By Lion_Heart22 34 Comments
It's not that Dick is not an awesome Batman. Certainly, with Bruce out of the picture, there was no one better suited to wear the cape and cowl than Dick, and indeed, Batman's figure is instrumental in mantaining order in Gotham, so someone needed to step in.
However, Bruce is now back. He's gone on to do his Batman Inc. project and Dick is left as Gotham's Dark Knight Detective, but let's face it, people who write major character deaths, particularly recently (talking about both Batman and Captain America's deaths) don't seem to think ahead and figure out what will happen once these fundamental characters return (because we all know they do). It's understandable, really, because up until now these situations weren't so hurried. When Hal Jordan died, he didn't came back for a long, long time, so Kyle Rayner had plenty time in the sun as the last Green Lantern. He was able to grow and become what everyone hope he would become, and when Hal finally came back, there were no conflicts or struggles for the title. Hal came back to his rightful place and Kyle was established as an instrumental character as well. This was also easy thanks to the nature of the Green Lantern identity: There are thousands of Green Lanterns and the title is not really an emblematic mantle associated with a single character. This is also true to The Flash: When Barry Allen died a hero, Wally was ready to take on his legacy and, like Kyle, he was given enough time to grow, to evolve, to make his the mantle of the Flash, so much that now, for alot of people, thinking of The Flash is thinking of Wally. Well, now Barry is back, and immediately after, it seemed that Wally was pushed aside, not to mention what happened to poor Bart. However, since both Barry and Wally existed at the same time another Flash existed (Jay Garrick), the fact that there is more than one Flash doesn't seem to be so hard to assimilate.
Let's look at Dick's life journey shall we? Of course, we all know he was the first Robin, but Dick grew and became so much more than that. Eventually he just had to go into the world as his own man, self sufficient and independent. He abandoned the Robin identity and created Nightwing, his own mantle, one whose legend he would create all by himself, instead of having to live up to a mentor who used the same identity. Other people around him did this as well: Aqualad became Tempest, NOT Aquaman II, and Speedy became Arsenal, and then Red Arrow, instead of Green Arrow, while Wonder Girl became Troia and whatnot, instead of Wonder Woman.
The point is, as similar as these identities can be to the ones that inspired them (Red Arrow to Green Arrow or Nightwing to Batman), the fact that their mentors stuck around gave the original Titans a push to go and make a life for themselves; one not defined by what they do in comparison to what their mentors did; it allowed them to forge their own legend. So Nightwing was created and finally Dick was his own man. Sure, everyone knew he had been the Bat's first protege, but no one saw him as just that anymore. He became a leader and a founder, and not the kind that Robin has sometimes shown to be, that is to say, the kind that immediately loses his authority the minute Batman shows up. Nightwing went on to become a new character all by himself, away from the Bat. As similar as their modus operandi were, Dick's personality always came through: his special brand of humor, his different approach to combat, the fact that he was no dark, brooding crusader but a charismatic adventurer who was capable of rallying the superhero community together. He owned his identity and was capable of taking on adventures alongside Batman without being reduced to a sidekick again. But then he was forced into the cowl, and, for me at least, that means that Dick is living in Bruce's shadow again, trying to be all that he was, trying the convince Gotham and the World he can be just as good a Batman as Bruce was. But you see, I don't think he can ever be, because Batman and Bruce are the same thing, and Dick is very, very different from Bruce. Maybe, if Bruce had stayed dead for 15 years or at least more than a decade, then Dick would've been able to make the Bat-mantle his own, just as Wally became the Flash without turning into Barry Allen. It would never be Bruce's Bat-mantle, but it would be a Batman we'd grow into and eventually come to accept as the one and only Batman.
When Bruce came back, I expected him to take the Batman identity from a relieved Dick, let Tim grow to be his own man as well and take Damian as his new Robin, but obviously this did not happen. So now the question stands, Having two Batmen is having one too many? What do you think? Would you like to see Dick back to being his own man or would you have him keep trying to make the Bat mantle his own, despite having to compete with the original?