian and Tim off a rooftop he tells them, “Guys, let’s try to have some fun.” How does Red Robin reply?
“Those words coming out of Batman’s mouth. It feels good. More than that, it feels right.” “Dick has done exactly what I expected he would—put on Batman’s cowl without getting lost in the shadows.”
This is from the heir apparent to Wayne industries and the man who took on Ra’s al Ghul in Red Robin #12. And who, by the way, had to be rescued by the Grayson Batman as he was thrown out a skyscraper window by Ra’s. The Dick Grayson Batman knew where to be.
Our last testimonial comes from the hardest nut to crack of them all Damian Wayne. In Batman & Robin #10 a convalescing Damian is being “nursed” back to health by his mother, Talia. As Talia belittles Dick she says the former Boy Wonder is, “barely fit to wear his mentor’s mantle” to which Damian spits back, “Your wrong! Dick Grayson is…” and he is cut off by Talia.
High praise from the world’s most petulant 10 year old super hero. A rare glimpse to how he really feels about Dick Grayson.
So there you have it my friends, the Dick Grayson Batman a worthy successor to the Wayne Batman. And I didn’t even touch on his leadership role in the JLA where Earth’s mightiest heroes defer to this leadership. And what of Bruce Wayne? Well, as he ultimately crawls his way back through time he will be the next subject of “The Year of the Batman” character profile.
Posted by Dark Knight Dave