Therapy with Batman & NightwingPosted: 10/08/2012
Another Nightwing post! I promise the last one of the week (I can’t promise that).
Sorry in advance for the huge chunk of back story. Y’see, back in the early 1980s, Dick Grayson grew tired of being Robin, now 17 years-old and no longer a little hatchling. He announced his situation to Batman, who responded with his same emotional vacancy that he normally does, prompting Grayson to quit and don the Nightwing costume. Bruce Wayne and Grayson eventually grew close again, but only after Nightwing firmly established himself as a successful solo superhero.
Unfortunately in 1993, Bane broke Batman’s back and forced the Dark Knight into retirement. Azrael, the insane psychopathic religious zealot, was chosen by Wayne to be his successor. Terrible idea. Azrael (real name Jean Paul Valley) created a mecha-Batman suit, abused Robin, and killed bad guys. Wayne, feeling better after a magical chiropractor, fought Azrael for supremacy and gained back his Batcave and title.
Unfortunately again, Batman’s still feeling a bit woozy from all that former paralysis and needs to take some more time off, allowing Grayson to assume the role for a short while. When Wayne returns and demands his costume back, Grayson’s emotional geyser erupts in anger and frustration. Our story picks up with the final issue of the Prodigal arc in Robin #13, written by the genius Chuck Dixon and drawn by John Cleary and Phil Jimenez.
Oh, the green text boxes are Robin stuff I’ve cut out. He’s busy fighting supervillains.
To be fair to Wayne, he is legitimately stunted emotionally as trauma leftover from the death of his parents. While the Grayson family’s deaths are no less tragic, he’s not consumed in a permanent cloud of guilt and vengeance like his mentor. Plus, it’s been a decade of comics with really zero closure on the ending of their Batman-Robin partnership.
For being the world’s greatest detective, Batman certainly has a hard time detecting hurt feelings. Though despite Nightwing’s verbal sucker punch, Batman’s explanation stands true to his character.
Batman needs therapy. Badly. Instead, he takes out his problems by putting his fist through the faces of bad guys. See it through Batman’s eyes. Every minute Wayne sits on a couch rattling on to a scribbling doctor, another illegal gun is being sold, another helpless man is being beaten, and another supervillain is planning to torch the city. Also, do you know how long it takes to zip-line to Gotham?
C’mon, Batman. Tell Nightwing your true feelings. What does he really mean to you?
And there you go. Grayson, after a decade of feeling neglected, pushed away, and rejected by Wayne, finally hears exactly where he belongs in Batman’s life. Closure granted. Broken heart healed.
And Robin? While the two have their bonding moment, surely he’s not in terrible peril and desperately needs their help, right?
On a final note, you may know that Darkseid killed Batman a few years ago. Well, more like shot Batman’s soul into the depths of space and time, but close enough. Grayson took over the Batman role for real, now completely deserving as the only true successor. And fans loved it. His few years as the Dark Knight alongside Batman’s son Damien as Robin were critically loved and applauded. Plus, he brought a kind of energy to the character that hasn’t been seen since, well, ever.
You see that? A happy Batman.