Tuesday, August 22, 2006
It happened and we didn't know it. Somewhere, somehow, Dick Grayson became almost irrelevant.
I've been thinking about this so please bear with me.
Recently, DC Comics' Dan Didio made an announcement that Dick Grayson (Nightwing) was to die within Infinite Crisis' pages. The internet clutched its' collective heart and like a pod of Fred Sandfords tried its best to die of proverbial shock. Did DC really want to kill Nightwing for shock value alone or was it something more?
I think Didio realized something we've all known but just ccouldn't admit to ourselves.
The DC Universe, as it stands, really doesn't need Dick Grayson anymore.
It's taken 17 years but Tim Drake, the current Robin (Yes, Tim's been around for SEVENTEEN YEARS!), has eclipsed Dick Grayson in every way, shape and form. Quietly, under the guidance of writer Chuck Dixon, Tim Drake became his own man while simultaneously becoming the ideal partner for Batman. We saw Tim as resourceful, clever. Within the pages of Young Justice and Teen Titans, we saw Tim got to see Tim as a natural born leader. All aspects Dick Grayson once possessed but the writers of The Titans & The Outsiders chose to ignore in the name of "plot development."
Dick Grayson died just that much more, off-panel, during Identity Crisis. During the comics event of 2004, Tim Drake had to helplessly listen to his father die. All Tim could do was collapse, weeping into the waiting arms of Batman... and that sealed the deal right there.
How was Dick ever going to "top" Tim's story.
Tim Drake, through his tragedy, became a character anyone who had suffered any kind of loss could identify with. Through not giving up on himself or those around him despite the crushing deaths, within two years of each other, of his dad, his girlfriend and his best friend, Superboy, Tim Drake became the ultimate Robin.
His reward for walking through hell? Batman immediately did what he could not do for Dick. Batman adopted Robin, giving us what we'd been missing for too long: a Robin who wasn't afraid to smile again. We got a Robin who lives in Wayne Manor, ready to trade quips with Alfred at a moment's notice, a Robin who wants to stand side-by-side with Batman on a Gotham City rooftop. We got a Robin who wants to be a part of a family again.
Meanwhile, Dick Grayson is alone, by himself, in Marvel's New York, being antgsty. That is not Dick Grayson.
Somewhere, along the line Tim Drake became "Dick Grayson" and fulfilled the promise Dick Grayson's writers chose to abandon upon his graduation to Nightwing.
The DCU wants a Dick Grayson but needs a Robin. The public-at-large really doesn't know or care who occupies the costume. They just want to be secure in knowing that there's a Batman & Robin out there for them to rediscover. Unfortunately, somewhere, caught between Batman & Robin is Nightwing. Didio realizes Dick Grayson's dilemma. Hopefully, Marv Wolfman, the upcoming writer of Nightwing and the man who created Tim Drake and Nightwing realizes this and will bring Dick Grayson back to the Batman mythos.
I really, really hope so but I'm not holding out any hope. It's kind of like reading a Nightwing comic all over again.