NightwingDick Grayson has been Batman before.

Years ago, after the Knightquest storyline in the Batman comics, Bruce Wayne, healed from his paralysis, returns to Gotham and has to forcible take back the mantle of Batman from his replacement, Jean-Paul Valley (Azrael).  Nightwing, comfortable that the Bats is back, tried to go back to the Titans but realizes that the team has moved on without him, and Arsenal/Red Arrow is now the team leader.  Nightwing leaves the Titans and sets up shop in Gotham.

In the “Prodigal” arc (see list below), Bruce Wayne asks Dick take over as Batman while he heals some more from the back injury (guess getting snapped in half by a man in a gimp costume who shoots up steroids takes some time to heal from).  Dick accepts, and actually faces a decent amount of the rogue gallery, especially Two-Face (the two still have a rapport to this day). During this time, he gets closer to Robin, Tim Drake, and, as both are the adopted sons of Bruce Wayne, they start to actually become like brothers. Eventually Bruce came back and Dick gave him the cowl once more.

More after the jump.

The following is a list of the comics that make up the Prodigal crossover:

  • Batman 512
  • Shadow of the Bat 32
  • Detective Comics 679
  • Robin 11
  • Batman 513
  • Shadow of the Bat 33
  • Detective Comics 680
  • Robin 12
  • Batman 514
  • Shadow of the Bat 34
  • Robin 13

I think “Prodigal” may have been an attempt on DC’s part to repair some of the damage done during the Knightfall/Knightquest storylines.  I liked those two storylines, but have to admit that it was hard to collect a comic where you HATE Batman.  It just didn’t feel right to me.  Everyone knew Dick Grayson should have taken on the role, so when “Prodigal” came up, I think fans finally became happy for a time.  The storyline wasn’t actually half bad, the art was great at the time, and it was great to see Dick Grayson take center stage.

NightwingSince then, Dick Grayson has gone back to being Nightwing and, after Infinite Crisis, has pretty much jumped back and forth between Gotham City and New York City, where he’s been the curator of a museum.  In the final issue of Nightwing, Dick realizes he needs to go back to Gotham to help Robin out and to focus more on crime fighting.  when you’re the son of one of the richest men in the world, who needs a job?

When Wally West took over for Barry Allen, fans of Allen had a problem with it, but after all this time, it’s going to be hard to let go of Wally with Barry coming back to assume the role of Flash.  Nightwing, like Wally, is the second generation hero in the “Bat-Family,” and deserves to be the one to pick up the mantle.  Tim Drake is too young.  Jason Todd is too…well, crazy.  Damian Wayne is even younger than Tim, even though, according to Grant Morrison, he does eventually pick up the cowl.

NightwingMy votes for Dick Grayson, especially if they get Pete Tomasi to write him.  Tomasi picked up the Nightwing series starting with issue #140 and, in my opinion, the title has never been better.  He’s brought the humor that we’ve always expected from Dick, but hasn’t lost that determination that you would expect from someone who was raised by Batman.

Still, maybe that’s too obvious?  Maybe DC will throw us a curveball and Dick Grayson won’t be picking up the mantle of the Bat?  After all, early indications/hints have suggested that Dick believes that if Bruce isn’t Batman, no one should be.  He’s worked for YEARS to establish a separate identity, would he give that up now?

What say you, Batfans?  Does Dick Grayson deserve to be the next Batman?  Talkback below!

Next time, the second Robin, Jason Todd!